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The Big Thaw
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553583034, Mass Market Paperback)Don't let the title of this dry suspense novel fool you. It's very cold in January in Iowa, the setting for Donald Harstad's third outing in his series featuring Deputy Sheriff Carl Houseman and his partner Hester Gorse. The only thing mild is the humor in this spare procedural, which involves the usual turf battle between the white hats (local law enforcement) and the black hats (the FBI) as a sidebar to the main plot. Instead of the mean streets and criminal underclass of urban thrillers, we get the militant extremists who frequent the vast, empty reaches of the Midwest. In this case, the black hats are onto the crazies, and the local good guy, Deputy Carl, is caught in the crossfire. The crazies want enough money to blow the heartland (who wouldn't, in January?), and to get it, they're prepared to blow up Iowa's biggest economic asset, a riverboat casino on the Mississippi. They're being manipulated by a chief crazy (or maybe an arch crazy) named Gabriel, and (naturally) the feds have been a few steps behind Gabriel for a while now. Deputy Carl is a nice guy, but irony is not his strong suit, and he's not particularly fast on the uptake, either. Eventually he does save the day in this somewhat pedestrian and slow-motion regional mystery. If you liked the movie Fargo, you'll love The Big Thaw. --Jane Adams
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:56 -0400)
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