One of the hot terms in the book business these days is the French word, “noir” which translates into English as “black.” I have even seen books described as “Appalachian noir.” Hard Cash Valley has been referred to as “Southern noir,” since it is set in Georgia, albeit the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia, and “rural noir,” and “country noir.” Hard Cash Valley returns to the fictional McFalls County were Panowich’s previous novels, Bull Mountain and Like Lions are set. The book centers on the investigation by Dane Kirby and Roselita Velasquez of the murder of Arnie Blackwell and a search for her younger brother. “Make room for this splendid genre-bender, a crime novel with emotional resonance and a steady flow of fine writing. Plus staggering plot twists, jaw-dropping revelations, and enough suspense to fill two books . . . A first-rate thriller, lavishly decked out in high style.” ― Booklist, starred review. “The suspenseful plot is enhanced by Panowich’s gifts at making even walk-on characters memorable.” ― Publishers Weekly. The author, Brian Panowich, grew up an Army brat in Europe, and, before becoming a full-time writer, he worked as a firefighter in Augusta, Georgia.
New York: Minotaur Books, 2020. 304 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.