Putnam, March 2002, 24.95, 304 pp.
In 1960, Kickapoo Falls, Wisconsin is a small bucolic town with a comparatively small sized small sheriff's department to match the low crime rate. Deputy Pennington reveres his boss Sheriff Fatts, the man who hired him, trained him and believed in him ever since he was brought on board just after World War II. The job is Pennington's whole life although the ex military sniper is in love with Maggie Butler who is married to Michael.
Pennington feels a deep rage when he comes across Michael and Maggie dead and nude in Farmer Gutterson's wheat fields. The sheriff wants to call it a murder-suicide but his deputy knows instinctively it's a double homicide and goes about gathering evidence, which leads him to one of the town's most powerful citizens, a man running for the US Senate seat. Before this case is over or he is dead, Pennington will be betrayed, shot at and imprisoned by the elite infrastructure.
Steve Thayer, author of one of this reviewer's favorite thrillers (see THE WEATHERMAN), has written another exciting work that stars a flawed and brooding hero who captures the attention of the audience from the very first page. The historical police procedural is cleverly designed to bring out the era yet provide an exciting who-done-it investigation. Readers will hope that there will be more works staring this protagonist because he is atypical law enforcement official.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner