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A wounded Tennessee warrior tries to make sense of her life by looking into the lives of others.

Brynn Callahan is an Irish Traveller brought up by her beloved grandmother. The Marines were her way out of Bone Gap, but she returned wounded both mentally and physically along with her cadaver-detecting dog, Wilco, who shares her afflictions. Now she works as a sheriff’s deputy (Fractured Truth, 2018, etc.), facing prejudice from the community and her own clan, who don’t trust the police. The morning after a bachelorette party for Brynn’s friend Dee Doherty, Brynn’s called to a crime scene, where a pair of ears hang from monkey bars along with the message “Hear No Evil.” She recognizes the stud in the ears as likely belonging to the male stripper who left the party with her distant cousin Mo Black. Wilco can find no body, just the foam take-out container used to transport the ears. Mo denies knowing anything about the dead man, Chance Walker, but her abusive husband, Hughie, must be considered a suspect. Brynn, who’s addicted to alcohol and pills, reluctantly joins a counseling group, where she’s surprised to meet attractive assistant DA Jake Sheehan. A second crime scene features a severed tongue accompanied by the injunction “Speak No Evil.” Following a lead, Brynn and FBI agent Grabowski are attacked by Katie Doogan, with whom Brynn shares a sorry history: She had an affair with Kevin Doogan without knowing he was married and owes him for covering up the fact that her Gran, now in a nursing home after a series of strokes, once shot someone. Meanwhile, the police dig into the two victims' pasts, seeking a connection between them. Dangerous trips into a forest patrolled by militia members turn up some clues, but, unable to trust anyone but Wilco, Brynn finds her solo investigations ever more dangerous.

A harrowing portrait of addiction, prejudice, and redemption neatly encapsulated in a guileful mystery.

Pub Date: Dec. 31st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4967-1172-4
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2019


FictionTHE FAMILIAR DARK by Amy Engel
by Amy Engel