MYSTERY

A Lonesome Place for Dying

Crooked Lane May 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781639107773. $29.99. M
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Ethan Brand was in bad shape when he returned to Blaine, WA, after serving two tours in Afghanistan. He was then recruited by Blaine police chief Frank Keogh, whom Brand went on to work with for 15 years. Now Keogh has retired, and Brand is appointed police chief. On his first day, he receives a threatening note, and a murder victim is found by the railroad tracks—after a decade and a half in which there were only two murders in Blaine. Now he has to contend with a confrontational mayor who doesn’t think Brand is up to the job, colleagues whom he’s not sure he can trust, and a murder investigation. When a stranger in a white coat shows up in town, Brand suspects that he’s either connected with the victim or part of the threat against Brand himself. Then there’s the local crime family who run a cross-border operation into Canada, moving drugs and money, and maybe corpses. It’s a lot to juggle during Brand’s first days as police chief.
VERDICT Chase (author of the Dave Wakeland detective novels under the name Sam Wiebe) debuts his lonesome, reflective lawman with this well-written, complex case. Fans of Craig Johnson’s Longmire will enjoy.
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