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Douglas Pike is no longer the murderous hustler he was in his youth, but reforming hasn't made him much kinder. He's just living out his life in his Appalachian hometown, working odd jobs with his partner, Rory, hemming in his demons the best he can. And his best seems just good enough until his estranged daughter overdoses, and he takes in his 12-year-old granddaughter, Wendy. Just as the two are beginning to forge a relationship, Derrick Kreiger, a dirty Cincinnati cop, starts to take an unhealthy interest in the girl. Pike and Rory head to Cincinnati to learn what they can about Derrick and the death of Pike’s daughter, and the three men circle, evenly matched predators in a human wilderness of junkie squats, roadhouse bars, and homeless Vietnam vet encampments.
"This is what noir is, what it can be when it stops playing nice—blunt force drama stripped down to the bone, then made to dance across the page." —Stephen Graham Jones, author, The Trial of Nolan Dugatti
"The words don't just tell a story here, they scream, bleed, and burst into flames. . . . This one’s going to haunt me for quite some time." —Nathan Singer, author, A Prayer for Dawn
"A perfect stride [Whitmer's] first time out of the blocks." —Ward Churchill, author and political activist
"Pike is the stuff of country songs, murder ballads and oh, opera. It goes for the throat and then it gets serious. Pick it up, open the pages and watch out, you’re liable to end up with a busted face." —Barnes and Noble Mystery Blog