Death at the Black Bull

Frank Hayes. Berkley Prime Crime, $15 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-425-27429-3
Hayes’s strong debut introduces a complex and likable lawman, Virgil Dalton, the sheriff of Hayward, Ariz., a small cattle town with some big-time crime. Soon after truck driver Buddy Hinton goes missing, last seen having a few beers with automotive go-to guy Wade Travis and others at the Black Bull bar, Buddy’s body turns up in a stock tank. An employee of Hayward Ranch and Trucking, Buddy worked for the trucking operation run by Caleb Hayward, son of politically ambitious Micah and grandson of autocratic Audrey, who is also mother of Virgil’s late wife, Rusty. Virgil concludes that more deaths will follow Buddy’s murder, and they do. Virgil finds himself scrambling to protect possible witnesses as he tries to figure out why Buddy was killed and what role the Hayward family might have played. The mostly nuanced supporting cast may include a stereotype or two, but readers will want to see a lot more of Virgil and friends. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/11/2014
Release date: 10/07/2014
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 433 pages - 978-1-4104-7613-5
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