Cover Image: Shifty's Boys

Shifty's Boys

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Member Reviews

Rural dynamics and "politics" for sure - complex characters with history, obstacles, and for some, a mission. Throw in drug distribution and murder -  Solid read!
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Lots of action in a story that is good because of its locale and the personalities provided for the characters by an author who really puts the reader in a realisitic-feeling setting. The action is fast-paced.
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Chris Offutt pulls you in and refuses to release his grip. Can’t ask for more in a writer and novel. This is hardscrabble country noir with heart. Set in the hills of Kentucky, we have Mick Hardin, CID with the Army, home to heal wounds not only physical but mental. He’s living with his sister, the sheriff. When two local brothers are killed, though, their mother calls Mick to get to the bottom of it. And he does in a violent, blood soaked fever dream of a final confrontation with the perpetrators. In between that, he possibly starts up a new relationship and ends an old one by signing divorce papers from the wife he still loves. Heart. Highly recommended.
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I’m the first to review this on GR. My third read by the author. An author I apparently like more than remember.
     I was reading this book with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. It reminded me so much of something…and, now with GR handy, I realized that what it reminded me of was likely its predecessor, which I read less than a year ago and apparently almost completely forgot about. 
      This is odd, because I really like Offutt’s writing, so much so I’ll even read his rural noir or country crime or whatever it is exactly that he writes. I’ve heard both, but for me noir just doesn’t stretch quite that far, so let’s stick with country crime drama set in the author’s beloved Kentucky, a place he tends to get all hillbilly elegiac about. 
        Not at all my scene, not at all a place I’d normally want to visit even at the safe remove of an armchair, and yet Offutt makes it worth a trip. There’s such ease and humor to his writing, such innate likability to his characters…it just draws you in.
        And so, there you go, once more to the hills and small towns of Kentucky with its gun-toting English language manglers. It’s all about the family in them there (one Kentuckiasm and WORD is freaking out) hills and so when not one but two sons of a local matriarch Shifty get killed, justice needs to be served. And since the local sheriff is too busy trying to get herself re-elected, it’s up to her brother, an army investigator on leave, to figure things out. 
        Which he does, oddly enough at his own not inconsiderable expense, all while trying to stay sober and contemplating signing divorce papers.
        From what it is I can possibly remember from book one, this is very, very similar. In tone, in themes, in subject matter, etc. And the actual crime here is solved in so much shooting, it’s almost like it’s trying to compete with the new Matrix movie. 
        But the thing is, this book for me isn’t about the crime or the scenery, I just really enjoy Offutt’s writing. It’s so engaging, so dynamic, so fun. It goes by very quickly, and even if it’s apparently not at all memorable, it’s still plenty entertaining for the duration. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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