Sometimes a line in a story or book resonates deep inside the reader. This one did.
“’Davis, I’ll tell you something. They ain’t nothin’ worse than missing a woman.’” (Page 146)
Former Charleston Police Officer Davis Reed is missing a woman and much of his life due to pills, alcohol, anger and anxiety issues. He has fled home for a change of scenery and an attempt to focus himself. For the next six months, he is living in a cabin in Cruso, North Carolina, with the intention of writing a book. The book is to be on the true story of the B-25 plane crash at nearby Cold Mountain. There were no survivors in the crash just after WWII. The fact that he has no experience writing, beyond police reports and whatever he did for his private detective gigs, does not deter him from the book writing plan.
The ongoing and routine day and night drinking as he makes various beers in the basement and his significant pill addiction deter the wring process. As does his bad leg and the pain in it and general goofing off. Davis Reed is not a writer. He is drifting through the days haunted by his past and one fateful night when his world changed.
He is also somebody who cannot stop obsessing when he sees something odd. Finding a ring full of keys is the trigger for an all new and escalating obsession. Finding the keys where he did was odd enough. What keeps happening with the keys is even odder. Those keys are the first in a long line of dominoes that eventually lead to a violent confrontation in the mountains of western North Carolina.
A highly atmospheric and massively complicated read, Graveyard Fields by Steven Tingle unfolds at a steady and escalating pace. Filled with occasional wisecrack, more references to the heavy metal music of the eighties than you can shake a stick at, and a cast of eccentric characters, the book is a complicated and fun mystery read. It is also one of those novels where characters are cussing constantly and that will annoy some readers. So too will be all the constant discussion and thoughts regarding home brewing of beer. Neither was an issue for this reader.
I put this on my library list to read because of Lesa Holstine’s review months ago. The wait for this debut mystery was well worth it. I enjoyed it a lot and you might too.
Graveyard Fields: A Novel
Crooked Lane Books
Hardback (also currently available in audio and eBook formats)
My reading copy came from the Lakewood Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2021