Title: Bad Axe County
Author: John Galligan
Genre: Mystery / Crime
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars
Source: Digital ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley
TW: Human trafficking, Graphic sexual assault
Woah, this was a dark, gritty mystery. This book immediately pulls you into the story and just keeps pulling you deeper into it’s murky depths. Heidi Kick is the interim sheriff of Bad Axe County, a rural area in Wisconsin, and the county sure lives up to it’s name. While Heidi is just trying to do her job and keep the county safe until the new sheriff is elected, she is busy battling her own demons as well as those that are haunting the county.
Heidi’s husband, Harley Kick, is a local baseball legend. Though an injury pulled him from the team years ago, he still coaches and everyone in the area knows him. He and his old baseball buddies could do no wrong when they were younger and as Heidi dives deeper into the crime throughout the county she begins learning their darker secrets.
This book covers a lot of crime committed by a lot of awful people. Some of it was difficult to read, so go into it with the warning that if graphic sexual assault or human trafficking are triggers for you, maybe skip this one. Aside from the graphic nature of some of the scenes, the book was super interesting. I loved following along and trying to figure out how each of the characters fit into the larger scope of the story.
This is not the mystery for everyone, but definitely give it a read if you’re looking for something dark!
Thank you so much to Atria and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book!
“…and that was the story, right up until a night when there was a bad Rattlers loss, a fight, and a party where a girl got killed. Then the story changed.”
-John Galligan, Bad Axe County
*Please note, this quote is from an ARC copy, so it may change in the final copy.
Synopsis: Fifteen years ago, Heidi White’s parents were shot to death on their Bad Axe County farm. The police declared it a murder-suicide and closed the case. But that night, Heidi found the one clue she knew could lead to the truth—if only the investigators would listen.
Now Heidi White is Heidi Kick, wife of local baseball legend Harley Kick and mother of three small children. She’s also the interim sheriff in Bad Axe. Half the county wants Heidi elected but the other half will do anything to keep her out of law enforcement. And as a deadly ice storm makes it way to Bad Axe, tensions rise and long-buried secrets climb to the surface.
As freezing rain washes out roads and rivers flood their banks, Heidi finds herself on the trail of a missing teenaged girl. Clues lead her down twisted paths to backwoods stag parties, derelict dairy farms, and the local salvage yard—where the body of a different teenage girl has been carefully hidden for a decade.
As the storm rages on, Heidi realizes that someone is planting clues for her to find, leading her to some unpleasant truths that point to the local baseball team and a legendary game her husband pitched years ago. With a murder to solve, a missing girl to save, and a monster to bring to justice, Heidi is on the cusp of shaking her community to its core—and finding out what really happened the night her parents died.
JOHN GALLIGAN is the author of the novels Red Sky, Red Dragonfly, The Nail Knot, The Clinch Knot, The Wind Knot, and Bad Axe County. He lives and teaches writing in Madison, Wisconsin.
Photo Credit: Johnny Ring
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