Murder, scandal, and mystery in farm country
The fatal shooting of a prominent doctor and his socialite wife shocks the residents of the small southern Illinois community of Cherokee Camp, where violent crime is as rare as a cool summer.
Sheriff Frank Bachelor’s investigation takes him on an arduous journey replete with twists, turns, blind alleys, and goose chases. He must deal with a cautious prosecutor, stonewalling suspects, and pressure from the community to solve the brutal crime. Meanwhile, FBI agent Doug Munro has been poking around, working a separate case that may include some of the same players.
As their paths cross, Bachelor and Munro must decide whether to compete or cooperate. Could the wrong move allow the guilty parties to get away with murder … and more?
Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2020
Fascinating characters, clever dialogue and a well-plotted murder mystery make Fire Blight a great read from beginning to end. I was a little awestruck by Williams’s knowledge of so many diverse elements in the story like agricultural science, forensics, and migrant workers, not to mention legal protocol and courtroom procedures. He also does a great job showing the psychology involved in each character’s complex persona explaining why they behave the way they do. The dialogue reads with the intelligent fast pace of a Mickey Spillane novel. It is a can’t-miss read.
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2020
I found this book very hard to put down. The short, concise chapters make it a perfect book for people who think they don't have time to read. I couldn't get back to it fast enough. The characters are very real and an accurate representation of the people I know in Little Egypt. I also enjoyed the frequent insertion of useless (but appropriate) trivia and pop-cultural references. It reads (perhaps too much) like I live and interact with my friends. To date, I love every book Nat Williams has written and am looking forward to the next one.
Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2020
This debut novel by journalist Nat Williams is a compelling, tightly-woven story of familial ties, small-town loyalties, and a mystery that both divides and brings its characters together. Beautifully crafted personalities bring the story to life for the reader with rich background details and deftly written dialogue.
Williams, a native of Southern Illinois, takes his reader on a vivid journey through the backroads, the farmlands, and the history of the area that both orients you and places you right in the action. The setting is so beautifully crafted, it becomes as much a part of the story as the people who inhabit it.
The novel begins with a murder, the aftermath being witnessed by a loving caregiver, and then moves into the everyday lives of people who live in the area, revealing human frailties of jealousy, loyalty, and ego: a toxic mix that combusts and nearly destroys everyone. As the plot develops, the reader is taken on a wild ride of misplaced loyalties and downright lies, all of which lead to a finale that changes everything.
A great debut and hope to see more from this writer in 2020!
Reviewed in the United States on January 26, 2020
Great first effort by the author. Lots of detail and well-developed characters. The plot was well thought out and the ending was not predictable. As a member of law enforcement, I found the author was spot on regarding law enforcement investigative procedure and court proceedings. Highly recommend this book. Once I started reading , I could not put it down.
Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2021
Great character development, interesting plot with intrigue that keeps you turning the pages, and attention to detail. Looking forward to the author’s next book!
Reviewed in the United States on January 28, 2020
I read this novel in less than 24 hours. I couldn’t put it down! The end was not predictable and that is saying a lot right there. I can’t wait to read the sequel.
Reviewed in the United States on March 8, 2020
I thoroughly enjoyed this murder mystery filled with realistic, plainspoken characters set in an economically beset small midwestern town. The people, trapped by their circumstances which are exacerbated by their flawed impulses, strive to avoid their fateful consequences. The story has several pivots as motives and relationships are revealed. Anyone who has been down and out can feel their pain, fear and anguish as they cope.
Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2020
An easy read, authentic and page turning! Captures the history and culture of Southern Illinois. Highly recommended!
Reviewed in the United States on January 5, 2020
Loved this book! It feels like you’ve known the characters all your life! The plot twists and turns as it goes along make this an exciting read! Well Done!
Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2021
Great crime novel. I think I know some of the characters in it! Very suspenseful. Well written.
Reviewed in the United States on December 4, 2020
I absolutely loved this book. I sat on my porch planning to read a few chapters and read the whole book that day. Each chapter keeps you intrigued and wanting more. Can't wait to read the 2nd book from this author.