Author: Brian Panowich
Expected Publication: May 5, 2020 by Minotaur Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Goodreads Rating: 4.56 out of 5
My Rating: ★★★★
“Dane Kirby is a broken man and no stranger to tragedy. As a life-long resident and ex-arson investigator for McFalls County, Dane has lived his life in one of the most chaotic and crime-ridden regions of the south. When he gets called in to consult on a brutal murder in a Jacksonville, Florida, motel room, he and his FBI counterpart, Special Agent Roselita Velasquez, begin an investigation that leads them back to the criminal circles of his own backyard.
Arnie Blackwell’s murder in Jacksonville is only the beginning – and Dane and Roselita seem to be one step behind. For someone is hacking a bloody trail throughout the Southeast looking for Arnie’s younger brother, a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who possesses an unusual skill with numbers that could make a lot of money and that has already gotten a lot of people killed—and has even more of the deadliest people alive willing to do anything it takes to exploit him.
As Dane joins in the hunt to find the boy, it swiftly becomes a race against the clock that has Dane entangled in a web of secrets involving everyone from the Filipino Mafia to distrusting federal agents to some of hardest southern outlaws he’s ever known.”
This was my first Brian Panowich novel and I’ll just say that it most definitely will not be my last. The amount of suspense and dark events that take place throughout this book was wonderfully written and interwoven.
Dane Kirby use to be the Sheriff and use to be the fire chief where Bull Mountain resides. Nowadays he does more paper pushing than anything else at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. It’s also been 10 years since his wife and daughter perished in a tragic accident, he still blames himself for. Grief stricken, Kirby has never been able to fully recover from the events that unfolded afterwards.
When the new Sheriff Darby Ellis, calls Kirby up to a murder in the mountains, Kirby is faced with one aspect of his past that has gone undealt with. In conjunction, Kirby is also called to investigate a death in Florida with the FBI. The Florida death has all the signs of being tied to Hard Cash Valley, which lucky for Kirby is right where his tragic started.
Kirby’s character is so extremely well written. He may be haunted from him past, but he is also a fair and honest man. The rest of the cast of characters have just as but substance behind their creations as well, which really made the book pull you in and not let go.
This is a true ‘Grit Lit’ type book. We are in the heart of the mountains in Georgia where outlaws are the law. Panovich does a fabulous job with his depictions of the area, which considering he’s a native Georgian makes sense. The atmosphere and the story line that goes into this story while dark has moments of pure human emotion. There is some violence in the book but I felt that it added to the story instead of just being there to be there. It tied in well with the plot line and had me feeling like anything could happen.
I have already recommended this book to my dad, who I think will love this story. But it would also be a great read for anyone who loves a good crime novel mixed in with a little bit of Westerns and Southern fiction.
This book comes out May 5th! If you think you’d like to read this book, get your copy HERE!
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on Hard Cash Valley. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof_books. Huge thank you to Minotaur for my advanced copy
About the Author
Brian Panowich is a Georgia based author who has topped the best thriller list on Apple iBooks, placed in the top twenty best books on Amazon, went on to win the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel, as well as the Southern Book Prize for Best Mystery. He has also been nominated for the Barry Award, the Anthony Award, The Georgia Townsend Book Prize, and was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. His first novel, Bull Mountain was also selected for the coveted ‘Books all Georgians Should Read’ list by the Georgia Center of the Book, and has been the recipient of several foreign press awards. Brian’s latest novel, Like Lions was released in April 2019.
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