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THE BLIGHT WAY by Patrick F. McManus Kirkus Star

THE BLIGHT WAY

By Patrick F. McManus

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7432-8047-4
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

A wry Idaho sheriff and his crusty father solve a trio of rural murders.

Divorced Sheriff Bo Tully plans to ask schoolteacher Jan Whittle if she’ll go out with him, but he’s sidetracked by her announcement that incorrigible runaway Glen Cliff, a battle-hardened 12 years old, has taken off again and is likely hiding in the mountains of Blight County. Before Tully can go after him, he gets a worrisome call about a corpse at the ranch of Batim Scraggs. On his way to examine the scene, Tully picks up his father, the former sheriff, who happens to be celebrating his 75th birthday, and he becomes Tully’s unofficial deputy and wisecracking sidekick. The body, wearing a pinstriped suit, is draped over a fence. Nearby, in a car on the Littlefield place, are two equally well-dressed corpses. Things take a lively turn with the appearance of the new medical examiner, attractive Susan Parker. Despite his father’s humorous asides, Tully manages to ask her on a date, during which the two fall asleep on separate pieces of furniture. Focusing much of his investigation on Littlefield patriarch Vern, who’s always had trouble with both the law and his neighbor Scraggs, Tully eventually finds Glen and the killers.

This series kickoff from prolific nonfiction author McManus (The Bear in the Attic, 2002, etc.), heavy on the banter, is one of the most entertaining mystery debuts in years.