Sheriff Lee Mattock was popular in the small town of Marathon, KY. No one could believe it when he was murdered. But as deputy Harlan Dupee soon learns, Lew may not have been as innocent and he seemed. Harlan follows the trail of Leo’s killer, gradually uncovering the complicated web of Marathon’s underground Oxycotin trade. Meanwhile, teenaged Mary Jane finds that getting rid of Lew hasn’t led to the immediate freedom she and her boyfriend thought it would, and the drugs no longer seem to provide enough of an escape.
Not quite a mystery, Donaldson’s novel is a harsh glimpse into prescription drug abuse in the ’90s and its impact on individuals and communities. The book may grab some mystery readers due to its subject matter and the puzzle-like way that the whole picture gradually develops, but it will likely appeal most to readers who enjoy gritty, realistic stories about dysfunctional communities, corruption, and seedy small town life.