MYSTERY

Ain’t Nobody Nobody

Polis. Sept. 2019. 336p. ISBN 9781947993709. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781947993839. M
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DEBUT In 1996, disgraced former sheriff Randy Mayhill passes the time drinking Dr Pepper, reading his favorite books, and tending to his dogs. When a man is found shot dead and perched on a fence, Mayhill launches an entirely unofficial investigation into the crime. The unidentified body is on land owned by the late Van Woods, who was Randy’s best friend and the reason he lost his badge. Still, Randy feels bound by a personal sense of duty to solve the crime and protect Birdie Woods, Van’s teenage daughter. Birdie is consumed by grief and anger toward her father for committing suicide. She also vaguely recognizes the dead man but doesn’t trust Randy to handle things. Meanwhile, Bradley Polk, a decent yet impoverished young man who occasionally works for Birdie, has become involved in a shady but potentially lucrative operation that may be connected to the murder. The mystery unfolds at a meandering pace, but the various threads eventually come together in surprising and satisfying ways.
VERDICT This debut novel is most notable for Ellett’s supremely witty prose and the oddball but deeply relatable characters. Readers looking for a fresh, offbeat voice in the mystery genre will find it here.

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