It starts out as an interesting little theft case. Branson, Missouri’s new Sheriff Hank Worth is called out to look at stands of trees that have been stripped of their bark, which the property owner had planned to harvest for the booming herbal supplement market. At first, Hank easily balances the demands of the investigation with his fledgling political career. He was appointed several months earlier to the vacant sheriff position, but he needs to win the fast-approaching election in order to keep his job. He thinks the campaign will go well, as long as he’s able to keep secret the fact that a group of undocumented immigrants – hired to cut down the stripped trees – have fled into the forest and he’s deliberately not looking for them.
But then the discovery of a murder victim deep in the Ozark backwoods sets him in the middle of a generations-old feud that explodes into danger not only for him, but also for the immigrants, his deputies, and his family. He must rush to find a murderer before election day, and protect the vulnerable in Branson County, where politicking is hell and trespassing can get you killed.
In Another Man’s Ground, her next novel featuring Sheriff Hank Worth, acclaimed author Claire Booth delivers a taut, witty mystery that will grip readers from the opening pages to the breathless conclusion.
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (July 11, 2017)
Publisher: Minotaur Books (July 11, 2017)
Last year I reviewed The Branson Beauty, the first book in the series and really liked the main character Sheriff Hank Worth and the Branson Missouri setting, and so I was excited to read Another Man's Ground which takes up shortly after the first book left off. (Note: It is possible to read this book without reading the first book as the author provides an update and the basic back story, but I would recommend reading The Branson Beauty first--it's good, you'll enjoy it, and you'll get to know most of the key players and supporting characters.) In this book, Hank goes to investigate a report of tree bark theft (it's slippery elm that was bringing the owner good money as it was sold to be processed as an herbal supplement) but the investigation takes a turn when a body is discovered on the neighboring property, and the body of a child is discovered soon after. As if the investigations aren't complicated enough, Hank is fighting a recent nemesis for his role of Sheriff--although he was appointed to the role, the coming election will determine whether he keeps his job. If Hank doesn't win, it could be difficult for him to stay in Branson where he and his surgeon wife and kids have come back to live with his recently widowed father-in-law.
Hank is a great character--he is steady, an overall good guy with a great sense of humor, a talented lawman and good boss, husband and father. I like that the two main women in his life, his wife Maggie and his Deputy Sheila are strong women. The supporting characters, especially Hank's team are well-written--even though we don't get to spend much time with many of them. Claire Booth does a good job with writing the cases and the investigations--they seem real and there are enough twists to keep it interesting. I never quite have everything figured out, which I value in a mystery. Although there is a lot going on in the book between the police work for the different cases and Hank's foray into the political arena, it never feels like too much and the pacing is good, especially as the action and tension ramp up to the conclusion. If you like good mysteries, police procedurals, and small town settings, this is a series you will enjoy. I look forward to the third book.
Author Notes: Claire Booth spent more than a decade as a daily newspaper reporter, much of it covering crimes so convoluted and strange they seemed more like fiction than reality. Eventually, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series takes place in Branson, Missouri, where small-town Ozark politics and big-city country music tourism clash in, yes, strange and convoluted ways.
For more about Claire, her books, and some of the true crimes she’s covered, please visit www.clairebooth.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
There is not a focus on food in these books, but there is food to be found--examples include: mentions of sassafras and ginseng, coffee, lasagna, green beans and vegetables, tri-tip steak, granola bars, a luncheon with dry chicken and limp salad, iced tea, soda, a peanut butter sandwich, a Ruben sandwich, bacon, cereal, biscuits and gravy, homemade raisin bread, tossed salad, ham and cheese sandwich, chocolate chip cookies and grape soda, pork chops, cookies, carnitas, chile verde, beef jerky, a Sonic burger, candy bar wrappers, a Snickers bar, iced raspberry Danish, protein bars, and lemonade.
For my review of the first book, The Branson Beauty, I made a vegan version of the Pecan Delight candies that Hank loves. I was going to go another direction for this book but I kept coming back to those candies and thinking about how I could do something different with the ingredients. I thought about a milkshake or ice cream but then I thought about a Pecan Delight Ice Cream Pie.
When I was growing up, I used to melt ice cream and stir in sprinkles and put it in a pie plate--calling it ice cream pie. This is a few steps up from that with a Pecan Sandie cookie shortbread crust, chocolate ice cream, caramel, toasted pecans and chocolate drizzle. Rather than make a large pie, I made 4 small pies in my mini tart pans.
Pecan Delight Ice Cream Pie
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 4 Individual Tarts or 1 9-inch Pie)
1 1/2 cups of Pecan Sandies cookie crumbs (about 14 cookies)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 pinch salt
6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
Filling & Garnish:
1 cup pecan halves, toasted and separated for filling & garnish
5 cups chocolate ice cream, softened enough to be stir-able
1/3 cup caramel ice cream sauce + extra for garnish
1 cup whipped cream
chocolate sauce or melted chocolate to drizzle
To Make Crust: In a small bowl, mix together Pecan Sandies crumbs, sugar and salt and add the melted butter. Stir to combine well. Press mixture evenly into (lightly greased) pie tin or mini tart tins--making sure the bottom and sides are covered with a thin layer of the cookie mixture and chill for 1 hour before using.
To Make Filling: Reserve about 20 or so of the best-looking pecan halves for garnish and chop the rest. Put the softened ice cream into a medium mixing bowl and stir in the chopped pecans and caramel until well mixed.
To Assemble Pie: Spread the topping evenly on the chilled crust. Freeze pie for 2 to 3 hours before serving. When read to serve, top pie with whipped cream and reserved pecans and drizzle with the caramel sauce and chocolate sauce or melted chocolate if desired. Enjoy!
Notes/Results: I am not going to claim that this is the prettiest pie, but it is decadent and delicious between the Pecan Sandies in crust, the caramel topping, chocolate ice cream, pecans and chocolate drizzle. I should have been a bit more patient with my crusts and pressed them down so that they were thinner--so I could have fit more ice cream in them, but overall, I am pretty happy with the flavors in this and how it turned out. They are pretty rich--I could only eat half of one but I am happy to keep the rest in the freezer and pull them out when a craving strikes. I would happily make them again--especially the crust which was delectable.
I'm linking this post up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.
Note: A review copy of "Another Man's Ground" was provided to me by the publisher Minotaur Books and TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.