Drybone Hollow: A Memoir

Drybone Hollow: A Memoir

by John Billheimer
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Transportation investigator Owen Allison recently left his lucrative consulting practice in California to help his mother back home in West Virginia in her fight against cancer. His ex-wife and current lover, Judith, is also back on the West Coast, and now that his mother has mostly recovered, he's itching to get back to his life, to stimulate both his portfolio

Overview

Transportation investigator Owen Allison recently left his lucrative consulting practice in California to help his mother back home in West Virginia in her fight against cancer. His ex-wife and current lover, Judith, is also back on the West Coast, and now that his mother has mostly recovered, he's itching to get back to his life, to stimulate both his portfolio and his love life.

But before he has a chance to leave his small hometown of Barkley, West Virginia, a local dam breaks, sending a black ribbon of coal sludge cascading miles and miles through the hollows across the region. Four people lose their lives in the accident, and the ambulance chasers gnash their teeth and formulate strategies for the inevitable lawsuits against big coal.

It turns out that Owen knows the owner of the coal mine, a good ol' boy from his high school class whose success has surprised everyone, even himself. What's more, the classmate knows that finding out why things fail is Owen's specialty, and he hires him on the spot to figure out just what went wrong. Judith and his California practice will have to wait, but Owen is only half-worried about letting those things slide. He's thrilled to be back in the thick of things, and readers will be, too, in another quirky, engaging installment in John Billheimer's unusual and winning series.

Editorial Reviews

"Billheimer spins a taut, trim tale. . ."(Providence Journal-Bulletin, Rhode Island)
Kirkus Reviews
It's time for risk analyst Owen Allison to go back to Palo Alto to work on the reconciliation with his ex-wife Judith that was interrupted by his mother's chemotherapy (Dismal Mountain, 2001). But one mishap after another tempts Owen to linger in West Virginia. First, the dam atop Anson Stokes's unused Canaan II mine blows, filling Drybone Hollow with coal sludge and sweeping away the trailers belonging to Lyle Tanner and Anson's brother Cable-along with Lyle's wife Maddie and two hapless honeymooners from Tennessee. Then, Anson hires Owen to convince green-leaning judge Carter Vereen that despite the damage to Canaan II, his Canaan III is safe to operate. But instead of reopening Canaan III, Vereen orders an investigation of all impoundment dams sitting on mines. So state attorney general Hayes Boyer asks Owen to lead the investigation, adding that since Owen is a newcomer, he'll accept a kickback of only 15% of Owen's fee. Naturally refusing, Owen asks sheriff Thad Reader, his old friend, to help him set a trap to expose the rigged contracts. But Reader's got his hands full. Mary Beth Hobbs, mother of high-school pitching phenom Jeb Stuart Hobbs, has disappeared, and Reader thinks Cable may be holding her hostage. Chasing kidnappers, rooting out corruption, babysitting Jeb Stuart, and flirting with perky mine engineer Emily Kruk leaves Owen scant time for Judith, and no prospect of leaving his birthplace any time soon. Soap opera aside, Billheimer constructs a puzzle so ingenious that, like the folks in the Hollow, readers shoulda seen it coming-but they won't. Agent: Ruth Cohen

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780373265008
Publisher:
Worldwide Mystery
Publication date:
08/28/2004
Series:
WWL Mystery Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
4.16(w) x 6.68(h) x 0.79(d)

Meet the Author

John Billheimer, a native of West Virginia, lives in Portola Valley, California. This is his fourth Owen Allison novel.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >