Who’s killing all the kids?
Mike Yeager, on leave from the FBI since a child abduction he worked on went horribly wrong, winds up in Dyer County, Nev., just in time to rescue Robbie, a crippled boy who’s being manhandled by Dale. Robbie gets away; Dale stays and fights Mike, but loses. He loses even bigger the next day, when he turns up decapitated and Mike finds himself Sheriff Archer’s main suspect. The sheriff has a special interest in the case since Dale was married to his whoring daughter Mary Frances, whose five-year-old Cassie is missing. Mary’s twin sister, Martha, and her preacher husband, Gavin, are also wringing their hands, maybe because they’re also worried about their old acquaintance Pete Frizelle, a good-for-nothing pimp. While Mike and psychiatrist Connor Blackwell try to make sense of who’s doing what to whom, everyone close to the sheriff is being exsanguinated; lots of little kids are dying; and most of the townsfolk are keeping secrets—especially about a fire at a camp on the lake and a revenge plotted for a decade by someone long thought to be dead.
A grim, proficient first novel that begins as a typical PI vehicle, then segues to serial-killer horror mode. If it ends in a swirl of melodrama, perhaps these are kinks Lakeman can work out in future endeavors.