PLAINS CRAZY: A Mad Dog & Englishman Mystery

J. M. Hayes, Author . Poisoned Pen $24.95 (242p) ISBN 978-1-59058-132-2

Hayes's third mix of crime and farce (after 2003's Prairie Gothic ) set on the Kansas prairie will amuse some and irritate others. Soon after a randy teenage boy is fatally impaled by an ancient Cheyenne arrow during an outdoor tryst, the town of Buffalo Springs is plagued by a series of bombings that may be the work of al Qaeda. The top local lawman, Sheriff English, finds himself pulled in multiple directions as evidence suggests that his flaky mystic half-brother, known as Mad Dog, was the intended victim instead of the teenager. There's no shortage of people who would benefit from Mad Dog's death, ranging from town supervisors who want to use his land for a lucrative wind-power venture to the psychotic son he never knew existed. English races from crime scene to crime scene, mindful of his wife's deadline to show up at the Wichita airport for a trip to Paris that could save their marriage. While Hayes displays some satirical gifts (as shown in a TV reality show called This Old Tepee ), the story is longer on action than suspense or deduction, and the trivializing of the very real threat of al Qaeda can be offputting, especially since it's unnecessary to the plot. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Paperback - 410 pages - 978-1-59058-152-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 304 pages - 978-1-4165-0801-4
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!