Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman

It’s begins with buckshot, a mutilated body – and goes downhill from there.dry bones

Henry Farrell returns to his childhood home in hilly northeastern Pennsylvania a sorrowful man.  He’s glad to take a policeman’s job in a rural township, where little occurs besides an occasional ticket or domestic issue.  When he’s called out to reprimand Aub Dunigan for unloading a shotgun at a perceived trespasser, the old man leads Henry to the remains of a young man.  Even in its weather-worn state, it’s obvious that body is that of an outsider to the community.

Aub seems to be the likeliest suspect, but despite being eccentric, Henry doesn’t think he has it in him.  Aub is not a man of malice.  He’d buckshot a troublemaker’s hide, but not kill in cold blood.

Things get stickier when someone close to Henry is murdered, and old resentments in the community flair.  Suspicions also mount among neighbors when the natural gas companies come calling, with some eager to sell or lease their land and others leery of the hazards, including Henry, who has his own issues with the industry.

Add a meth lab back story to the mix, and Dry Bones in the Valley makes for a very effective jaunt down grit lit lane.  If you are a rural noir devotee, you will probably like this one.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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