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New York Times-bestselling author Steve Thayer introduces Deputy Pennington of the Kickapoo Falls, Wisconsin, Sheriff's Department, in a gripping story of sex, politics, and betrayal-where the lust for power leads one man through the explosive secrets of a small town.
Maggie and Michael Butler are found naked and very dead in a Wisconsin wheat field, murdered by two vicious shotgun blasts. No one ever gets murdered in Kickapoo Falls, and it is up to Deputy Pennington, the trusted number-two man in the Sheriff's Department, to find the killer. Pennington had loved Maggie from afar ever since high school, but he has a hard time holding on to his fantasy when he discovers what the real Maggie was mixed up in. The town's ruling elite close ranks as Pennington zeros in on the truth. He is convinced the answer lies back in the wheat field, and in a missing reel of movie film that will shut the door on the murder investigation but open another into a far-reaching assassination plot set for election night. Steve Thayer saves the best for last, standing the plot on its head with a twist that readers will never see coming-and will never forget.
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Penzler Pick, February 2002: A book from Steve Thayer is always worth the wait. He has set three of them--The Weatherman, Saint Mudd, and Silent Snow--in the Minneapolis area and has repeated several of his characters. But in The Wheat Field he introduces a new cast of characters and moves the action to Kickapoo Falls, Wisconsin.
The narrator is Deputy Pennington, who takes us back to the year 1960 and the wheat field murders. Pennington has been in love with Maggie since they were in school together, but Maggie fell in love with Michael Butler and married him, so it is a shock to everyone when Michael and Maggie are found together, shot to death in that wheat field. At first glance it would appear to be a murder-suicide. Michael has been shot between the legs and Maggie's face has been shot off. The murder weapon is lying next to Maggie's outstretched hand, and the wheat around the bodies has been pressed down in a perfect circle with no shoe or car marks going in or out of that circle.
But there are some odd things about the murder scene, even apart from that perfect circle of wheat. Neither Michael nor Maggie is wearing clothes, yet there are no clothes on the ground. The only clue is the butt of a Lucky Strike lying near the bodies and three perfect holes in the flattened wheat. In addition, Maggie is wearing her wedding ring but not the class ring she always wore.
Except for the farmer who finds the body on his land, Deputy Pennington is the first to arrive on the scene. Is this, he wonders, sexual, and did somebody stand by and watch? Soon Sheriff Fats and Trooper Russ Hoffmeyer join him. Hoffmeyer soon admits to Pennington that he was once invited to join Michael and Maggie in a threesome--which he did, the whole episode being filmed. Pennington admits to some jealousy that he was never invited, and it isn't long, of course, before he becomes the major suspect in the double homicide and is arrested.
In the background of the story is the 1960 presidential campaign (most of the good folks of Kickapoo Falls are solidly behind Richard Nixon, though Deputy Pennington, before his arrest, has the rare chance for a short conversation with John F. Kennedy when he comes through town). Before the end of the story we will have learned a good deal about Wisconsin politics and the private sexual quirks of many of its fine, upstanding citizens.
Steve Thayer has produced here another tour de force of suspenseful and shocking storytelling that puts him in the first rank of today's crime novelists. --Otto PenzlerAbout the Author:
Steve Thayer is the author of five novels, including The Weatherman and Silent Snow.
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Book Description Infinity Publishing, 2008. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0741450313
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