Saturday, December 01, 2007

Pg. 69: J.M. Hayes' "Broken Heartland"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Broken Heartland by J.M. Hayes.

About the book, from the author's website:
Sleepy Benteen County, Kansas turns frantic on election day.

Sheriff English, better known as Englishman, faces his toughest re-election challenge yet. The radical religious right is out to unseat him, their candidate an Iraq war hero. And Englishman’s only available deputy isn’t winning him votes, not after ramming a school bus carrying a local teen choir during a pre-dawn chase.The occupants of the vehicle being pursed seem involved with involuntary organ donors and secret surgeries. Englishman’s brother, Mad Dog, a born-again Cheyenne, rushes back from a quest to the Black Hills. Instead of a vision, he had a premonition that the sheriff is in serious danger. Finding his farm vandalized and a cruel political billboard in his front yard, Mad Dog complicates the sheriff’s life by investigating the hate crime himself. The sheriff’s daughters, attending separate colleges, wake with similar premonitions, then cut classes and hurry home to keep their father safe. The sheriff sees them as the ones in need of protection as his day grows progressively wilder. A student smuggles a gun into the school and begins shooting and taking hostages. Then there’s the private army that’s seized a nearby farm and holds citizens against their will. And, when he finds some spare time, Englishman needs to clear up one little thing about his deputy’s accident. Benteen County doesn’t have a teen choir.

It’s enough to make a sheriff wonder why he wants to serve another term.
Among the early praise for the novel:
"Nothing but problems for Sheriff English and his hotwired brother... What Hayes (Prairie Gothic, 2003, etc.) lacks in finesse he makes up in winning audacity."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Once again, Hayes crams his mystery with zany characters, nonstop action, and multilevel plotlines..."
--Jo Ann Vicarel, Library Journal

"Readers will find sleepy Benteen County, Kansas, wide awake and action packed in Hayes' new addition to this quirky series. The mixture of action, humor, and politics will keep readers interested as they wonder just how much can be squeezed into 24 hours."
--Barbara Bibel, Booklist

"When you mix a Mad Dog with an Englishman you can expect a zany ... . tale that will elate those fans who appreciate the offbeat in their police procedurals."
--Harriet Klausner
J.M. Hayes is also the author of The Grey Pilgrim (2000), Mad Dog & Englishman (2000), Prairie Gothic (2003), and Plains Crazy (2004).

Learn more about the author and his books at the official website of J.M. Hayes.

The Page 69 Test: Broken Heartland.

--Marshal Zeringue