cover image The Bramble and the Rose: A Henry Farrell Novel

The Bramble and the Rose: A Henry Farrell Novel

Tom Bouman. Norton, $25.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-393-43925-0

At the outset of Edgar-winner Bouman’s lean, somber third Henry Farrell novel (after 2017’s Fateful Mornings), Farrell, the sole police officer for Wild Thyme Township, Pa., heads into the woods to check out the decapitated body of an unidentified man found at the bottom of a ravine. Evidence suggests that the man was partially eaten by a bear; the discovery of his head high in a tree points to murder. DNA testing identifies the victim as Chet Destry, a retired PI, but what was Destry doing in that remote part of the state? Meanwhile, Farrell’s wedding to Miss Julie promises some happiness for the tortured lawman, but he soon has cause to worry. Farrell’s 11-year-old nephew, Ryan, runs off, and an old flame of his, Shelly Bray, winds up dead before she can tell him something she knows about Destry’s murder. Bad guys begin targeting Farrell, who impulsively goes on the run, and after a gun battle and other high-stakes confrontations finally gets some answers to a rather convoluted conspiracy. This rural noir starts out more convincingly than it ends. Agent: Neil Olson, Donadio & Olson. (Mar.)