Small-town preacher Richard Weatherford is being black-mailed by a former lover. In exchange for keeping it quiet and leaving Richard and his family alone, the blackmailer is asking for thirty thousand dollars. Despite this already being an undesirable situation, it’s made worse by the fact that this is all coming to a head on Easter Saturday – a date in which Richard finds himself hopelessly occupied.
Desperate for help, Richard reaches out to an unexpected source. What follows will destroy lives and shatter the peaceful facade of Van Buren County.
I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Being from a small town myself, I love reading stories like this one and small town crime is right within author Jake Hinkson’s wheelhouse. You have a relatively small cast of characters finding themselves in a situation without experience leading them to just fly by the seat of their pants. Everything that happens in Dry County occurs within one day adding an overwhelming sense of urgency. These men and women are making snap decisions based on nothing but pure desperation and fear that leads to a gripping tale that did not take its foot off the pedal throughout these brisk 224 pages.
As a reader, you can’t help but sit back and play armchair quarterback with these characters. You want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them for some of the decisions they make but in the end, you’re not in their shoes. Richard Weatherford in particular is playing high-stakes poker with a shotgun pressed into the back of his skull. There are some great moments and chapters where he plays mental gymnastics trying to justify his next course of action. Hinkson did a tremendous job portraying the darkness inside of us all; we really have no idea how we’ll react when we’re backed into a corner, do we?
Jake Hinkson’s Dry County is textbook pitch black noir so not a lot of light escapes these pages. Desperate people doing desperate things often make for the best page-turners and Dry County is one of those novels where the pages just could not turn fast enough. Do yourself a favor and carve out some time before sitting down to read this because you’re not going to want to put it down once you start.
Dry County arrives on October 01, 2019 from Pegasus Books.