Monday, January 08, 2018

A Reckoning in the Back Country by Terry Shames

I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of Police Chief Samuel Craddock of Jarrett Creek, Texas. The small town lawman is authentic and believable as he deals with crimes in the small community. In Terry Shames' latest mystery, A Reckoning in the Back Country, Craddock isn't sure what he's dealing with.

It's the police chief who has to handle calls in a small department over the Thanksgiving holidays. One officer is out of town and one is sick, so Craddock responds to the report of a missing man. Dr. Lewis Wilkins hasn't returned home, and his wife didn't expect him to disappear with the adult children arriving for the holiday. It's two young boys who stumble across the body in the woods. To Craddock, it appears that the man was attacked by animals. It's the local vet who said dogs killed him. With reports of missing family pets, and Craddock's discovery of a small pup in the woods, it's natural that accounts of dog fighting swirl around the community. What did Dr. Wilkins get himself into?

Dr. Lewis Wilkins was into more than his wife knew. She knows he lost a malpractice suit and his practice. She doesn't know about his gambling. Craddock uncovers other information about Wilkins' financial dealings. Dog fighting? Gambling? An angry former patient? Wilkins wasn't just one more of the wealthy part-time residents on the lake. Someone wanted him dead.

Shames' latest mystery is realistic, but it has touches of humor. And, Samuel Craddock is as believable as a fictional character can be with his problems with a new woman in his life and his hesitation to take on a puppy. It's those stories, along with the coffee shop and Craddock's neighbors who add humanity to the story of a small town police chief's investigations.

Yes, Shames always deals with issues that are larger than a small town in her books. But, those of us who are fans undoubtedly return for the stories of Samuel Craddock and his neighbors. This time, there may reports of missing dogs, dog fights, and gambling, but there are also stories of a puppy and a little romance. It's all in A Reckoning in the Back Country.

Terry Shames' website is

A Reckoning in the Back Country by Terry Shames. Seventh Street Books. 2018. ISBN 9781633883673 (paperback), 272p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


SandyG265 said...

I’m never going to catch up on my TBR pile if you donut stop introducing me to new series that sound interesting. I already have 30 holds at the library.

Lesa said...

Oh, Sandy! But, this is a wonderful series, and you have some catching up to do just on this series alone!

Kay said...

I have got to start this series. Think I make this a mystery group read for later in the year. Have to check and see how many copies of her books the library has. Our group is big enough that the number of copies plays a part in my selections - sometimes I have to go with author months or theme months. However, I myself, will pick up the first book and read it soon.

Lesa said...

Kay! You do need to get started with this series. And, I don't usually recommend people start outside of the first book, but last year's book, An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock, was a prequel, and introduced a young Craddock. Now, it's an excellent intro with good discussion topics, but it's also a young Craddock & the other books feature a retired one. Up to you!

Angela said...

Thanks for the book recommendation. I've been trying to branch out lately with my reading choices. Mystery novels are a genre I haven't explored before, so I've added that to my list of genres to try this year.

Grace Koshida said...

Lesa, this is another reminder for me to catch up with this excellent series.

I have to read AN UNSETTLING CRIME FOR SAMUEL BRADDOCK first, especially since several of you recommended it. I want to get caught up in 2018...I'm being optimistic that I can do so since I have 11.5 months left in the year!

Netteanne said...

This is absolutely one of the best new series' around. Samuel is a very interesting man as well as sheriff. And I always enjoy the arrival of Loretta with some kind of home made goody. If you have not read any - start now.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Angela. Stick around, come back. Or, at least check back on Thursdays when readers talk about what they're reading. You may find some great ideas there.

Grace, I hope you find the chance to pick up An Unsettling Crime...I'm a fan of Craddock's, as I said.

Netteanne, You're right. There are some excellent supporting characters in this series, and it looks like Shames may have just introduced a new one.

Gram said...

I got as far as putting the prequel on my library list. I hope it makes it to the top in the next few months. I hope I live long enough to read all the books on my lists...another 2 or 300 years :-)

Lesa said...

I hope you live 300 years if your health is good, Gram!