Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich

Clayton Burroughs is the black sheep of the family, but not the way you’d think.bull mountain

He’s the sheriff of a county in northern Georgia, trying to walk the straight and narrow. His father and brothers remain in their mountain fastness, which has been inhabited by the Burroughs brood for generations.  The family finances have come largely through illegal means – moonshine in the earlier years, marijuana when it was feasible, and now meth.  It’s a business that works its hidden ways quite well, thanks to the isolation and the Burroughs ruthlessness.  They and their associates are not worth trifling with, ever.

Clayton establishes a better name for himself than his family background would indicate. being the upstanding lawman and married man that he is, yet he only keeps this up by turning a blind eye to his family’s unlawful enterprises.  This arrangement works for both parties, until the interest of one FBI agent stirs the hornet’s nest, and a shaky loyalty between brothers is forever changed.

Bull Mountain is a sprawling roar of a book that begs for a one-stop reading session.  All the elements of classic rural noir are here – the drug trade, internecine secrets and quarrels, lots of double-crossings, and a succession of chapters that will jerk the reader around like a creaky Scrambler ride at an amusement park.  It is not a book for the squeamish, so don’t expect a cosy.

As temptations arise, refrain from reading the last chapter before it’s time – highly worth the wild ride.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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