Harkness isn’t your typical Western sheriff. Cowboy boots make his arches ache, he’s phobic of horses, but he does have a horse of sorts – a `39 Chevy pickup he calls Hoopie, and a sidekick – a neurotic wiener dog named Addison.
Harkness is a man of his times, shaped for both good and bad by his experiences in WWII. He deals with issues like bigotry and sexual suppression in a believable manner. We come to know him as a good man, but never a self-righteous one. The pursuit of justice is his job, and he’s good at it, but he never loses sight of where his next woman, or his next drink, is coming from. Harkness is the keeper of secrets in his little town and to solve the crime, he must decide which secrets to expose. One secret involves Judge Barnes, the county’s most powerful man. But Harkness had a secret of his own: he’s in love with the Judge’s wife. How much is Harkness willing to risk to catch a murderer?
Set on the Oregon High Desert in 1952, life in the small town of Barnesville has been easy-going for Matthew until a star-crossed teen-age couple disappears and he’s forced to deal with some horrific murders, one of which strikes very close to home, before finally confronting the killer man-to-man on the High Desert.
Praise for Harkness by Michael Bigham
“If you like western mysteries and conflicted heroes, you should give Harkness a try.” –The Book Connection
“Bigham has done an excellent job with his debut release. He has created a protagonist in Matt Harkness readers will want to visit with again and again.” –Thoughts in Progress
“Definitely a great series for those who love cowboys and the 50′s. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and couldn’t put it down until the killer was nabbed!” –Community Bookstop
“Overall readers who enjoy a fast paced story with more than a few plot twists set during a simpler time and place with down to earth characters that lend the story a sense of authenticity will certainly enjoy ‘Harkness.’ I only hope the author plans on continuing the adventures of Harkness!” –WV Stitcher
“A suspenseful, fun read…I do love a great mystery and this debut novel shouts ‘series’. I recommend it highly.” –CelticLady’s Reviews
“I rarely would give a debut novel a 5 star, but this one earned it fully. I look forward to reading more by this author and hope that this is just the first Harkness Mystery novel.” –Library at the End of the Universe
Guest post blurbs
Jahar Tsarnaev, a popular, seemingly carefree, dope-smoking college student at the University of Massachusetts held a dark secret. He and his older brother planned and executed the Boston Marathon bombings. Not even Jahar’s roommate had a hint that his friend had committed the crime. “I have had almost two weeks to think about it, and it makes no more sense than the day I found out it was him,“ Jason Rowe said in a New York Times interview. “Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.”
We all have secrets. They intrigue us, confound us and as in the case of Jahar they shock us. Secrets drive mystery fiction. Hannibal Lector has a secret passion for human flesh. Hercule Poirot is famous for pulling his mystery suspects together and revealing their secrets one by one until he reveals the biggest secret of all: who is the murderer. When you write your mystery, create secrets. Have your characters guard them closely. They add tension and suspense to your tale.
Read the full post at Murder by 4.
Located smack in the middle of Oregon, Prineville, a small cattle and mill town, is nestled in the Crooked River Valley beneath rimrock plateaus of the Oregon high desert. I grew up there, a small town boy, among cowboys and loggers. During my college years, I fought range fires for the Bureau of Land Management. We bunked in a guard station fifty miles east of nowhere. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Every day, we’d journey up into the pine forests of the Ochoco Mountains or down into the sagebrush and juniper flats of the lowlands. We fought fires on isolated cattle ranches and on farms in lush river valleys.
After college, I spent my working life as a cop. Even then I was a closet writer and, after leaving police work, I decided I wanted write full time. I attended Vermont College and earned an MFA in Creative Writing. When the time came to create my first novel I knew it had to be set on the high desert. With my cop background, the mystery genre was natural.
Read the full post at Marilyn’s Musings.
I must admit I’m a compulsive eavesdropper. I eavesdrop on parents talking to their children at the market, to friends chatting in coffee shops, to couples huddled together in a theater line.
Read the full post at Lori’s Reading Corner.
To succeed as writers, we must master the craft of revision. Not an easy task, as creation and revision require two completely different frames of mind. To create well, we must let our creative self run free and lock our internal editors in a little room, not letting them know what we’re doing. If not, they’ll stifle our process or block us. More than once I’ve rewritten a scene again and again, never being satisfied, never moving on because my internal editor knows I should do it better. So now, I lock her away until my creative self has expressed herself. When I revise, I unlock the door and let my editor out. She hacks and slashes, criticizes my word choice and works to smooth out my narrative.
Read the full post at Acme Authors Link.
Raised in the mill town of Prineville in Central Oregon beneath blue skies and rimrocks, Michael Bigham attended the University of Oregon and during his collegiate summers, fought range fires on the Oregon high desert for the Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter. Harkness is his first novel.