Death on the High Lonesome
In Hayes’s fine sequel to his 2014 debut, Death at the Black Bull, Sheriff Virgil Dalton and the members of his small department in Hayward (a town and county in an unnamed Southwest state) cover a large area and large problems with grit, humor, and sense. First, Deputy Jimmy Tillman is seriously injured when a woman’s body falls from an interstate overpass onto the windshield of the car he’s driving on the road below. The woman, who was badly dehydrated, had been fatally struck by a truck moments before. Next, elderly Velma Thompson calls to report that her husband, Charlie, has disappeared. When Rosita Brand, Virgil’s office manager, goes to the Thompsons’ ranch, she finds Velma dead and Charlie still missing. The return of the Thompsons’ three adult children, all of whom went elsewhere to escape the ranching life, adds some confusing pieces to the puzzle. Virgil’s personal relationships with his staff and the grown daughter he didn’t know he had until recently add depth and humanity to this part-Apache lawman.
Death at The Black Bull
“Move over, Walt Longmire. There’s a new sheriff in town. Virgil Dalton is the kind of character that comes along maybe once a decade—a classic Western hero and so much more. When you’re done with Frank Hayes’ stellar debut, Death at the Black Bull, you’ll smell the sagebrush in the air and have to clean the dust off your boots. An absolute must-read for fans of Craig Johnson and Tony Hillerman.” —Reed Farrel Coleman, Shamus Award–winning author of The Hollow Girl
“This is one of the most impressive debut crime novels I’ve ever read. There’s such depth and humanity in the characters, such tension in the story itself, and the sense of place is as good as it gets. I know I’ll be reading every book in this series!” —Steve Hamilton, Edgar Award–winning author of Let It Burn
“Virgil Dalton takes no prisoners in Hayes’s satisfying debut novel, and fans of Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire will cheer the sheriff’s desire to protect his town. With its strong sense of place, this series launch will also keep fans of Western mysteries enthralled.”—Library Journal
“Hayes’s strong debut introduces a complex and likable lawman…readers will want to see a lot more of Virgil and friends.”—Publishers Weekly
“Hayes is a skillful storyteller and a deft hand at witty dialogue.”—Booklist