Tuesday, April 16, 2013

THE DEVIL'S BONES -- Now Available on Kindle

The Devil's Bones, my first modern-day mystery (set in Indiana), is now available on Kindle.

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SYNOPSIS: When a late-summer drought drains a pond outside of the small town of Dukaine, Indiana, old secrets quickly come to the surface. A small skeleton is revealed in the mud, and everyone in town is convinced the bones belong to Tito Cordova, an eight-year-old boy who disappeared nineteen years earlier. Dukaine is home to the SunRipe plant, a tomato processing plant that relies on migrant workers to work the fields surrounding the town. Tito's mother, Esperanza, was a year-round resident. Both mother and son were just a bad memory, and Tito's disappearance was thought to be best forgotten by most of the town's residents. When the marshal of Dukaine is lured to the pond and shot, the investigation falls to deputy Jordan McManus. Racing against time, and under the threat of his own arrest as a suspect in the shooting, Jordan must dig deep into the past, and face the possibility that Tito Cordova might still be alive. Has Tito come back to Dukaine to exact bloody revenge? Or is there a different murderer on the loose, using the past as a cover for crimes in the present? After another murder occurs, Jordan McManus finds himself squarely in the crosshairs of the law and a cold-blooded killer. Even if Jordan survives, nothing in Dukaine will ever be the same.


Review by Matthew P. Mayo -- June 18, 2012:

Readers familiar with Larry D. Sweazy's (much deserved) award-winning Western novels and short stories will find THE DEVIL'S BONES, his new mystery, to be a gripping read sure to top a number of this year's "Best of" lists. THE DEVIL'S BONES is packed with Sweazy's masterful storyteller's voice, his thoughtful pacing and description, and the complex emotional power his readers have come to know and expect from his writing. And Sweazy isn't afraid to tackle themes that make lesser writers wince. At times reminiscent of such masters of crime writing as Loren D. Estleman, Elmore Leonard, and Joe R. Lansdale, but in wholly his own voice, Larry D. Sweazy is carving a bold spot for himself in the mystery world. Here's hoping the tight, no punches pulled, no emotions spared writing in THE DEVIL'S BONES marks the first of many such works from this emerging master.

Review by Ken Pelham -- April 08, 2012:

The Devil's Bones, by Larry D. Sweazy, Five Star Publishing, 2012. Mystery. When the skeleton of a child turns up in a dried-up pond on the outskirts of a small Indiana town, policeman Jordan McManus’s life spins suddenly out of control, as sordid events of the past bubble to the surface. The town’s dark side—its treatment of Mexican farm workers, and its hidden meth labs—fuels the narrative with moral anger and a clear-eyed view of depravity. If John Steinbeck had collaborated with John D. MacDonald, this is the novel they might have written. Alternating scenes between present and past, Sweazy deftly weaves a story that gets to the heart of good and evil, and keeps you guessing to the end as to the secrets and motivations of those on either side of that thin line. Well-written and tightly plotted, The Devil’s Bones delivers the goods like a .38 slug to the gut.

Bookgasm.com -- March 19, 2012 -- by Bruce Grossman:

Taking a respite from the Western genre, author Larry D. Sweazy stretches his talents in THE DEVIL'S BONES, a modern thriller. It has only slight touches of a modern Western, in the sense that it takes place in a Midwestern small town where dark secrets have been hidden for years. And they are about to rear their ugly head, due to a summer drought. It all starts when local deputy Jordan McManus is called upon by his boss to meet him at a pond where he's made a grisly discovery: the skeleton of a small child. The bones could belong to the one case the marshal has never shaken: the disappearance of a young Mexican boy named Tito Cordova. In his possession, the marshal has a letter pointing him to the location, as well as a small medal the boy used to own. Things turn ugly quickly when shots are fired at both men. Could this have been a set-up all along, to finally close the case? When the marshal takes a bullet and bleeds all over Jordan, all eyes look squarely at the deputy as the culprit, leaving it up to him to unravel the truth. Sweazy has created a small town filled with enough problems and secrets to make Elmore Leonard proud. But all the while, he tells the story in his own pace and style, especially when we discover the bones don’t belong to Tito. As we see through flashbacks, the child was dropped off at a orphanage in Mexico, but the “who” and “why” remain a mystery. We follow Tito’s growth from young boy to man while concurrently getting glimpses into Jordan’s own upbringing. It’s during these moments we find out how other characters are tied closely to both storylines, especially as we see Jordan dealing with family issues he has been avoiding most of his life: a brother who became crippled in a childhood accident, the loss of his mother, and the return of his father after years of abandonment. Jordan is no angel. He understands that, but he sure isn’t going to let anyone make the same mistakes. Sweazy peppers THE DEVIL’S BONES with characters and situations that easily could take place in the backwoods of America. The novel illustrates without a doubt that when Sweazy wants to, he can go toe-to-toe with any modern thriller writer.

NUVO.net -- February 17, 2012 -- by Rita Kohn:

Sweazy's multi-layered thriller plunks you square into the fictional central Indiana town of Dukaine, population 3,000 except when tomato harvest brings in 4,000 migrant workers "straining the demand on every service...especially the police department." Weaving the story through flashbacks and the present, a dozen interlaced characters traverse events and relationships between 1985 and 2004 and between Mexico and Carlyle County, Indiana. The Devil's Bones starts with an abduction and ends with a disappearance. In between, it's a jumble of intrigue, political ambition, cultural hatred, murder, arson, drugs running and revenge. As with his award-winning Josiah Wolfe Texas Rangers series, Sweazy delivers dimensional characters whose good parts and flaws are genuine, and spirals events so we're only one step behind police officer Jordan McManus as he tries to extricate himself from a past that threatens his present. In the tradition of Agatha Christie, Sweazy leads us down several paths to establish motives, and supplies us with hair-raising incidents on the way to solving who and why.

Review by Bill Crider:

Larry Sweazy's an award-winning western writer, and now he's stepping into the modern era with this crime novel about Jordan McManus, a deputy marshal in a small Indiana town. His superior has been murdered just as he was about to investigate the discovery of a skeleton in a pond. The skeleton's been revealed by a severe drought, and the suspicion is that it's that of a young boy who disappeared years earlier. But that's not true. The boy is alive, and he becomes a second important character in the story as McManus tries to solve the crime. McManus has plenty of issues of his own, and he has to deal with them as well as the murder. After a second murder, things race to the climax. The Devil's Bones is a tightly written thriller that gets the job done. I'd been planning to write a Sheriff Rhodes book based on the Texas drought, but I don't think I will. Sweazy's done such a good job with the small town and the characters here that I couldn't add a thing.