Something Bad Wrong
by Eryk Pruitt
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Pub Date 01 May 2023 | Archive Date 15 May 2023
Thomas & Mercer, Thomas & Mercer
To catch the killer who eluded her detective grandfather fifty years ago, a true-crime podcaster must contend with outdated evidence, ulterior motives, and the dark family secrets that got in the way.
True-crime podcaster Jess Keeler has returned to Deeton County, North Carolina, to pick up where her grandfather left off. Sheriff’s Deputy Big Jim Ballard, her grandfather, was a respected detective—until it all came crashing down during a 1972 murder investigation.
For Jim, solving the murders of two teens should have been the highlight of his already storied career. Instead, he battled his own mind, unsure where his hunches ended and the truth began.
Working from her grandfather’s disjointed notes, Jess is sure that she can finally put the cold case—and her family’s shame—to rest. Enlisting the help of disgraced reporter Dan Decker, Jess soon discovers ugly truths about the first investigation, which was shaped by corruption, egos, and a family secret that may be the key to the crime.
Told in a dual timeline that covers both investigations, Something Bad Wrong explores human folly, hubris, and how sometimes, to solve a crime, you have to find out who’s covering it up.
A Note From the Publisher
“There are storytellers who seem to come to us fully formed. Bards who create worlds and characters that captivate us instantaneously. Eryk Pruitt is such a storyteller, and Something Bad Wrong is such a book. A kaleidoscope of Southern Gothic traditions seamlessly combined with an incredible murder mystery, all told with Pruitt’s unique, indomitable style. Something Bad Wrong is some very, very good writing.” —S. A. Cosby, bestselling author of Razorblade Tears and Blacktop Wasteland
“Something Bad Wrong hits on every cylinder—expertly plotted, deliberately paced, deeply human, incredibly relevant, and just utterly absorbing. This is a golden example of the genre.” —Rob Hart, author of The Paradox Hotel and The Warehouse
“I still can’t believe Something Bad Wrong wasn’t written specifically for me. A gripping page-turner about a cold case murder with a gutsy true crime podcaster as a main character. It’s the most devourable mystery novel I’ve read in years.” —Brooke Cain, Raleigh News & Observer
“Something Bad Wrong is more proof that Eryk Pruitt is one of the most original, dynamic, and powerful voices writing today. While his uncanny flair for language and acute observation set him apart from his contemporaries, it’s never lost that, foremost, Pruitt is a natural storyteller—the kind of person quietly telling a story to a group of people at a table in a restaurant, and by the end of the evening, the entire restaurant is listening, rapt. At a time when contemporary crime fiction is putting out outstanding title after title, Something Bad Wrong belongs on a bookshelf among the best of the best.” —E. A. Aymar, author of No Home for Killers
“A rising crime-fiction star, Eryk Pruitt is at the height of his powers with Something Bad Wrong, a page-turning story of people caught between truth and lies, justice and corruption, and life and death. Pruitt utilizes his experience as an (excellent) true crime podcaster to expertly plot a narrative that weaves two timelines, rich with twists and mystery. Above all, Pruitt has the crime writer’s greatest gift of being able to slice into the human heart so he can show you its darkest, bloodiest chambers.” —Jordan Harper, Edgar Award–winning author of She Rides Shotgun and Everybody Knows
“Eryk Pruitt has crafted a nail-biter of a crime novel, a slice of the American South populated by unforgettable characters and peppered with dialogue so razor sharp it would make Elmore Leonard nervous. It dances deftly across the years, equal parts gasp inducing and profound, a warning that although past evil may fade from our memory, some bad things ought never be forgotten. Perfectly paced from beginning to end, Something Bad Wrong is a propulsive runaway freight train of a story that will grab you by the throat and hang on until the very last page.” —J. G. Hetherton, author of Last Girl Gone and What Lies Beneath
“In the tradition of the best of Southern Gothic crime fiction, Eryk Pruitt’s Something Bad Wrong explores the dark and twisted psychology of madness, murder and ultimate revenge, where a true-crime podcaster and disgraced celebrity reporter work tirelessly to find answers to an unsolved murder nearly half a century old. Suspenseful and finely crafted, epic in scope and cinematic in its descriptions of time and place, the novel is a whirlwind of unexpected plot turns and surprising character reveals.” —Kathleen Kent, Edgar Award Nominee, The Dime and The Burn