Blacklin County is slowly losing its way of life. Much of the town of Clearview is shuttered and vacant these days. Even the two stoplights in downtown have been removed due to a lack of traffic. There is a Wal-Mart on the edge of town that is doing well.
Over towards the eastern side of Blacklin County is the small community of Mount Industry. It had been a nice quiet place with orchards and what not that attracted day trippers from all across East Texas and beyond. That was until Lester Hamilton got the bright idea to create a chicken farm. Not anything simple either. A chicken farm with thirty metal buildings, each containing twenty-five thousand chickens in each. The farm brought in lots of chickens, a few jobs, trucks passing through town and a stench that was chocking the area and, according to some, making people sick and killing their own businesses.
That smell, which would have been made worse by his plans to add at least a dozen new buildings to the farm, might have been what got him killed. Lester Hamilton is definitely dead in the waters of Murdock's rock pit as this latest in the series starts. The question is whether it was a horrible accident or murder.
Being the most hated man in the county makes nearly every man, woman and child a suspect. The fact that protests are happening out at the chicken farm, that somebody is shooting arrows into county buildings and cars, and that some other stuff is going on means Sheriff Rhodes has his hands full. At least this time, he does not have to deal with somebody running against him in the upcoming election.
Murder in the Air is the seventeenth book in the cozy style Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery series and another good one. Once again, author Bill Crider puts readers in mind of his special place in East Texas where strange things happen and Sheriff Rhodes always figures everything out in the end. No new ground is turned over in this series which features all the usual characters doing all the usual things. Not that any is expected. Instead, this is comfort reading at its best by one of the legends of the Texas writing community in his signature series.
Murder in the Air: A Dan Rhodes Mystery
Thomas Dunne Books (Minotaur Books)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System. Online they can be found at http://www.plano.gov/Departments/Libraries/Pages/default.aspx which features links to information in a wide range of venues for locals and others.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2010