Harry Hunsicker Makes His Mark with ‘The Devil’s Country’ [REVIEW]
March 12, 2017 1 Comment
When a lone drifter steps off the bus in a tiny West Texas town, all he wants is to mind his own business and be left alone. But trouble has a way of sneaking up and finding a man when he least expects it. Suddenly caught in a dangerous web of malice and corruption, will he be able to uncover the town’s terrible secrets and clear his name? Find out in Harry Hunsicker’s new thriller, The Devil’s Country.
Arlo Baines is a former Texas Ranger who has a knack for getting blamed for things he didn’t do. After his wife and children were murdered, he hits the road and starts drifting from town to town, seeking isolation, and a good place to read as he tries to forget his devastating past.
When he lands in the town of Piedra Springs, however, he quickly finds himself in hot water, caught up one quandary after another. He feels obligated to help a girl whose life is a series of bad decisions. A twister heads straight for him as two thugs look to pick a fight. Then a mother appears out of nowhere begging for his help, right before she turns up dead and her children missing, making him the perfect suspect.
With The Devil’s Country, Hunsicker has crafted a thriller that is riveting, complex, and fraught with danger. The tiny town of Piedra Springs is so realistic we can easily see the crumbling Main Street and feel the heat emanating from the sun baked sidewalk, smell the liquor soaked floors of the local tavern and the fresh baked waffles being cooked up at Earl’s. It’s a setting that is both familiar and eerily disturbing, and it helps keep readers on edge as they devour this story in a single sitting.
The book’s hero, Arlo Baines, is easy to like and sympathize with. He’s the kind of guy people want to strike up a conversation with (much to his consternation), has a strong sense of justice (which frequently puts him in precarious positions), and who is both street smart and savvy when it comes to dealing with the law. I could easily see him sharing a beer with other fictional heroes like Walt Longmire and Jack Reacher, if they weren’t all loners. Let’s just hope that like those men, Arlo also returns to share new misadventures in the near future. This is a character we’ll want to revisit time and again.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of reading any of Harry Hunsicker’s thrillers or short stories in the past, this is a great place to start. The Devil’s Country is smart, breathlessly paced, and plumbs the depths of the human psyche. It’s a thriller that could indelibly put Hunsicker’s mark on the genre and will undoubtedly earn him many faithful new readers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harry Hunsicker is the former executive vice-president of the Mystery Writers of America and the author of seven crime thrillers, including The Devil’s Country, The Grid, Shadow Boys, The Contractors, Crosshairs, The Next Time You Die, and Still River. His work has been short-listed for both the Shamus and Thriller Awards.
His story “West of Nowhere,” originally published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, was selected for inclusion in the anthology The Best American Short Stories 2011. His work has also been included in the anthologies Murdaland: Crime Fiction for the 21st Century, Vol. 2, Thriller 2: Stories You Just Can’t Put Down and Dallas Noir.