Bad Axe County

Bad Axe County

by John Galligan


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Dennis Lehane meets Megan Miranda in this tense, atmospheric thriller about the first female sheriff in rural Bad Axe County, Wisconsin, as she searches for a missing girl, battles local drug dealers, and seeks the truth about the death of her parents twenty years ago—all as a winter storm rages in her embattled community.

Fifteen years ago, Heidi White’s parents were shot to death on their Bad Axe County farm. The police declared it a murder-suicide and closed the case. But that night, Heidi found the one clue she knew could lead to the truth—if only the investigators would listen.

Now Heidi White is Heidi Kick, wife of local baseball legend Harley Kick and mother of three small children. She’s also the interim sheriff in Bad Axe. Half the county wants Heidi elected but the other half will do anything to keep her out of law enforcement. And as a deadly ice storm makes it way to Bad Axe, tensions rise and long-buried secrets climb to the surface.

As freezing rain washes out roads and rivers flood their banks, Heidi finds herself on the trail of a missing teenaged girl. Clues lead her down twisted paths to backwoods stag parties, derelict dairy farms, and the local salvage yard—where the body of a different teenage girl has been carefully hidden for a decade.

As the storm rages on, Heidi realizes that someone is planting clues for her to find, leading her to some unpleasant truths that point to the local baseball team and a legendary game her husband pitched years ago. With a murder to solve, a missing girl to save, and a monster to bring to justice, Heidi is on the cusp of shaking her community to its core—and finding out what really happened the night her parents died.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982110703
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 07/09/2019
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 84,396
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

John Galligan is the author of the novels Red Sky, Red Dragonfly, The Nail Knot, The Clinch Knot, The Wind Knot, and Bad Axe County. He lives and teaches writing in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Bad Axe County 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
diane92345 5 days ago
Heidi is a former Dairy Beauty Queen and the Bad Axe County, Wisconsin interim Sheriff. Her County has a heroin problem and hosts frequent stag parties in the backwoods. Heidi is trying to break up the old boy network of corruption within the Sheriff’s department. In addition, she attempts solving the murder of her parents fifteen years ago. I wanted Bad Axe County to grab me by the throat and compel me to read quickly to its end. However, I didn’t even feel the novel’s hand tentatively reaching out to me. I just used 33 words to say what can be said in two: It’s boring. Nothing happens in the first 20% but getting the players together. Endless backstories make the plot move s-l-o-w-l-y. I also didn’t like the black and white characterizations. Calling drug addicts zombies when you are their sheriff seems excessively judgmental. I can’t recommend this slow-moving thriller. While I loved Heidi’s personality especially her spunk, I don’t believe the pacing was correct for a thriller. 2 stars. Thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
labmom55 8 days ago
3.5 stars, rounded up The blurb for this book recommends it to readers who like Dennis Lehane or Megan Miranda. It reminded me much more of Lehane with its dark subject matter and horrible villains. Heidi Kick is the interim sheriff in Bad Axe County, Wisconsin. She’s facing misogyny within her staff, a bad spring snow storm, sex trafficking and drug dealing. Oh, and she’s also trying to figure out the truth behind her parents’ supposed murder-suicide from 15 years before. AND what happened in 2012, the day of a badly lost baseball game with her now husband supposedly pitching. This is a dark, gritty novel. Lots of moving pieces to this one. Galligan does a decent job of portraying the place and characters, although some of the characters seem more caricature. I can’t say that it was a fabulous mystery, but it moves at a brisk pace and kept my interest. My thanks to netgalley and Atria Books for an advance copy of this book.
CharlotteReadsBooks 9 days ago
An egalley of this book was gifted me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Bad Axe County’s corrupt sheriff dies and Heidi Kick is appointed interim sheriff. She’s the first female sheriff the county has had and does not receive a warm welcome. She is quickly plunged even deeper into Bad Axe County’s crime-ridden underbelly as she tries to pin down a human trafficking ring and solve a decades-old murder. (And Kick does all of this while battling the ghosts of her past.) This book moves much more quickly than I expected, and several threads weave together in ways I didn’t always see coming. I liked Kick’s moxie, even if she was a little reckless at times, and I was impressed with how everything tied together at the end. TW: This book does deal heavily with human and sex trafficking, and some passages are difficult to read.
MonnieR 11 days ago
If Bad Axe County really existed, I'd never go near it. And based on the characters in this story (which, BTW, there were far too many of for my aging brain to keep straight), I'm happy to not live anywhere near any of these downright detestable folks. That's not to say the book isn't well-written; it is - and no doubt many readers will love it. But I disliked the people and places so much that it was hard to work up much enthusiasm for the plot. Heidi Kick is the new interim sheriff in Bad Axe County, Wisconsin - the first female in what's clearly old-boy territory. She's married to Harley, who in his younger days was a star baseball player (and who is the only character in this story who has redeeming social value, IMHO). More than a decade earlier, Heidi's parents were found dead on their farm, and the police ruled it a murder-suicide. Heidi never believed that, though, and has tried ever since to figure out what really happened to them. She's also got a job to do, though much of it seems to be an uphill battle against the seedy folks in the backwoods county who don't want her to do it. So bad is the situation that she's not even totally sure she'll run for the upcoming election that, should she somehow win, would give her a more permanent status. As a real storm brews, a storm of another sort pops up in the local library involving an unidentified man, a young girl and a years-earlier baseball game that nobody - including Heidi's husband - want to talk about. That, in turn, leads to Heidi's learning about secret "stag parties" attended by all sorts of locals and an assortment of young girls, not all of whom were there of their own volition (think: human trafficking). One, in fact, has been missing ever since the party that followed that secretive baseball game; now, Heidi fears that the girl in the library may be another unwilling victim (one who, hopefully, she can save). The nasty weather and roiling rivers take their toll as Heidi investigates up and down very run-down properties like a salvage yard and a restaurant/bar, both of which are operated by characters even a mother couldn't love. Can Heidi find the missing girl before it's too late? Will she learn whose hand really killed her parents? And will her marriage survive the secrets her husband has been keeping from her? All are questions that aren't for me to reveal; you'll just have to read it for yourself. Do so only, I might add, if you don't mind graphic language and really, really rough guys and gals (the language does fit the characters, but even though that usually doesn't bother me much, in this case it made me like them all even less). Bottom line? While I appreciate the quality of the writing, this one is just too dark and gritty for me. In other words, I got through it intact, but I admit I'm now looking forward to diving into a cozy mystery (and if you know my opinion on those, you know that speaks volumes). Thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read an advance copy.