From Publishers Weekly
Just 15 pages into this excellent sophomore effort, we've met a divorced, smalltown Kansas sheriff named English, his 12-year-old daughter Heather and his half-brother Mad DogDand we care about them all. We've also witnessed a gruesome murder. Mad Dog finds what's left of the scalped and dismembered Rev. Peter Simms, stuffed into the toilet in a park restroom. That Mad Dog is wearing nothing but a Speedo swimsuit and black body paint, highlighted with lightning ("He'd managed to incorporate the Speedo logo into the stroke on his right leg") is no surprise to the sheriff. Both men are a quarter Cheyenne, and Mad Dog is on a spirit quest. When he later finds the minister's fatherDalso dead, also scalpedDMad Dog lands squarely on the suspect list. Then a stranger hits town, seeking a young girl who looks just like Heather. The investigation turns into a breakneck mix of comic action and mortal danger, salted with Cheyenne philosophy and the dark realities of a twisted family's past masked by smalltown respectability. The "whodunit" resolution is a cop-out, and Hayes is over the top with jokes. But all that hardly matters, given the cliff-hanging plotting and Hayes's dead-on portrayal of complex people and relationships, in a landscape he clearly loves. Poisoned Pen will be issuing a revised version of the author's debut novel, The Grey Pilgrim, in tandem. (Dec. 4)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hayes brings Buffalo Springs, Kansas, to life in his first mystery. When the small town is rocked by its first murder in years, the sheriff, known to the locals as Englishman, must restore order. Complicating matters is the fact that Englishman's brother, Mad Dog, a shaman wanna-be who is one-quarter Cheyenne, found the body and is considered a suspect. More crime follows, and there's a tornado on the way. An African American history professor visiting local historical sites finds himself caught up in the action, too. The solution to the case reveals some complicated family relationships that may bring the sheriff and his not-so-ex wife together again. This well-crafted story told with humor will leave readers waiting for further adventures of Mad Dog, Englishman, and the inhabitants of Buffalo Springs. Barbara BibelCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved