In the vein of Elmore Leonard’s Justified, C. Hoyt Caldwell introduces a thriller series set in the dark side of the Appalachian mountains—featuring a heroine who’s playing both sides of the law.
Deputy Dani Savage would like nothing better than to shoot the wife beaters, carjackers, drug dealers, and all the rest of the low-life good ol’ boys that make policing Baptist Flats, Tennessee, near impossible. Instead, she grits her teeth and serves the God-fearing townsfolk without complaint. The “little deputy,” as she’s known, is often overlooked and ridiculed for being a small-statured woman in a big man’s world. But while investigating a cold case involving a missing teen, Dani stumbles onto some disturbing facts that cannot be ignored.
Soon Dani realizes that this case goes back decades. There’s a history of young women being stolen from the Tennessee hills, and a legacy of corrupt cops looking the other way. Dani’s investigation leads her to the “closeout kings,” a pair of hired killers with a tale to tell—a tale of a missing girl and a crime worse than murder. Somehow these two deranged hit men are Dani’s last, best allies. They know that it’s time for payback—and in the backwoods, justice takes only one form.
I have to admit that I wasn't that impressed in the beginning. I just didn't think so much about the story and hoped it would get better. I was not especially impressed by Step and Kenny the closeout kings and thought the story just didn't seem to be my cup of tea. Then, it started to get a bit more interesting and then the story blew me away!
Dani, "little deputy" Savage is approached by a woman claiming that her daughter went missing a couple of years ago and that the police in her County is doing nothing to find her. The situation gets even more mysterious when Dani calls the County's sheriff department and they say that the girl got run over by a train. However, there are things that just don't add up and when Dani and her uncle Otis who is the Sheriff visit the woman do they learn that that something is terribly wrong. And, it's here that I really got hooked. Here, the story becomes both engrossing and deeply unsettling. Dani and Otis learn that more women have gone missing. And, it seems that no one does anything to find them.
Luckily Step and Kenny adds a bit of humor to the story. I mean conversations about butt sex for instance? And, of course, Dani crosses paths with Step and Kenny and soon they are working together to solve the case with the missing women. And, it's a bit of an uneasy partnership, they are hitmen and she is a deputy. And, it doesn't help that Kenny has a crush on Dani.
Savage Reckoning took me by surprise. I did not think that I would enjoy the book as much as I did. But, I found myself quite taken with both the story and the characters. Dani is a fantastic character and I love her colorful past and I especially hope to read more books with her (and several of the other characters in this book), The book is great, action-filled, amusing, mysterious and heartbreaking.
C. Hoyt Caldwell is the author of Bad Way Out. Simultaneously proud of and puzzled by his Southern roots, he isn’t smart enough to be subtle so his work tends to be tasteless and gritty. He’s not out to offend anyone, but he’s also not out to win anyone over, either. His stories are full of sex, violence, humor, and heart.