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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Mystery & Detective / General
  • Language:English
  • Series title:The Bluegrass Darkly Series
  • Series Number:1
  • Pages:384
  • Format:Paperback
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543978407

Skin the Cat

by R Sean McGuirk

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In this noir character driven debut, rising star Chicago homicide investigator Shade Bardane's wife suddenly dies in a freak accident. With his life turned upside down and drowning in tumblers of booze, the single father of two young children quickly disintegrates. The detective becomes useless at work. Chicago itself transforms into a darkened tomb where precious memories of Emily are soaked in the tragedy of her death. The detective decides to give up the drink and relocate mountain hamlet called Story Mount beneath the Cumberland Mountains of southeastern Kentucky. Deep in the mountains, the detective hopes to take a hiatus from life, but enjoying the simple rural wonders of idyllic Story Mount are soon disrupted by the glaring fact that big city problems have beat him there A stroll a few blocks off the main square, Shade swallows hard when he finds hoodlums with tattooed necks hopping into junk cars with smiling toothless, methamphetamine faces. Yet unlike Chicago, traveling a few miles in any direction finds Mother Nature at her finest, with sweeping vistas, clean mountains and sparkling lakes. But before Shade can throw a lure into the water, the murders start. Cruel. Torturous. Local wealthy women, begin showing up skinned alive. Shade joins the most disturbing investigation of his life and soon discovers after bringing the suspect into custody that the real killer lurks very close by...
In a rural Kentucky mountain town, a plastic surgeon from India is rejected from prized social circles by the local elite, the same people who serve as his clients. Facing disgrace and financial ruin, the physician seeks revenge…by undoing the surgeries one by one by skinning his victims. Finally captured, the town gives a sigh of relief. But the murders don't stop and the detectives realize they've had the wrong man all along. Private investigator Shade Bardane catches his wife Emily in bed with another man. Successfully piecing the marriage back together in counseling over several months, Emily steps in front of a speeding truck in downtown Chicago and dies instantly. With his life turned upside down, the widower with two young children quickly disintegrates into endless tumblers of booze. Soon he becomes useless at work, useless as a parent as Chicago becomes a darkened tomb haunted by memories of Emily. A geographical cure for his agony and newfound dysfunction arrives in a simple phone call. Emily's surviving sister Vanessa urges the detective to relocate with her husband and kids down south in a rural, mountain hamlet called Story Mount, Kentucky. The detective clings to the idea of healing, making a fresh start with his kids, and sees himself in a rural paradise, casting a fishing line into clear blue Kentucky lakes lined with tall pines nestled into the Cumberland Mountains. Desperate to make a change or dissolve inside a liquor bottle, Shade grabs his kids and leaves. On his arrival, the detective attempts to take a hiatus from life, to enjoy the simple rural wonders of an idyllic rustic Kentucky landscape but is shaken by the fact he is running out of money, that Vanessa's gratuity only stretches so far, and that the dismal tide of humanity has found its way into small-town America where drug use and deterioration of the small town become painfully clear, where hoodlums with tattooed necks hop in and out of tinted-window junk cars, disoriented meth-head girls with witchy methamphetamine faces hug street corners, the rowhouses sag as they rot and fall in on themselves. Just like southside Chicago. But most of the urban decay is neutralized by the fact that traveling a few miles in any direction the sweeping vistas, clean mountains and sparkling lakes find Mother Nature shining at her finest. But the money. It's running out. Fast. School is coming up- and Brant and Lilly need a new pair of shoes. At Vanessa's urging, Shade accepts a contract as a temporary detective with the Exodus County Police Department. Then the murders start. A sex video gets loose. Local wealthy women and socialites basking in thoroughbred horse racing fortunes are found one by one, skinned alive. And soon, the murderer comes knocking at Shade's door…
About the author
Sean McGuirk has a journalism degree from University of Kentucky, and has been a lifelong writer. An avid motorcycle enthusiast, he's ridden all over the United States. His day job is performing neurological rehabilitation for patients in hospital and contract settings as an occupational therapist. He currently resides in Kentucky with his wife and two children.
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