MYSTERY

Graveyard Fields

Crooked Lane. Aug. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781643856865. $27.99. M
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DEBUT Davis Reed, inept cop–turned–inept private investigator, fights with his cop brother-in-law and gets shot in the leg, then heads to Cruso, NC, where he rents a cabin from Deputy Dale Johnson, a mountain of a man who shares Davis’s passion for home-brewed beer and 1980s heavy metal. Davis aspires to write a nonfiction account of the B-25 bomber that crashed into Cold Mountain in 1946, but his plans die as he’s mired in alcohol and Xanax addictions. When he finds a ring of keys on a forest trail, Davis finds a new obsession and soon draws attention from a brewery owner and other untrustworthy characters. Deputy Johnson’s cousin Floppy Johnson, a mechanic with a mouth that rattles on, mentions the town’s rumors of buried gold; the keys disappear and reappear, and Davis’s problems worsen. He hasn’t even faced the repercussions from the family fight. Soon he and the Johnson cousins are comically contending with drug dealers, treasure hunters, and corrupt cops.
VERDICT The unconventional heroes of this debut are exaggerated, awkward characters in a story that progresses from tragedy to dark humor. Fans of irreverent crime novels with flawed protagonists will appreciate it.
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