Cover Image: Dry County

Dry County

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Member Reviews

Below are a few (somewhat) brief, $.02 opinions about several books I've read or listened to recently but don't have time to review in full. Their appearance in this recurring piece generally has little to nothing to do with merit. Many of these books I enjoyed as much or more than those that got the full court press. I hope you'll consider one or two for your own TBR stack if they strike your fancy whether they struck mine or not.

Superb Noiry Darkness:

Dry County, by Jake Hinkson

Jake Hinkson writes great small town grit, and Dry County is no exception. A mix of politics, religion and a man willing to do anything to retain his power, it's a stark look at how people just keep digging even when they're in a hole. Richard Weatherford is a preacher in small town Arkansas who has grown his following and perfected the optics of his life with his wife and five kids. Things go south when a blackmail scheme threatens to take down everything Richard has built, and he'll go to great measure to put an end to it. Great stuff.
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We have a preacher who's sleeping with a guy whose girlfriend (and him) try to blackmail the preacher.  While at the same time, the guy who is sleeping with the preacher is also in big time trouble with one of the local townies.  That's just in the first couple of chapters.  Dry County is freaking awesome.  You'll hate everyone and yet you won't be able to stop reading, cause God help you, you'll be desperate to know what happens.  Dry County is about a small town where pretty much everyone and everything is trash, and I wanted so badly to be a part of all it.  Glad I'm not, though, cause I have too many of my own problems.  But you might feel differently.  Either way, this book is the tits.

Happy reading!

5/5 Stars
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A fast paced thriller with twists and turns that make it impossible to put the book down! I started the book in the evening and ended up until 2am to finish it- I could not put it down! Richard is a preacher in a small town who seems to have it all- a successful church with loyal followers and a wife and five children. But almost immediately you learn he has some secrets and is being blackmailed. These secrets could destroy his reputation if they got out as well as his families lives. Desperate to resolve the situation Richard turns to an unexpected source for assistance and what happens next is one disaster after another. Highly recommend. Thank you to Netgalley and Pegasus Books for an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
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When I finished reading this book I was relieved. It had so little to recommend I would never have completed it had I not had to give feedback. The author left nothing out... murder, mayhem, drug use, homosexuality, and repeated sexual liaisons. Set against the backdrop of a small highly conservative bible thumping town whose secrets are revealed at a hurtling pace, it was horrifying. I am not sure what the author was condemning. The main characters were stereotypical and unlikeable. He seemed to mock their false values as they committed murder and treachery. After all the sermons about forgiveness, love, and brotherhood, I felt  it was a mockery to rant on about these noble attributes. If you take that as a moral, it was the only goal the author reached. Don not bother reading, there are so many more well written novels .
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I could not put this book down ! Jake Hinson has created the perfect nightmare scenario. I loved the fast pace of this book and there was no good time to lay it aside. It will resonate with believers and non believers .and bookclubs will go crazy.  Elmer Gantry has nothing on this guy. I loved this book and will look for others by this author. I’m recommending it to all.
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Small-town preacher Richard Weatherford is being black-mailed by a former lover.  In exchange for keeping it quiet and leaving Richard and his family alone, the blackmailer is asking for thirty thousand dollars.  Despite this already being an undesirable situation, it’s made worse by the fact that this is all coming to a head on Easter Saturday – a date in which Richard finds himself hopelessly occupied.

Desperate for help, Richard reaches out to an unexpected source.  What follows will destroy lives and shatter the peaceful facade of Van Buren County.

Being from a small town myself, I love reading stories like this one and small town crime is right within author Jake Hinkson’s wheelhouse.  You have a relatively small cast of characters finding themselves in a situation without experience leading them to just fly by the seat of their pants.  Everything that happens in Dry County occurs within one day adding an overwhelming sense of urgency.  These men and women are making snap decisions based on nothing but pure desperation and fear that leads to a gripping tale that did not take its foot off the pedal throughout these brisk 224 pages.

As a reader, you can’t help but sit back and play armchair quarterback with these characters.  You want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them for some of the decisions they make but in the end, you’re not in their shoes.  Richard Weatherford in particular is playing high-stakes poker with a shotgun pressed into the back of his skull.  There are some great moments and chapters where he plays mental gymnastics trying to justify his next course of action.  Hinkson did a tremendous job portraying the darkness inside of us all; we really have no idea how we’ll react when we’re backed into a corner, do we?

Jake Hinkson’s Dry County is textbook pitch black noir so not a lot of light escapes these pages.  Desperate people doing desperate things often make for the best page-turners and Dry County is one of those novels where the pages just could not turn fast enough.  Do yourself a favor and carve out some time before sitting down to read this because you’re not going to want to put it down once you start.
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