Best new mystery of the year

Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman

3 words:
rural, realistic, introspective
Dang,
guys! There’s a new guy on the block, and he’s written one heck of a debut
mystery.
And he
says it’s planned to be the first of four books in a series about Henry Farrell,
so even better.

What’s
to love: A first-person narrator who’s darn unusual—a mid-level cop (a township
police officer) who’s somewhere between a sheriff and a rank-and-file cop. So
his perspective is an interesting one.

And he’s
an introverted young widower who feels alienated from the people around him. 
So: also somewhat unusual.
And the
dude plays the fiddle.
The
other thing that sets him apart is that he’s very much an everyman, underdog,
unheroic protagonist. Things get messy, and he makes mistakes.
So what
I’m saying is: Henry Farrell is a realistic main character.
What
else to love: The book is set in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania, so
it has the rural feel of Craig Johnson’s and Donald Harstad’s mystery series
about rural police officers. And there’s fracking, which has set neighbors
against one another because of differing views on the issue. And money.  
So: the
plot. A decaying body is discovered on the property of an elderly recluse and
then Farrell’s deputy is killed. And the investigation reveals all kinds of
secrets people never would’ve guessed about the neighbors they thought they
knew so well.
Also
good: The details, such as the birdwatcher/photographer coroner, who stops
while on a business call to admire the birds. And Farrell’s appreciation of the
small pleasures; he’s pleased by their new walkie-talkies. It all makes the
book feel more real. 
Can’t
wait for book 2.  

by

Reader, librarian, & happy little geek

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