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June 27, 2020

Hard Cash Valley by Brian Panowich ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts


"Arnie was barely aware of the question. All he knew was that everything he'd done was in vain.  The whole year.  All the practice.  The escape route to the airport. Mailing himself a gun.  It was all for nothing.  Iit always was. This was never going to end up any other way than this.  Just like everything else he'd done in his whole miserable life.  He should've known better." (p17)
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Hard Cash Valley by Brian Panowich
May 2020; Minotaur Books; 978-1250206923
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); mystery
Hard Cash Valley
 is my first book by this author and it won't be the last. It's referred to as Southern noir (a new term for me) but what I know is that it's a brutal, page turning novel with a main character who is decent and kind and caring about his friends and a character that I won't soon forget.

Dane Kirby is a good guy but he is also a broken man who has lived in the area all of his life.  First, he worked as an arson investigator, and then he started working for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He knows everyone in the area and is well - liked.  As he is working on a case with the local sheriff, he gets a call from his boss telling him that he's needed in Florida to work with the FBI on a brutal murder. He's not sure why he was asked to help but when the investigation brings him and his new FBI partner back to the criminal circles of his home in Georgia, he begins to understand.  

As he and his partner investigate  the brutal murder and put the clues together they discover that they need to find a 12 year old boy with Asbergers whose life is in danger.  Several people are looking for him and they plan to kill him. That search brings him back to his home county where he is helped by old friends at the same time that old enemies would like to take him out of the search.

There is a lot of violence and a lot of spilled blood in this book. In some cases, that would make this a book that I didn't finish.  The reason that this book was different was because of the character of Dane Kirby.  He had survived so much tragedy in his life yet was still an honest and upstanding man who wanted the best for people and faced extreme danger to do the right things.  Even though this was a dark and gritty book, Dane made it a book that was very human. I was rooting for him and I have to admit that I shed some tears at the end of the book and I usually don't cry during a violent book.

Hard Cash Valley is a gritty dark novel with a very human aspect.  I plan to read the first two books in the series as I anxiously await more book from this author.

Note:  This is book 3 in the Bull Mountain series.  I wasn't aware it was part of a series and it wasn't confusing and can be read as a standalone.

Buy Hard Cash Valley at Amazon

About the Author

Brian Panowich is an award winning author, a Georgia firefighter, and a father to four incredible children. His first novel, Bull Mountain, was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, ITW Thriller Award winner for Best First Novel, Southern Book Prize winner, and a finalist for both the Anthony and the Barry Awards. He lives in Georgia with his family.

Other books in the Bull Mountain series

Bull Mountain (Book 1)
Like Lions (Book 2)

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Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter

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