cover image Dead Man Dancing: A Bad Axe County Novel

Dead Man Dancing: A Bad Axe County Novel

John Galligan. Atria, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-9821-1073-4

Galligan’s outstanding sequel to 2019’s Bad Axe County puts Wisconsin sheriff Heidi Kick, his all-too-human lead, through the wringer. Kick is having marital troubles, which are exacerbated by a friend’s report of seeing her husband with an unknown blond woman. In addition, her seven-year-old daughter is grappling with her gender identity and Kick is getting death threats from someone accusing her of treason, election fraud, and hate crimes as white supremacists are assaulting people of color in Axe County. Meanwhile, someone shoots up the mailbox of Augustus Pfaff, a retired history teacher who’s about to publish a book about fugitive slaves who settled in the county. Pfaff is later gunned down in his home, which is then set on fire. Not knowing her adversary’s identity or the seriousness of the risk she faces, Kick must watch her back as she investigates the murder and the assaults. Galligan juggles the multiple plotlines without ever straining credibility. Ace Atkins fans should be drawn to this gripping account of an honest law enforcement officer battling racists. Agent: Joanna MacKenzie, Nelson Literary. (Aug.)