Harold Adams, the nominal sheriff of Adams County, is in such a deep funk about his ineptitude that his special deputy, Oakalla Reporter owner Garth Ryland, has even more to do than usual in clearing up the mystery of the headless, limbless torso that crude Amos Hogue finds on his farm. There'll be news of other murders past and present, impossibly complicated cross-plotting by every small-town schemer in Wisconsin, and a chilling visit to a mass grave in Hogue Valley before Garth and almost-divorced deputy coroner Abby Airhart call it a night. As always, though, the real attraction is Riggs's pathology of rural human fauna, delivered in a voice as flat as a funeral drum. Garth's tenth case (Cold Hearts and Gentle People, 1994, etc.) is as coldly compassionate as the others.