A first novel whose hero hates Chicago, hates being a thief, hates life on the run—and then everything he hates catches up with him.
Now that he’s fled to tiny Gunner, Wisconsin, Buddy Bayes is leading a comfortable existence as the owner of the modest and surprisingly successful Black Chimney Tavern when suddenly life stops being uneventful. A local girl has gone missing, and inadvertently Buddy finds her severed hand. He contacts the county sheriff, who, when not actively involved in the search for the rest of Melissa Teagles, spends much sleuthing time wondering about “The Guy Who Found the Hand” and deciding that he can see outlander Buddy as a homicidal maniac. Over a late night Glenfiddich, Buddy too begins to wonder, his thoughts turning reluctantly to Chicago and Red Mizel, a vicious thug who once put out a contract on him. Is the murder of Melissa part of a convoluted scheme whose eventual target could turn out to be Buddy? It’s a shade far-fetched, Buddy acknowledges, but its shakiness might be due to a lack of up-to-date information. Buddy’s right about that but wrong about Red. And crucially, horrifically uninformed about . . . Goatskinner!
Hard-nosed, soft-hearted Buddy is irresistible, and Sidor supports him with bang-bang storytelling and a sharply drawn cast. Take note, and you may see a star in the making.