cover image Bad Day Breaking: A Bad Axe County Novel

Bad Day Breaking: A Bad Axe County Novel

John Galligan. Atria, $17 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-9821-6656-4

In Galligan’s stellar fourth novel set in Wisconsin’s Bad Axe County (after 2021’s Bad Moon Rising), the trouble begins with the arrival of the House of Shalah, a prosperity theology church, whose members set up a communal living space in a former self-storage facility. Hostile locals believe the church is really a pernicious cult. The already high tensions rise after Deputy Mikayla Stonebreaker roughs up its leader, Prophet-Father Euodoo Koresh, because she believed Koresh possessed illegal narcotics—which proves not to be the case. Sheriff Heidi Kick suspends Stonebreaker, but months later, after county commissioners overturn the suspension, the reinstated deputy sues Kick for gender discrimination. Meanwhile, Stonebreaker’s husband has formed an anti–House of Shalah vigilante group. Fuel is added to the fire when a church member is found murdered in a lake, “his neck and belly sliced open with a knife.” The appealing Kick, whose personality and skills never strain credulity, is complemented by a thoughtfully developed supporting cast. Galligan elevates his already impressive game with this one. Agent: Joanna MacKenzie, Nelson Literary. (Aug.)