The Drummers

Severn House. (Josie Gray Mystery, Bk. 6). Apr. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9780727892478. $28.99. M
Josie Gray, police chief of Artemis, TX, has a powder keg in her small community. The Drummers, a religious group, have bought an empty church for their headquarters and moved all 21 members into the small building. They refuse to send their children to local schools, and they block up all the windows. When Josie meets with Gideon, the Drummers’ leader, he insists they’re a peaceful group. But the locals view them as a cult. When transformers are destroyed, shutting off power in a 40,000-square-mile area, Josie suspects the Drummers. She has no way of getting inside the church until a waitress photographs one of the Drummers, a parolee, with a gun. Josie teams up with the sheriff’s department to serve a warrant. Then all hell breaks loose. Gunshots are fired, and Gideon takes to the internet to announce that Josie has shot a teenage girl. Josie doesn’t believe that, but she asks federal agencies to help with the standoff. Every law enforcement officer in the area dreads another Waco, but this time the entire power grid is at stake.
VERDICT It’s been five years since the last Josie Gray book by the Hillerman Prize–winning author of The Territory. The riveting mystery is an intense, ripped-from-the-headlines story for anyone looking for a compelling tale of homegrown terrorists with grandiose schemes.
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