HARD AGROUND by Brendan Dubois


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As magazine writer Lewis Cole convalesces from his latest medical adventures, the old house to which he’s effectively confined becomes ground zero for every scrap of intrigue in New Hampshire.

Though he hasn’t worked there for many years, the Department of Defense keeps coming up with new ways to ruin Lewis’ life. The latest is a pair of alarming tumors, a delayed reaction to his exposure to some nasty gas while he was on the job. Once the tumors are excised and sampled for biopsies, Lewis is sent home to drain his wounds daily and wait for the test results. But there’s more on the agenda for Tyler, the coastal town to which he’s retreated. Elderly antiques dealer Maggie Tyler Branch is killed by a shotgun blast. Dave and Marjorie Hudson, a pair of history buffs visiting from Albany, show up on his doorstep demanding a tour of the building, where Dave’s grandfather once barracked. Lewis’ friend Felix Tinios reports the disappearance of a valuable old silver coin he inherited from his great-grandfather. A visiting lowlife is shot outside a nearby hotel. Lewis hears all manner of thumps in the house in the middle of the night. Through it all, he has periodic visions of his lost love, Cissy Manning, entreating him, “Let me go.” The one thing that doesn’t happen is his getting the results of his biopsy. Instead of being sent to the nearby lab, his tissue has made a side trip to San Diego, and the delivery service has lost track of it. No wonder Lewis grouses: “For an old house way off the road, we’re sure as hell getting a lot of visitors.”

A low-impact chamber exercise best suited to fill the time between Storm Cell (2016) and whatever higher-octane adventure is around the next corner.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-68177-652-1
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Pegasus Crime
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2018


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