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The Killing Hills by Chris Offutt

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This book is the first in a series that revolves around the protagonist, Mick Hardin. As this novel begins, he is in the Army, but on leave back home in Eastern Kentucky, and his wife is fixing to have a baby, but their relationship is becoming difficult. His sister, the new sheriff, convinces him to help her investigate a murder. The Killing Hills made Deep South magazine’s Summer Reading List for 2021, and positive mention in the United Kingdom as well. “Few writers today can boast of a body of work as wide-ranging and virtuosic as Offutt’s. His novels and short stories bend genres and upend expectations . . . In all of his work, Offutt combines literary artistry with narrative momentum. The Killing Hills is no exception: A taut, gripping thriller, it also draws us deep into the lives of its troubled characters with wit, compassion, and insight . . . The same knack for propulsion, characterization, and snappy dialogue that made Chris Offutt a natural for Hollywood are on ample display in The Killing Hills. The sentences and chapters are crisp and crackling, the mood and tone dark and ominous but not devoid of humor. Put simply, the man knows how to keep the pages turning . . . The result is a novel that, like fine Kentucky bourbon, goes down easy and leaves a long, lingering burn.” —Ed Tarkington. “Quite aside from being one of our finest storytellers, in his first crime novel Chris Offutt reminds us as always of how much we’ve pushed away from us—the natural world, kindness, community—and that the time will come when we reach again and it’s no longer there for the asking.” —James Sallis. “Acclaimed Kentucky writer Offutt [delivers] another fine example of what might be called holler noir . . . In place of plot convolutions, Offutt offers those of Appalachian folkways. The result is a fast-paced, satisfying read. Rural crime fiction that kicks like a mule.” —Kirkus Reviews. This is Offutt’s third novel to go with two short story collections and three memoirs as well as screen writing credits for Weeds, True Blood, and Terme. Offutt teaches at the University of Mississippi.

New York, Grove Press, a 2022 paperback reprint of a 2021 release. Trade paperback.