cover image The Blight Way

The Blight Way

Patrick F. McManus, . . Simon & Schuster, $24 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-8047-1

Prolific, popular outdoorsman and humorist McManus (The Bear in the Attic ) departs from his trademark shaggy-dog stories with this novel set in current-day Idaho, the first in a new mystery series starring Blight County sheriff Bo Tully. Single, slimmed-down from the Atkins diet and highly interested in the ladies, Bo is blessedly unconcerned with the niceties of search warrants, suspect rights or any other impediment to his effective style of law enforcement. On the 75th birthday of his father, Eldon "Pap" Tully, former Blight County sheriff, a dead body turns up at the ranch of a family of ex-cons. Bo decides a murder investigation would be the perfect birthday present for Pap. The dead man is from Los Angeles, as are the next two corpses Bo and Pap find at the scene of a heavy firepower ambush—not Blight County's usual low-rent crime. Behind his hayseed cop exterior, Bo is smart, sneaky and relentless. Add lots of quirky suspects, criss-crossing motives and artery-clogging meals at Dave's House of Fry, and McManus delivers a brisk, hilarious smalltown cop mystery. (Mar.)