cover image Bad Axe County

Bad Axe County

John Galligan. Atria, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-9821-1070-3

On a summer day in 2004, high school senior Heidi White, the heroine of this intense thriller from Galligan (The Wind Knot and three other Fly Fishing mysteries), has just given a speech as the newly crowned Wisconsin Dairy Queen when her chaperone draws her aside to tell her that her parents have been shot on their farm. The police believe it to be a murder-suicide, but not Heidi. In 2016, Heidi is the interim sheriff in rural Bad Axe County, where she’s searching for Pepper Greengrass, a 16-year-old runaway. Chapters from Pepper’s perspective reveal that she has traveled with her pimp to a backwoods stag party, where she underestimates his vicious intent while looking for opportunities to escape. Heidi’s investigation eventually leads to a sex trafficking ring, embroiling members of the local baseball team and casting suspicion onto one-time pitching ace Harley Kick, Heidi’s husband, who may be involved with another teenage girl’s disappearance. Galligan smoothly balances multiple story lines as Heidi also draws closer to the truth about her parents’ deaths. Readers will hope this is the start of a series. Agent: Joanna MacKenzie, Nelson Literary. (July)