A record heat wave suffocates remote rural Wisconsin as the local sheriff tracks down a killer hidden in the depths of the community in this atmospheric, race-to-the-finish mystery by the acclaimed author of the Bad Axe County series.
Sheriff Heidi Kick has a dead body on her hands, a homeless young man last seen alive miles from the Bad Axe. Chillingly, the medical examiner confirms what Sheriff Kick has been experiencing in her own reoccurring nightmares of late: the victim was buried alive. As the relentless summer heat bears down and more bodies are discovered, Sheriff Kick also finds herself embroiled in a nasty reelection campaign. These days her detractors call her “Sheriff Mommy”—KICK HER OUT holler the opposition’s campaign signs—and as her family troubles become public, vicious rumors threaten to sway the electorate and derail her investigation.
Enter Vietnam veteran Leroy Fanta, editor-in-chief of the local paper who believes Heidi’s strange case might be tied to a reclusive man writing deranged letters to the opinions section for years. With his heart and liver on their last legs, Fanta drums up his old journalistic instincts in one last effort to help Heidi find a lead in her case, or at least a good story…
With simmering tension that sweats off the page, Bad Moon Rising infuses newsworthy relevance with a page-turning story of crime in America’s heartland, capturing global issues with startling immediacy while entertaining from start to finish.
Sheriff Heidi Kick is up for re-election. She has been sheriff of Bad Axe County for over three years and some of the towns’ scoundrels want her out of office. An alarming number of murders and missing persons keep her from hitting the campaign trail. When her deputies wind up missing, she begins full 18-hour days to solve the mysteries. Her four kids are being raised by their grandmother.
Some areas of her beat are only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles through deer trails and hidden canyons. Living within these hidden areas is a family of miscreants. Because they are so remote, they do not cause a lot of problems with other people. However, a ten-year old giving birth or miscarrying is not unheard of. Some of the young are never sent to school and speak pidgin German mixed with a modicum of English.
The Goodgolly farm is owned by two brothers with very sketchy backgrounds. There is almost a schizophrenic relationship between the two. They live on their land and do not interact with others in Bad Axe County. Young people wind up disappearing and cannot be found or identified. The suspicion is that there may be a cannibalistic group within the area. A car in a ditch hides a body which has not been identified. Sheriff Kick goes into the backcountry to solve the problem.
Trying to be Amish does not work for this family. The Amish has refused to allow them to join the church because of their interbreeding and young girl pregnancies. There are many still births.
The picture painted by John Galligan of remote Wisconsin backwoods life is both informative and disturbing. Stir-crazy brothers create a living hell on earth for their offspring. Multiple births by the age of twelve are typical.
The book reveals a very different lifestyle. Inbreeding and rape are the norm for the Goodgolly brothers and their offspring. I would never want to spend time in this kind of environment. The reading experience was graphic and many times aggravating. Currently on pre-order. 3.5 stars – C.E. Williams
We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.
Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five Stars
Genre: Police Procedurals, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Atria Books
Print Length: 334 pages
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Bad Moon Rising [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
The Author: [Goodreads] John Galligan, in addition to being a novelist and teacher, John has worked as a newspaper journalist, feature-film screenwriter, house painter, au pair, ESL teacher, cab driver, and freezer boy in a salmon cannery. He currently teaches writing at Madison Area Technical College, where his experience is enriched by students from every corner of the local and world community.
©2021 CE Williams – V Williams