Monday, July 15, 2019

Bad Axe County - Review

Bad Axe County by John Galligan
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: July 9, 2019
Source: Publisher for an honest review

Description from Goodreads:

Fifteen years ago, Heidi White’s parents were shot to death on their Bad Axe County farm. The police declared it a murder-suicide and closed the case. But that night, Heidi found the one clue she knew could lead to the truth—if only the investigators would listen.

Now Heidi White is Heidi Kick, wife of local baseball legend Harley Kick and mother of three small children. She’s also the interim sheriff in Bad Axe. Half the county wants Heidi elected but the other half will do anything to keep her out of law enforcement. And as a deadly ice storm makes it way to Bad Axe, tensions rise and long-buried secrets climb to the surface.

As freezing rain washes out roads and rivers flood their banks, Heidi finds herself on the trail of a missing teenaged girl. Clues lead her down twisted paths to backwoods stag parties, derelict dairy farms, and the local salvage yard—where the body of a different teenage girl has been carefully hidden for a decade.

As the storm rages on, Heidi realizes that someone is planting clues for her to find, leading her to some unpleasant truths that point to the local baseball team and a legendary game her husband pitched years ago. With a murder to solve, a missing girl to save, and a monster to bring to justice, Heidi is on the cusp of shaking her community to its core—and finding out what really happened the night her parents died.

My Take:

I was very excited for the chance to read this novel by John Galligan, who I learned is a Wisconsin author. The description of the novel piqued my interest and I was not disappointed.

Bad Axe County is a dark, twisting kind of crime/mystery/suspense novel. While it is very dark and grim, I was completely drawn into Interim Sheriff Heidi Kick’s search for an endangered girl and the man who has her during a fierce spring ice storm – all while also trying to solve the mystery of her parents’ supposed murder-suicide and a long ago missing girl case.

Heidi Kick is a great heroine – she has her issues, for sure, but she is smart, determined and tough as nails. She has a lot to contend with besides the endangered girl case. She is the first female to act as sheriff in Wisconsin and at least half of the county wants to make sure she doesn’t get to keep the job. Heidi finds there was a lot of corruption within the sheriff’s department before the sheriff’s death and she is determined to find out how far it went.

The area has a major drug problem as well as human trafficking. There is much that makes this a difficult book to read. It gives a very frank and graphic description of the predicament of some of the girls who are run through the area and what happens to them. Grim stuff. But the story is compelling and I was completely pulled into Heidi’s investigations.

After reading through much of the night to finish the book, I was haunted by the story for a long while afterwards. The writing is beautiful despite much of the subject matter. I would love to read more by Galligan. I can’t believe this is the first book of his that I’ve read.

About the author:
Photo credit: Johnny Ring
JOHN GALLIGAN is the author of the novels Red Sky, Red Dragonfly, The Nail Knot, The Clinch Knot, The Wind Knot, and Bad Axe County. He lives and teaches writing in Madison, Wisconsin.

BAD AXE COUNTY by John Galligan
Atria Hardcover | ISBN: 9781982110703| On sale: July 9, 2019 | 336 pages | $26.00
eBook: Atria | ISBN: 9781982110727 | On sale: July 9, 2019 | 336 pages | $13.99
eAudio: Atria | ISBN: 9781508294245 | On sale: July 9, 2019 | 336 pages | $19.99


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