Bad Axe County (A Bad Axe County Novel Book 1) by John Galligan – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Bad Axe County by John Galligan

Bad Axe County by John Galligan

Book Blurb:

Dennis Lehane meets Megan Miranda in this “dark beauty of a novel” (William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author) 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.

With “striking prose, engaging characters, and a searing story of crimes rooted in the heartland,” Bad Axe County is a “darkly irresistible thriller” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) that you won’t be able to put down.

My Review:

I didn’t realize that the CE read and reviewed Book 3, Bad Moon Rising last year, and wasn’t wholly thrilled with it.

That is essentially my reaction to Book 1. From the beginning, it’s heavily atmospheric, describing Wisconsin very well. This is a small town with all the idiosyncrasies that comes with a small town: everybody knows everybody’s business. Most have been born, raised, and never strayed beyond the county city limits. Usually, that also means narrow thinking, biased attitudes, ole boy enclaves well entrenched. The haves; the have nots.

Bad Axe County by John GalliganThe protagonist, Heidi Kick is a former beauty queen turned law enforcement who suddenly discovers herself sheriff upon the death of the former officer. She has a history, of course, the apparent murder/suicide of her parents—something she never accepted and a case that is never far below the one currently being investigated.

And what’s being currently investigated is plenty. The storyline veers into missing girls, discovery of bodies, drugs, and human trafficking.
Lots of characters. Heidi is married with little ones. She is battling those who don’t want a “Dairy Queen” in the position—but she does have a base support.

The plot line turns decidedly dark, the dialogue raw, profane, denigrating, and demeaning. It is suspenseful, violent, and fast-paced. Better keep up!
The conclusion manages to work out all the threads, leaving Heidi snarking with her buddy, Denise—that part is fun—and I like the character of Denise.
It is well-plotted, loaded with atmosphere, and for the most part dark. I like strong female protagonists, but will have to give this one more thought.

Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals, Women Sleuths, Suspense
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
ASIN: B07NDYSZLJ
Listening Length: 10 hrs 24 mins
Narrator: Samantha Desz
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Bad Axe County [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

 

John Galligan - authorThe 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.

 

 

2022 V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday

Bad Moon Rising: A Bad Axe County Novel Book 3 by John Galligan – #BookReview – #policeprocedural

Book Blurb:

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.

Bad Moon Rising by John GalliganSheriff 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.

His Review:

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.

Bad Moon Rising by John GalliganSome 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.

CE WilliamsThe 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 3 1/2 stars 

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Atria Books
ISBN: ‎1982166533
ASIN: B08LDW65L4
Print Length: 334 pages
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Bad Moon Rising [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble

Add to Goodreads

John Galligan - authorThe 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

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