Mick Hardin is an Army CID officer home on leave, recovering from an IED attack and flirting with prescription painkillers, when a body is found in the center of town. It's Barney Kissick, the local heroin dealer, and the city police see it as an occupational hazard. But when Barney's mother, Shifty, asks Mick to take a look, it seems there's more to the killing than it seems.
Offutt’s deep understanding of the area is displayed through his characters ... Although the hunt for Barney’s killer takes up the better part of the book, Offutt masterfully threads scenes of Mick’s deteriorating relationship with his wife, Peggy. These powerful sections provide the reader with a glimpse into Mick’s vulnerable psyche ... Offutt’s tribute to his home state is further displayed in iconic imagery ... Offutt has written a propulsive literary thriller with an intricate plot that tests Hardin’s mettle throughout the book. His characters are true to the area, and his keen eye for the local setting transports the reader to Appalachia. Let’s hope Offutt’s hills don’t change in his next Mick Hardin novel, so we can revisit Rocksalt, Kentucky, very soon.
This is country noir at its most powerful, combining cracking action with crystalline portraits of rough-hewn but savvy characters tragically forced to become 'retribution killers' to stop yet another cycle of violence.
Offutt follows the beautifully written The Killing Hills with another dark mystery featuring Mick Hardin. Fans of the author’s poetic writing, with moments of sly humor, will welcome this second compelling story of family, community, and grief.