A reclusive poet learns to survive in an Arkansas town rife with secrets.
Bob Reynolds moved from Texas to Doker, Arkansas, after the deaths of his wife and everyone else important in his life. A fiscal conservative, he spent little of the family money he inherited to move into a broken-down old house near Doker, where his company includes a few chickens and several extremely odd neighbors. Reynolds’ troubles start when he finds the body of a dead man in The Little Piney Creek. The empty scabbard on his body is stamped “Buck,” but other than a ring on a chain around his neck, a single unfired cartridge, and some XXL condoms, he carries nothing that could help identify him. When Reynolds finally gets in touch with Sheriff Sam Baxter and they return to the creek, the body is gone. Reynolds is uneasy when he realizes that Baxter may be looking to arrest him, and he finds himself in jail after he’s knocked out while snooping on the property near the creek. Upon his release, the local doctor gives him some information about the tangled relationships that sometimes go back generations and adds a warning that a trip to Hot Springs might be a good idea. Reynolds does get out of town for a while, but not leaving well enough alone may be the death of him.
Thematically very different than McKenzie’s outstanding first novel (Bad Country, 2014). But the prose is just as pure and the story just as riveting.