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Bad Axe County: A Novel (A Bad Axe County Mystery #1) (Hardcover)
Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Books of 2019
Dennis Lehane meets Megan Miranda in this tense, atmospheric thriller about the first female sheriff in rural Bad Axe County, Wisconsin, as she searches for a missing girl, battles local drug dealers, and seeks the truth about the death of her parents twenty years ago—all as a winter storm rages in her embattled community.
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.
About the Author
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.
"Intense...Galligan smoothly balances multiple story lines...readers will hope this is the start of a series."
— Publishers Weekly
"Striking prose, engaging characters, and a searing story of crimes rooted in the heartland...a darkly irresistible thriller."
— Kirkus (starred review)
"Gritty, brash, and totally gripping. John Galligan is a hell of a writer."
— The Real Book Spy
"If Joseph Conrad had really wanted to find the heart of darkness, he’d have looked in Bad Axe County. Lurking in the isolated coulees at the edge of the Mississippi River are some of the meanest, foulest, cruelest hearts imaginable, and John Galligan evokes them with all the intensity of a mad poet. But in county sheriff Heidi Kick, a woman chipped and broken on every edge, Galligan offers a righteous force in opposition...A dark beauty of a novel."
— William Kent Krueger, New York Times Bestselling author of Desolation Mountain
"Fast-paced and utterly addictive. I loved Heidi kick, the Dairy-Queen-turned-sheriff. Long may she reign."
— Lori Rader-Day, Edgar-Award-nominated author of Under a Dark Sky
"An exceptional novel...Kick is a remarkable character and this is a bad-axe book."
— Milwaukee Journal Sentinel