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Dry bones in the valley : a novel

by by Tom Bouman

Publishers Weekly Although set in northeastern Pennsylvania, Bouman's outstanding debut has the feel of a western. Officer Henry Farrell became the head policeman in Wild Thyme Township because he expected it to be an easy job with hunting and fishing taking up most of his time. But uneasiness has settled into the economically depressed area with an active drug trade, including home-brewed meth. Drilling for natural gas is bringing money to the region, but this new wealth affects only a few residents, pitting neighbor against neighbor while potentially destroying the land. The discovery of a stranger's body on a disused dairy farm owned by elderly hermit Aub Dunigan, followed by the murder of a policeman, heightens the tension among the residents. Henry's growth from a grief-stricken widower to a lawman with an inner resolve fuels the brisk plot, as does an evocative look at a changing landscape. Agent: Neil Olson, Donadio & Olson. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list When an unidentified body is found under a boulder on an old man's land in rural Pennsylvania, the murder investigation reveals that the patchwork assembly of area law enforcement is paper-thin. And, when a second body is discovered, the lawmen find themselves even more shorthanded. Wild Thyme Township police officer Henry Farrell, a bearded, brooding veteran, throws himself into the case, working past the point of exhaustion and neglecting his own health as he navigates personal boundaries that must be considered in the context of property lines. A landscape wracked by fracking, poverty, meth, and a general mistrust of authority places this squarely in the burgeoning country-noir tradition, as does the fact that Bouman peoples his story with lawless outdoorsmen with Gaelic names and ancient grudges. (Farrell, who plays a passable fiddle, used music to court his bodhran-beating wife.) A dark ending unearths a long-held secret but leaves enough ambiguity to suggest plenty of tales to tell in future installments. A strong debut for readers who like their woods dark and deep.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal First, a reclusive old codger finds in his woods the body of a young man, apparently shot by a musket earlier in the winter. Less than 24 hours later, Officer Henry -Farrell discovers his deputy shot dead in his car. It's imperative that they get help from outside law enforcement agencies, but -Farrell best understands his rural northeastern Pennsylvania hamlet and can piece together the cases. An uneasy mix of old-timers, meth heads, and just plain poor people populates the region and some are selling out their mineral rights (think: fracking), pitting adjacent landowners against one another. If that's not enough, Henry literally stumbles over an ancient grave that might explain part of the current crime spree. But it's a wild ride to the finish line for this quiet, fiddler-loving officer. -VERDICT Don't miss this assured opener for a sure-to-be-popular projected four-book series. -Bouman's likable protagonist joins the ranks of police officers we want to know while introducing readers to an Appalachian region layered with story. This would appeal to fans of Craig Johnson, Julia Keller, and -Wiley Cash. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.