Two men are killed in the small town of Acker's Gap, and one in a neighbor town. There seems to be no connection between the three deaths. But county prosecutor Bell Elkins is not convinced and starts to look into the cases herself.
I liked the writing style of the author and how she makes you think for much of the book that someone else was the killer. Unfortunately, the end is strange and unbelievable.
Quotes from the book
In ten minutes, she would have to leave for her overnight shift at the Lester gas station, and she couldn't be late. Summer Saturdays were a zoo. A twenty-four-hour place in these parts was a magnet for every drunk, every weirdo, and every druggie in a thirty-mile radius; Saturday nights seemed to bring out the crazy even in normal people.
"Twenty-six years old. Been getting in trouble ever since he was old enough to say, 'Hell no – weren't me that done it'. But it always was."
"He was married. Had a three-year-old girl named – Lord help me – Guinivere. Imagine having to live your life in Steppe County with a name like Guinivere. Might as well paste a 'Kick Me' sign on the kid's backside right now and be done with it."
The region had settled into serious decline, a decline made worse by the bad habits people developed to distract themselves from it: violence and alcohol and drugs.
It was still far too early to disturb anyone for whom you had the slightest shred of affection or respect – which made it the ideal moment to call her ex-husband.
For the desperate people in these parts, twenty dollars was incentive enough to kill.
"He was lazy and stupid – and he would've shot his own granny if it put an extra nickel in his fist."
Thirty-five years of smoking cigarettes and anything else he could find to smoke had turned his laugh into a soupy, clotted bray.
She allowed silence to be her cointerrogator. People disliked silence. It made them uncomfortable and so they would often say something – something incriminating – just to get rid of it.
"I've been getting the serial killer question everywhere I go, just like you predicted. Really wish the folks around here watched a little less TV, you know? You sit yourself down in front of enough of those crime shows – and pretty soon, you think you're seeing a serial killer every time you push your cart through the produce section of Lymon's Market."
Why did every tough guy turn into a two-year-old when he got a taste of what he'd been dishing out?
"Not my fault Charlie got himself killed. Damn fool fought back. I was just gonna cut him a little bit, but he fought back. So I had to get rough with him."
"Kid told me you were pretty rough on Perry Crum. And paramedics said he looked like he'd been run through a table saw and then finished off in a chipper-shredder."