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The snow has melted in Wild Thyme, Pennsylvania, but for Officer Henry Farrell, summer has brought nothing but trouble. Heroin has arrived with a surge in burglaries and other crime. When local carpenter Kevin O’Keeffe admits he’s shot a man and that his girlfriend, Penny, is missing, the search leads Farrell to an industrial vice district across state lines that has already ensnared more than one of his neighbors.
Fateful Mornings delivers a thrilling mystery set on the edge of rust-belt America, a place disrupted by gas drilling and the drug trade yet rich with history, music—and long-buried secrets. Fans of James Lee Burke and Daniel Woodrell will love Henry Farrell, a cop with the patience of a hunter, who knows the land and local people and hides his own painful secrets.
Praise for Fateful Mornings
“My father always said that you can judge people by the way they keep their tools: clean and sharp or soiled and soft. Tom Bouman’s tools—the words he uses to make Fateful Mornings—cut straight and true, in this riveting mystery about a good man caught in the ruined Eden of rural America.”—Julia Keller, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Sorrow Road
“You would be hard-pressed to find a finer new series than Tom Bouman’s Henry Farrell novels because of the complexity of the plots or the richness of the characters, but what it really comes down to is just damn good writing.”—Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire novels, the basis for the Netflix series Longmire
“… An uncommonly intelligent whodunit, haunted by the presence of an unforgettable villain who slinks through the pages with the lubricious evil of Cape Fear’s Max Cady. With meditations on folk-music, ornithology, and the art of timber-framing, Fateful Mornings is the kind of novel that feels more like a porch-sitting conversation with an old friend. Tom Bouman is my new favorite mystery writer.”–Nickolas Butler, internationally best-selling author of Shotgun Lovesongs, Beneath the Bonfire, and The Hearts of Men
“Bouman’s tender portrait of a widower remaking his life infuses his crime fiction with a level of intimacy that is both rare and winning. I was happy to ride shotgun with Henry Farrell again.”–Attica Locke, author of Pleasantville, The Cutting Season, and Black Water Rising
“In Fateful Mornings, local cop Henry Farrell casts an eye both dry and weary. What he sees is a people no less troubled than their rust-belt landscape. There are drug addicts and drug dealers, drunks and grifters, but most simply drift, as Farrell says “in a permanent state of befuddlement.” And yet, in the Wild Thyme of Edgar winner, Tom Bouman’s imagining, vice and virtue seem locked in an epic bar brawl of astonishingly high stakes, where the losers keep their money and the winners keep their souls.”–Thomas H. Cook, Edgar Award-winning author of The Chatham School Affair
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Winner of the 2015 Edgar Award, Best First Novel by An American Author
Winner of the 2015 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the Mystery/Thriller Category
When an elderly recluse discovers a corpse on his land, Officer Henry Farrell follows the investigation to strange places in the countryside, and into the depths of his own frayed soul.
In Wild Thyme, Pennsylvania, secrets and feuds go back generations. The lone policeman in a small township on the sparse northern border, Henry Farrell expected to spend his mornings hunting and fishing, his evenings playing old-time music. Instead, he has watched the steady encroachment of gas drilling bring new wealth and erode neighborly trust. The drug trade is pushing heroin into the territory. There are outlaws cooking meth in the woods, guys Henry grew up with. When a stranger shows up dead, Henry’s search for the killer will open old wounds, dredge up ancient crimes, and exact a deadly price.
With vivid characters and terrific pacing, Bouman immerses readers in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region in the grip of change. In these derelict woods full of whitetail deer and history, the hunt is on.
Praise for Dry Bones in the Valley
“[A] beautifully written first novel.”–Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
“An exciting and disturbing debut … Bouman brings his world to life with texture that gives every room and vehicle and person a history and character, keeping us immersed in this mesmerizing and often terrifying story.”-–Washington Post
“Grit-lit meets wry suspense … a keen rendering of place and politics.”–New York Magazine
“In the grisly literary tradition of Leonard and Lehane.”–O, the Oprah Magazine
“Lean and spare rural noir from an excellent new voice that might be edging himself towards James Lee Burke and John Hart territory, in terms of beautifully written crime fiction.”–New Zealand Listener
“A really fine novel … the plot unfolds just right, beckoning with its authenticity and maintaining a flow that stays true to the characters and the narrator’s sense of how things are.”–Bookpage
“Bouman’s entry into “rural noir” … distinguishes itself by incorporating the style’s literary elements—thick atmosphere, regional rootedness, social scope—into an actual fast-paced mystery series.”–Vulture.com
“Bouman’s debut shows rural noir at its finest: a poetically written mystery.”–Kirkus (Starred Review)
“With slow-paced, deliberate storycraft and evocative writing, this is 288 pages of excellence.”–Library Journal
“Outstanding … an evocative look at a changing landscape.”–Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“A strong debut for readers who like their woods dark and deep.”–Booklist
“Tom Bouman has hit pay dirt with Dry Bones in the Valley, his carefully paced and skillfully plotted novel centered around Henry Farrell, truly one of the most likable and dedicated law officers in the history of crime fiction. I loved every word of it.”–Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All The Time
“There’s a super-conscientious new cop in town, or at least in the rough-and-tumble Pennsylvania backwoods where breakthrough author Tom Bouman sets this freshly told tale of bad guys with possibly some good in them and a mystery woven into past generations. Deeply rooted Officer Henry Farrell is a welcome arrival on the crime scene, and Dry Bones in the Valley is a standout debut with an authenticity of place and character rare in any form of literature.”–Ivan Doig, author of The Whistling Season
“Raymond Chandler said that Hammett took murder away from the manor houses and gave it back to the people who actually commit it. Tom Bouman continues that tradition. I’ll play fiddle with Officer Henry Farrell of Wild Thyme Township, PA, any day. Bouman’s story is like the fiddle tunes we’d play: deceptively simple, layered with history, bearing within themselves the promise of lightness, of redemption.”
—James Sallis, author of the Lew Griffin series and Drive
“A tough, edgy thriller that asks hard questions about the destruction of our environment, our local communities, and our families. No smoke is being blown here: readers of smart literary thrillers are going to love this novel. All that to say this: I wish like hell that my name were on the cover of Dry Bones in the Valley.”
—Wiley Cash, bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home
“So smooth it’s as if it was written on spring water. Shadowy, swift, impossible to put down. I was enraptured. Any justice and this writer will soon be a major star.”–Joe R. Lansdale, author of The Thicket
“It’s a mystery, yes, but it’s also a love story between a man and the land and people he knows like the back of his hand. Dry Bones in the Valley is a gorgeous, lived-in novel, and Bouman’s turns of phrase are chest-clutching in their beauty.”–Hannah Pittard, author of The Fates Will Find Their Way and Reunion
“Officer Henry Farrell is a shy man, but in his own ways just as ornery and tough as the cast of rugged characters who inhabit his Pennsylvania woods, where the mysteries are as old as love and grief. A rural cop with a keen intelligence and a wounded heart, Henry’s the right man to unearth the secrets of Dry Bones in the Valley. Tom Bouman’s debut novel is one you won’t want to miss.”–Ed Falco, author of The Family Corleone
“Tom Bouman is a remarkable new voice in contemporary fiction. Dry Bones in the Valley is a tightly crafted piece of rural noir that seems pulled from the earth itself, a profound look at the dark corners of rural America. Readers of Daniel Woodrell and Donald Ray Pollock will find much to love.”
—Steve Weddle, author of Country Hardball