cover image Damaged Goods

Damaged Goods

Heather Sharfeddin, Bantam, $15 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-34188-2

In Sharfeddin's fleet fourth novel, Oregon auctioneer Hershel Swift suffers memory lapses and other mental miscues in the wake of a car accident that causes him to question what kind of man he's been. Once recovered, he has trouble recalling an object's name or provenance—but he knows its value. His attempts to return to the business of buying and selling property are interrupted when he rescues drifter Silvie Thorne from a roadside breakdown and gives her lodging for a few days. Though she has no intention of sticking around longer than that, she's forced to when Swift sells her car (along with everything in it) to a local gun dealer. Hershel and Silvie's recovery of her possessions reveals her troubled, dangerous past and his questionable business dealings. Together they confront their mistakes, revealing how the values a man gives something can lead to murder. Sharfeddin skillfully depicts both the rugged Willamette Valley landscape and the hard-luck people who inhabit it, and deepens the intrigue of Swift's lost memories—a somewhat tired trope—through nuanced characters and clear-eyed detail, making for a satisfying thriller. (Apr.)