He has teenager-speak and cadence just right and a lame police station with plenty of questionable characters and pistols full of blanks. It is hardly the stuff of a lighthearted read. Take the first suspect, for instance. A man, a reverend in fact, is slashed and genitally dismembered in the morning. When the town deputy goes to his house to look for clues, he happens across an unfamiliar black man, who he immediately decides must be the killer. He chases him across field and river, finally cornering him in an old barn, only to discover he is a professor of history at a nearby university whose car had broken down on the highway several miles out of town.
It is meant to be, judging from the telling and the character of the deputy. The reverend, we learn later, is a child molester. Unfortunately, we know this could also be true-to-life. We sense the author using a razor on us for our societal ills. The setting in the fields of Kansas make it logical and perhaps necessary, I suppose, to place the final scenes in a grain silo, necessitating this paragraph in the middle of mayhem: It was feet in length, 48 feet wide, and 90 feet high at the roof, or feet at the roof of the head house.
It was a monolith, formed by one continuous pour of concrete that took almost two weeks and involved workers. It contained 36 circular bins, 17 star bins and 35 outer bins, so that only one empty space between the work floor and the distribution floor was unavailable to store grain. That space contained the preferred route for humans to travel to the head house and the distributing floor. The fastest, if not necessarily the safest, was by way of a pulley in the head house and was driven by an electric motor on the work floor.
On an adjacent wall there was a runged ladder, positioned in case of a power failure or failure of the mechanism. There was also a circular metal staircase in that unused bin, the safest route, but a slow and tiring one…. The fourth and last way to and from the top…" You get my point I think. There are many things about this book that indicate the author is a thoughtful, learned man with a deep vein of humor and a clear eye for grim realities.
And the setting and characters are unique. I am reluctant to pass up the chance to use my new knowledge of grain silos on another of his quirky mysteries. Apr 28, Cathy Cole rated it liked it. When Sheriff English's part-Cheyenne brother, Mad Dog, arrives in the park to meditate, he finds the mutilated body of Reverend Peter Sims, and the entire county is set on its ear.
Benteen County is sparsely populated. Everyone knows everyone else's business. Sheriff English has never had to investigate a homicide, even the coroner who's been on the job for over seventeen years has n First Line: Sheriff English has never had to investigate a homicide, even the coroner who's been on the job for over seventeen years has never had to deal with a murder victim. So it's important that they do everything right. Since Mad Dog is the natural prime suspect, Sheriff English has to not only look for suspicious characters, he has to delve into the history of the Simms family, which is very dark indeed.
More murders seem almost inevitable-- just like that tornado that's on the horizon. Hayes brings small town Kansas to life and doesn't put a foot wrong with his cast of characters. Sheriff English's ex-wife is a teacher, and they have a mouthy teenage daughter. Although they're divorced, they can't seem to keep their hands off each other-- which is something the entire town knows. There's also the incompetent police officer who got his job through nepotism. He can't use his handcuffs because his kid lost the key and he hasn't got the replacement yet.
The dispatcher is good at her job, but she's also Gossip Central. The guy who lives behind the police station keeps planting roses in the parking lot and then has fits when the police run over them. Anyone who's ever lived in a small town recognizes these folks. The identity of the killer and the reason behind the murders were a bit obvious to me, but that didn't matter so much because I truly enjoyed getting to know this corner of Kansas and the entire cast of characters.
This first book has set me up perfectly, and I can't wait to continue with the series. Apr 28, Carrie rated it it was ok Shelves: It's a small town where everyone knows each others business. So when the reverend turns up being murdered it's a little bit of a shock to sheriff English. A whirlwind things and information happens afterwords. From more deaths, a kidnapping, a history of sexual molestation coming out, hidden and mistaken identities, and more.
Mixed thoughts when it comes to this book. It was an okay read nothing spectacular, at least for me. Kind of just left me feeling kind of meh. Apr 21, Wileyacez rated it really liked it. Not a big mystery fan, but read in Library Journal that these pack some of the same humor as Stephanie Plum--who was so great, at least in the beginning. I confess that I got sucked in and couldn't stop reading til the end--and the end did NOT tie things up in an incredibly neat little knot! I like this story of a small Kansas town, it's sheriff, and his slightly dysfunctional family.
Hayes really keeps things moving along quickly, which is what pulls you in, I think. First in a series set in a small town in Kansas, features divorced sheriff English and his half-brother Mad Dog, both of whom are perhaps one-quarter Cheyenne.
This heritage features in the story but sometimes with tries-too-hard humor. I like the characters. Also a secondary story of the sheriff's daughter who looks just like a girl who has just arrived in town with her mother.
Short and fast reading. Sep 09, Sue rated it it was amazing. I could not put this book done! The brother of the sheriff of a small Kansas town finds the mutilated body of someone in the restroom of a park in town. The strange circumstances of the death are only the beginning of the day's troubles and discoveries. Highly recommend this book. Jun 24, Karen rated it really liked it Recommended to Karen by: First in a series of murder mysteries. Mysteries take place in a small town in Kansas. In this novel, they work together to solve several horrendous murders.
The solving of the murders blended Indian spiritualism with history and modern culture. It was very entertaining. Then, a student smuggles a gun into the school and begins shooting and taking hostages. And Englishman still needs to clear up one little thing about his deputy's accident: Benteen County doesn't have a teen choir. It's enough to make a sheriff wonder why he wants to serve another term. Valley of the Lost. How the Light Gets In. A Darkness More Than Night.
The Gods of Guilt. The Sanctity of Hate. Valley of Dry Bones. Some Like It Hot. The Heat of the Moon. The Llama of Death. The Spirit and the Skull.
A Crack in Everything. Flowers for Her Grave. Shoot the Lawyer Twice. A Spark of Death.
The brother of the sheriff of a small Kansas town finds the mutilated body of someone in the restroom of a park in town. When the Sheriff's part-Cheyenne brother, Mad Dog, arrives to meditate, he finds the Reverend's mutilated corpse. And Englishman still needs to clear up one little thing about his deputy's accident: Winter, of course, is no better, but remembrance of its frosts and blizzards and winds t A blend of science and superstition recalls the wacky mysteries of James Doss The Shaman Signs and The Night Visitor and the magical realism of Luis Borges. The sheriff's daughters, too, wake with similar fears and cut their college classes to hurry home. Some will enjoy this book due to its mix of mystery, mysticism, life's reality in a small town in Kansas.
Panthers Play for Keeps. Evil in the 1st House. Face of the Enemy. Hell with the Lid Blown Off. A Murder in Passing. The King of Ragtime. The Koala of Death. A Murder of Crows. Race for the Dying. A Cold White Sun. A Merry Band of Murderers.