cover image Like Lions

Like Lions

Brian Panowich. Minotaur, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-20694-7

In Thriller Award winner Panowich’s excellent sequel to 2015’s Bull Mountain, the death of the brothers of County Sheriff Clayton Burroughs has left a void in the family business, which includes the production and distribution of meth and moonshine in northern Georgia. Outside criminal elements are looking to expand into this area. Burroughs has vowed to keep the rule of law, but when his wife and newborn son are threatened, he’s forced to choose between keeping his family safe or embracing his outlaw roots and taking over as the heir apparent of the region’s most ruthless crime family. He must also examine personal issues long buried under alcohol and avoidance. Although the stark economic backdrop of rural Georgia and a cast of richly described characters fuel the narrative, it’s the emotional complexity of Burroughs (“He hoarded guilt and pain the way some people did magazines and newspapers”) as well as the brass knuckle punch of an ending that will have readers applauding. This is hillbilly noir at its finest. 75,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Assoc. (Apr.)