cover image Dry County

Dry County

Jake Hinkson. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-64313-223-5

Set in rural Arkansas, this unapologetically bleak noir from Hinkson (Hell on Church Street) explores the effects of existential and spiritual despair in an economically depressed town where the influence of religious fundamentalism is stifling. For the last 10 years, Richard Weatherford has been the pastor of a church in Stock—a place “with the lingering stink of Ozark backwater to it”—and has presided over much of the community as its spiritual leader. He and his wife are raising their five children there. But when a person with whom Weatherford once had a sexual encounter attempts to blackmail the preacher, just days before Easter, Weatherford is forced to make some hard decisions that will jeopardize himself, his family, and his marriage. With the 2016 presidential election looming, politics plays a significant background role. The unexpected ending will either enrage readers or have them applauding. Powered by raw emotional intensity and a disturbingly realistic portrayal of small-town America, this story is unforgettable. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber. (Oct.)