When the Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to douse a blaze on the outskirts of town, they discover a grisly scene: five black young people have been murdered. Newly elected Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, just back from a stint in the Air Force, finds himself an outsider in the investigation headed by the Texas Highway Patrol. He takes an immediate dislike to John Sutherland, a racist trooper Craddock’s fears are realized when Sutherland arrests Truly Bennett, a young black man whom Craddock knows and respects. Sutherland cites dubious evidence that points to Bennett, and Craddock uncovers facts leading in another direction. When Sutherland refuses to relent, Craddock is faced with a choice that will define him as a lawman—either let the highway patrol have its way, or take on a separate investigation himself. Although his choice to investigate puts both Craddock and his family in danger, he perseveres. In the process, he learns something about himself and the limits of law enforcement in Jarrett Creek.
About the Author
Terry Shames is the Macavity Award-winning author of the Samuel Craddock mysteries A Killing at Cotton Hill, The Last Death of Jack Harbin, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, and The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake. She is the coeditor of Fire in the Hills, a book of stories, poems, and photographs about the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire. She grew up in Texas and continues to be fascinated by the convoluted loyalties and betrayals of the small town where her grandfather was the mayor. Terry is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.
“Elegantly written and tightly constructed, An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock is a compelling and nuanced exploration of race and justice.”
—Lou Berney, Edgar Award–winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone
“Shames’s superior sixth Samuel Craddock mystery...a prequel set possibly during the early 1970s, explores a significant case at the start of the retired police chief’s career. Skilled depictions of the lawman’s formative choices and emotions enhance a timely story with resonance in the era of Black Lives Matter.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
“We know Samuel Craddock as an upstanding man dedicated to justice—but how did he become that man? In An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock, readers get the origin story they deserve—and a riveting, timely mystery.”
—Lori Rader-Day, Mary Higgins Clark Award–winning author of Little Pretty Things
“With a great plot and realistic, unforgettable characters, Terry Shames never disappoints. An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock is a great read. This compelling novel of small-town Texas is full of twists and surprises that highlight the struggles of vivid characters. Shames puts you in the moment as few can, and once you are engaged with the novel, you don’t know whether watch out behind you or to look forward. In response, you simply have to turn the page and keep going.”
—Reavis Z. Wortham, author of the Red River Mystery series
PRAISE FOR THE WORK OF TERRY SHAMES:
"Shames once again enchants with her portrayal of life in rural Texas. Each character has a unique personality that remains in the mind of the reader long after the book is closed. The stunning conclusion will surprise most as Shames deftly weaves her tale." --RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 stars. TOP PICK
"Shames does it again, providing the wise, likable Craddock...with yet another quirky mystery with a surprising ending." --Kirkus Reviews
"If you enjoy your mysteries on the stylistic lines of Bill Crider and William Kent Krueger, and if you agree with Agatha Christie that you can know everything about the human condition from what happens in a small town, you'll want to settle in to a good read with [this series.]" -- The Big Thrill
"Shames has come up with a sleuth for the long haul." -- Toronto Star
"Engrossing.... The authentic small-town ambiance, a cast of meticulously developed characters, and Craddock's easygoing, first-person narrative should more than satisfy series fans." -- Publishers Weekly