The skeletons in the closet are a family affair. When bones are found on an island on the edge of town, it gives Jules a change of pace from gas station robberies and domestic abuse, a series of rapes and errant campers. But the skeleton leads back to old murders and his own family, and strips away illusions about both justice and the people he loves. Set Fall of 1994.
The first two novels in the Jules Clement Mysteries series, The Edge of the Crazies and Going Local, established Jamie Harrison as a preeminent young American writer whose intelligent mysteries rank with the sharpest, most original of new fiction. Fans and critics alike have fallen hard for Jules Clement, the unlikely sheriff of this small town bordering Yellowstone Park, who’d rather be off fishing than giving out tickets.
Now it’s mid-October in Blue Deer, and Jules is up to his crooked grin in trouble. A camper’s discovery of old bones threatens to rip open secrets that have been long and deliberately buried in the hearts and minds of Blue Deer’s oldest citizens. Jules begins a casual investigation that mushrooms into a nightmare of long-simmering enmities, love affairs, arson, and murder. Jules must query the local judge, his obnoxious daughter and power-hungry grandson, and even his own family.
Served up with the intrigue is Jamie Harrison’s eye for local humor and for finely drawn characters: there are Alice, the sharp-tongued director of the ladies’ historical society, and Peter, her recalcitrant attorney husband. There’s the enigmatic Edie, with whom Jules continues an on-again, off-again affair; and the beauteous Caroline, a new deputy who both intimidates and fascinates Jules. The sexual tension makes the intrigue even more suspenseful, and events culminate in a remarkably surprising climax. Fans of Jamie Harrison’s earlier Jules Clement mysteries will love An Unfortunate Prairie Occurrence.