I received this book for free from the TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Another Man's Ground by Claire Booth
Series: Sheriff Hank Worth #2
Published by Minotaur Books on July 11, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Country Life, Crime, Family, Law & Crime, Murder, Mystery, Mystery & Detective, Southern
Source: TLC Book Tours
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“This contemporary take on a locked-room puzzle is chilling, compelling and completely entertaining, and Claire Booth is a wonderful new voice in crime fiction.”–Hank Phillippi Ryan on The Branson Beauty
It starts out as an interesting little theft case. Branson, Missouri’s new Sheriff Hank Worth is called out to look at stands of trees that have been stripped of their bark, which the property owner had planned to harvest for the booming herbal supplement market. At first, Hank easily balances the demands of the investigation with his fledging political career. He was appointed several months earlier to the vacant sheriff position, but he needs to win the fast-approaching election in order to keep his job. He thinks the campaign will go well, as long as he’s able to keep secret the fact that a group of undocumented immigrants – hired to cut down the stripped trees – have fled into the forest and he’s deliberately not looking for them.
But then the discovery of a murder victim deep in the Ozark backwoods sets him in the middle of a generations-old feud that explodes into danger not only for him, but also for the immigrants, his deputies, and his family. He must rush to find a murderer before election day, and protect the vulnerable in Branson County, where politicking is hell and trespassing can get you killed.
In Another Man’s Ground, her next novel featuring Sheriff Hank Worth, acclaimed author Claire Booth delivers a taut, witty mystery that will grip readers from the opening pages to the breathless conclusion.
“The second in Booth’s regional crime series … is both an excellent police procedural and a surprisingly humorous look at politics and family feuds.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Booth’s affectionate treatment of the decent and shrewd people of Branson and Worth makes this a series worth following.” – Publishers Weekly
Praise for The Branson Beauty:
“Touches of sly humor add appeal to Booth’s standout debut…Betrayals from within the sheriff’s department and issues left unresolved hint at much more to come in what promises to be a most engaging regional police series.”-Publishers Weekly(starred review)
“Former crime reporter Booth’s debut introduces an engaging cop with wonderful family appeal. A nice discovery for enthusiasts of Joan Hess and Margaret Maron.”-Library Journal
“Former crime reporter Booth imbues her fast-moving narrative, which celebrates its Ozarks setting, with humor and humanity. A promising debut.”-Booklist
I really enjoyed Claire Booth’s debut novel The Branson Beauty, and I’ve been looking out for the follow up ever since. Having solved the murder of the popular, pretty young woman in the previous book, Hank thinks that he should be able to keep being sheriff and live a quiet existence in Branson for a while. But he has to run for the sheriff’s office in order to keep his job since he was appointed to the position, and he has some enemies in both other disgruntled cops and local affluent businessmen that couldn’t buy him off–so it will be anything but easy to run his campaign. And then he has murders to investigate when a local landowner hires undocumented workers to cut down some trees and one of them stumbles into a ravine containing two bodies at the bottom–one very fresh and one decades old.
Hank’s family life has settled down some, with his father-in-law Duncan taking care of the two children while Hank is working leads and his wife is a doctor in the local hospital’s emergency room. Some of the more light-hearted moments occur when Hank comes home to find what Duncan and the kids have been up to in their absence, and grandpa certainly has his own ideas of what the kids and their unruly adopted dog Guapo should get to do while the parents are away. It’s so relatable to my family situation and it made me smile.
Hank’s right-hand woman at work is Sheila Turley, the county’s first African American woman deputy–which doesn’t sit well with some citizens. She’s the best cop that Hank has known in so many ways, and he wouldn’t be nearly as successful in his position without her. Along with a few other trusted cops, Hank knows that he can get to the truth about the murders, but it will take a lot of leg work and some luck as well. There’s a new set of characters–both bad and good–that populate this second installment, and I enjoyed getting to know them. From the not-so-stereotypical backwoods feud between two neighboring families and the disappearance of their medicinal tree bark, to the campaign manager that Hank’s wife hires to make him more appealing and seem like less of an outsider, to the neighbor who seems to have the hots for Duncan, every person who makes an appearance–big or small–makes an impact and leaves an impression that isn’t forgettable. And that’s saying something when the cast does grow as the book moves along toward the end.
Claire Booth does a fantastic job of bringing small town Branson and the surrounding country areas to life, and it makes me simultaneously happy that I don’t live in a rural area any more and miss it just a tiny bit. We got to learn so much more about Hank and his life before coming to Branson since a lot was drug out during the election, and I understand him more now. But he’s essentially the same–he’s loyal, tough, fair, honest, funny, and has a low tolerance for b.s. and backstabbing. And those are fantastic qualities in both a sheriff and a family man.
I give Another Man’s Ground a five out of five. I really enjoyed how all of the stories wove together–from the decades old feud between the rich, influential neighbors to the bad seed family of brothers, to even aspects of his campaign that he’d rather not participate in. Just like in the previous book, I felt right at home immediately with Hank, his family, and his main deputies, and any new characters were distinct and well-drawn. The pacing was perfect, and I really didn’t want to put this down. Claire Booth expanded this fictional world and it still feels cozy and quaint. I’m looking forward to more stories about Hank, his deputies, and his family–and of course more of the unique and quirky citizens of Branson.
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About Claire Booth
Claire Booth spent more than a decade as a daily newspaper reporter, much of it covering crimes so convoluted and strange they seemed more like fiction than reality. Eventually, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series takes place in Branson, Missouri, where small-town Ozark politics and big-city country music tourism clash in, yes, strange and convoluted ways.
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Claire Booth’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for ANOTHER MAN’S GROUND:
Tuesday, July 11th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Tuesday, July 11th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, July 12th: Buried Under Books
Friday, July 14th: Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, July 17th: Jathan & Heather
Monday, July 17th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Tuesday, July 18th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, July 19th: Mama Vicky Says
Thursday, July 20th: Write Read Life
Monday, July 24th: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Wednesday, July 26th: Thoughts from a Highly Caffeinated Mind
Thursday, July 27th: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Monday, July 31st: Reading Reality
Wednesday, August 2nd: Helen’s Book Blog
Friday, August 4th: Steph the Bookworm
Monday, August 7th: Clues and Reviews
Wednesday, August 9th: The Book Diva’s Read