From the author of Cottonmouths, a Los Angeles Review Best Book of 2017, comes an evocative suspense about the cost of keeping secrets and the dangers of coming home.
Beneath the roiling waters of the Arkansas River lie dead men and buried secrets.
When Jane Mooney’s violent stepfather, Warren, disappeared, most folks in Maud Bottoms, Arkansas, assumed he got drunk and drowned. After all, the river had claimed its share over the years.
When Jane confessed to his murder, she should have gone to jail. That’s what she wanted. But without a body, the police didn’t charge her with the crime. So Jane left for Boston—and took her secrets with her.
Twenty-five years later, the river floods and a body surfaces. Talk of Warren’s murder grips the town. Now in her forties, Jane returns to Maud Bottoms to reckon with her past: to do jail time, to face her revenge-bent mother, to make things right.
But though Jane’s homecoming may enlighten some, it could threaten others. Because in this desolate river valley, some secrets are better left undisturbed.
A Note From the Publisher
An Arkansas native, Kelly writes about the power and pitfalls of friendship, the danger of long-held secrets, and the transcendent grittiness of the Ozarks and their surrounds.
She lives in Vermont with her wife and cat.
“Acclaimed author Kelly J. Ford spins a propulsive, sophisticated, and fearlessly queer tour de force in Real Bad Things. Ford’s richly drawn characters and breathtaking storytelling create an inescapable undertow of menace that will not let go until the shocking final page. This is gothic suspense at its most haunting.” —P. J. Vernon, author of Bath Haus
“Ford’s follow-up to her devastating debut novel, Cottonmouths, is a moving meditation on misplaced loyalties, love, and the legacy of violence and abuse, all wrapped in a mystery filled with guy-wire tension.” —John Vercher, author of Three-Fifths
“A powerful, grounded, and dark dose of rural noir, Real Bad Things is a tale of a homecoming gone wrong. Kelly J. Ford evokes the work of superstars like Gillian Flynn and Daniel Woodrell in this story of dark secrets coming back to roost and pulls it all through the prism of her own potent voice. This is a down and dirty crime novel that nods to the masters while keeping both feet firmly planted in the present. I loved it.” —Alex Segura, acclaimed author of Secret Identity, Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, and Blackout