Ain’t Nobody Nobody
Heather Harper Ellett
Genre: Murder Mystery / Southern Noir / Dark Humor
Publisher: Polis Books
Date of Publication: September 24, 2019
Number of Pages: 336
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Named a Best Debut of Fall/Winter 2019 by Library Journal, Ain’t Nobody Nobody is the story of a disgraced East Texas sheriff, his dead best friend’s surly teenage daughter, and a naive ranch hand who find unlikely redemption in a murdered hog hunter on a fence.
Part Breaking Bad and part Faulkner, this tragi-comic mystery is perfect for readers who enjoy dark humor (think Fargo) and like their crime fiction with a literary flare.
A Best Mystery of 2019 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Peopled with a wonderful cast of characters who are endearing while also being incredibly flawed, this story reinforces the truth that nobody is all good or all bad. One of the things that comes across very profoundly is the fact that some people do what they believe they have to do out of a sense of duty and justice, like Randy Mayhill one of the main characters in the story. After the death of his friend, Van, Randy makes a vow to protect Van’s mama, Onie, and his daughter, Birdie, no matter what he has to do to ensure that protection.
Randy is a disgraced former lawman, who lost the sheriff’s job for trying to protect his friend, Van. Randy lives in a small shack on the edge of Birdie’s land, where he is happy being a hermit and sharing space with a collection of dogs.
That is until the dead man.
The mystery in this book revolves primarily around who was the dead man who was found across the fence on Birdie’s land? Why was he there in that area of East Texas? Was he really there just to hunt the feral hogs? And who hired him? But as the story progresses, it becomes clear there is another mystery to be solved. It would be a spoiler to say just what that mystery is, but it’s a good one and it pulls some of what seems like random story elements together quite nicely.
The author did an incredible job with unfolding the various levels of this story and revealing new aspects that could turn the plot one way or another. It was also a delight to read the descriptions of characters and places, depicting the way some people live deep in the woods in run down trailers with scrappy dogs hanging around.
I’ve seen those places in East Texas.
This book is so engaging that a reader might consider setting aside a whole weekend to read it from beginning to end. And hang on to your hat for the big surprise at the end. It was so well camouflaged that I didn’t see it coming. Although in retrospect, I could recognize the signs that were very gently pointing that way, but they were so well done that they didn’t really give it away until it was time.
When you finally get to the point in the story where the title finally makes sense it is a poignant moment for Birdie and it resonates again for Bradley and then Randy. It speaks to the spirit of the men and women and underscores the moral of the whole story. The mystery of who killed the dead man that is found on the fence on Birdies property is only the vehicle the drives the theme of this most enjoyable story.
GIVEAWAY * GIVEAWAY * GIVEAWAY
January 2-12, 2020
Three signed hardcover copies of the book to be given away.
Born and raised in East Texas, Heather Harper Ellett is a graduate of SMU and a therapist in private practice. She lives in Dallas with her husband and son.
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