Review: Butcher Pen Road by Kris Lackey

☆☆➹⁀☆ 3 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

On Oklahoma’s Big Rock Prairie, a deaf boy finds a body in Pennington Creek. Johnston County Deputy Hannah Bond and Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Sergeant Bill Maytubby find a crime scene where nothing seems to fit—from the dead angler’s oversize waders to the kind of fish in his creel. They scour the creekside brush, then hit the road for Texas in a widening search for the killer.

On the Big Rock, a towering bearded man is building a limestone replica of Roman Jerusalem for a Christian passion play. His cronies, who are in league with an interstate fraud ring, want the boy to disappear now.

Flying an ancient rented Cessna, Maytubby takes fire from a suspect he is tailing, while Bond combs river trails for traces of the killer.

While Maytubby and Bond try to protect the deaf boy and his mother from the crime ring, an improbable ally materializes from the prairie oak thickets, wielding a monstrous shotgun.



Guest Reviewer Tom’s Thoughts:

Butcher Pen Road is Kris Lackey’s the third effort chronicling the detective exploits of law enforcement collaborators Lighthorse Police Seargent Bill Maytubby and Johnston County Deputy Hannah Bond.  Author Lackey definitely has a winning formula with these two characters and the friendly yet competitive give and take between the two throughout the story makes this an enjoyable read.  

As the story develops, the reader is treated to a richly detailed description of life in rural Oklahoma, as well as an understanding of the coexistence of the Native American Chickasaw Nation with the rest of the population of Johnston County.  That coexistence extends to Law enforcement due to shared jurisdiction of Johnston County Law enforcement with Maytubby’s Tribal Lighthorse Police Force.  

Lackey’s character development of Maytubby and Bond is natural, funny engaging, and deftly crafted in the dialog between the two.  Our heroes seem to “finish each other’s sentences” when down to serious business yet delight in quick witted one upsmanship while breaking the tension with their humor.

Unfortunately, character development breaks down in the rest of the cast.  Other than the deaf boy who finds the body, not one is developed enough to be memorable.  As a result, I found myself rereading pages to remember one from another.  Plot tension and suspense is also lacking. There is no hook of fear or surprise to entice reading through the story’s zenith.  Despite these shortcomings, I finished the book with no remorse.  Maytubby, Bond, and the and Lackey’s attention to detail in describing rural Oklahoma provided more than enough enjoyment to keep my interest, its just a shame that a disappointing plot made Lackey’s fine efforts fall short.

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