cover image Bad Blood: Freedom and Death in the White Mountains

Bad Blood: Freedom and Death in the White Mountains

Casey Sherman. University Press of New England, $26.95 (229pp) ISBN 978-1-58465-679-1

In this riveting true crime tale, rural Franconia, N.H. becomes a major character alongside ""wild child"" Liko Kenney, authoritarian police officer Bruce McKay, foul-mouthed Vietnam vet Greg Floyd, and a host of polarized townfolk. After a long feud, hippie-ish Kenny and officer McKay finalize their relationship with a standoff that leaves them both dead, thanks in part to the interference of troubled ex-Marine Greg Floyd (who shot Kenney). Boston-based journalist Sherman (A Rose for Mary: The Hunt for the Real Boston Strangler) dissects the case with painstaking care, documenting a number of Franconia voices, each with its own version of events, to figure out why a typical small-town conflict between ""the hard-nosed cop and the rebellious kid"" turned unexpectedly murderous. Characters are not just colorful but complete, making Floyd's confession, at a village store two days later, all the more shocking and bizarre: with a ""breezy demeanor,"" Floyd announced, ""I'm the guy that shot that kid."" As daunting facts come to light, the townspeople form two opposing camps-those for Floyd and those against-making it all but impossible for them to discern anything important from the shooting. Focusing the testimony of witnesses, loved ones and officials, Sherman provides that missing sense of perspective with skill.