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Darkness Bids the Dead Goodbye (Sheriff Gavin Pruitt) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The interesting thing about the Gavin Pruitt mysteries is that they re fiction wrapped around truth. Strange but true: Sheriff Gavin Pruitt really is both a Dead Head and a cop. And wrapping your mind around that conundrum makes for great reading. --Dennis McNally, A Long Strange Trip

Sheriff Pruitt is at it again, keeping Elkhorn safe from meth makers and murderers while he tries to contend with the psychic maelstrom of his impending father- and grandfatherhood and stay strong for his pregnant wife, pregnant daughter, and his daughter's unsteady boyfriend. In Darkness Bids the Dead Goodbye, McKinney unfolds this murder mystery like a tie-dye shirt preserved in a dime bag recovered from time warp, the mysteries of who killed Wilma Gillespie woven together with the mysteries of how we all got so old we have started burying the icons of our youth? And what is left for us? Plenty if you take a ride with Sheriff Pruit in his cruiser. The narrative captures a compelling mix of small town folksiness and underworld grit, vivid characters in all their idiosyncratic neuroses and fragile humanity criminals and victims, cops honest and corrupt, witnesses helpful and not, along with nosey neighbors and enigmatic ex-lovers. Darkness provides edge of the seat suspense along with surprising and satisfying revelations and a humorous tone that delivers the meditations of a luddite in the computer age trying to do some old fashioned detective work with all the new-fangled (if already slightly outdated) equipment. --Larry Strauss, author Nows the Time and columnist for the Huffington Post

Tony Hillerman's Native American detective Joe Leaphorn has long allowed the average mystery reader to do something extraordinary: join the tribe, and join the tribe at a time of great peril. With Darkness Bids the Dead Goodbye, Gary McKinney takes the reader deep into another sort of tribe altogether, the diehard followers of the Grateful Dead. McKinney's world is that lush corner of the Pacific Northwest many Deadheads eventually came to call home, and his subject is murder, black and foul. Can divorced, semi-evolved, sensory-deprivation-tank-floating, ex-pot-smoking County Sheriff Gavin Pruitt find those responsible for an extraordinarily brutal murder? It'll take a miracle, but of course for a Deadhead Sheriff, miracles are all in a day's work. An incredibly entertaining tale. --Philip Baruth, author of The Millennium Shows and The Brothers Boswell

About the Author

Gary McKinney is the author of the rock and roll novels If You Want to Get to Heaven and Choosing. Darkness Bids the Dead Goodbye is his second Gavin Pruitt, Deadhead County Sheriff, mystery, Slipknot being the first. He lives with his wife and children in Bellingham, Washington.
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Product Details

  • Series: Sheriff Gavin Pruitt
  • Mass Market Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Kearney Street Books (August 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972370692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972370691
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,634,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had tremendous fun curled up this winter with Slipknot and Darkness Bids the Dead Goodbye, the first two books in Gary McKinney's planned trilogy about Gavin Pruitt, the (Grateful) Deadhead Sheriff of the imaginary town of Elkhorn, in rural Washington State.

In the interest of full disclosure, the author works at my university as an analyst and technical writer. However, I was not aware until recently of his moonlighting career as a mystery writer and, more importantly, of how good a mystery writer he is.

Like any good mystery, these books pull you through their pages by the magnet of plot twists. But their main appeal lies in McKinney's cast of characters, Pruitt, especially. A small town Sheriff who refuses to disavow his Deadhead past, he asks his conservative, county constituents to take him as he is or to elect someone else. Never a hypocrite, he gave up drugs but keeps an appreciation for an approach to life embodied in musicians who were never afraid to play an old song in a new way. And he draws on Grateful Dead's lyrics as touchstones for handling the challenges of parenting, love, aging and police work.

Pruitt's first outrageous act as Sheriff is to hire Yen, a thin, Laotian immigrant, and "Raphe" Jones, her sandy hair pulled back in a French twist, as deputies. The Sheriff eventually marries Molly, the adult love of his life, but Angela, his partner from the 1960's, is the series' singular chaos factor, lighting the pages up whenever she appears, and contributing, always surprisingly, to the resolution of each crime.

Other characters include Pruitt's daughter Olivia, Christopher her boyfriend, Dan Louderback, the handsome Chief of police, and a supporting cast of loggers, environmentalists, real-estate developers and small-town characters.
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