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Darkness Bids The Dead GoodbyeBooklist Review

Booklist, Issue: November 15, 2011
Darkness Bids the Dead Goodbye. McKinney, Gary (Author)
Nov 2011. 285 p. Kearney Street, paperback, $14.95. (9780972370691).

Sheriff Gavin Pruitt of Elkhorn, an imaginary hamlet in southwest Washington, is one of the most original characters to appear in the police-procedural genre. A former pot-smoking Deadhead in the role of a small town cop may seem like a set-up for yet another post-1960s satire, but McKinney deftly avoids that cliché in this tale, set in 1995.

First introduced in Slipknot (2007), Sheriff Pruitt again demonstrates that while he’s all cop, he’s managed to retain his humanity. While investigating the murder of someone who worked in his own department, Pruitt uncovers a series of backstories that range on the trouble scale from bad to worse: more murders, police corruption, meth dealers on the loose. And while it has nothing to do with the case, the year 1995, the year that Jerry Garcia died, has special significance to all Deadheads.

McKinney’s book is not only a first-class cop yarn, it's an example of rock n' roll–based crime fiction. If you thought the title of the book sounded familiar, here's why: it’s adapted from a line in the Grateful Dead song St. Stephen.

—Elliott Swanson

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