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Hard Row by Margaret Maron
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Another good entry in the Judge Deborah Knott series. Dismembered body parts start showing up in odd places (OK, I don't know what would NOT be an odd place for them to show up) and Dwight Bryant has his hands full both with the investigation and with his young son, who is still grieving for his dead mother and trying to adjust to his new living situation. Maron handles all this life story stuff so well I wouldn't even care if the mystery was a bit lackluster, but this one was very well put together. I had a pretty good idea who was dead and even who was responsible, but the side bits and whys and wherefores were not so obvious. Solid escape read.
  laytonwoman3rd | Jun 16, 2016 |
Not a very good entry in the series. Not much of a mystery. Most of the book is more like a soap opera following events in the main characters lives. A bit of a mystery involving body parts scattered around the area but this doesn't even really pick up until the first hundred pages are through. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
This novel seemed to be all about what some of the characters in the book call 'guest workers' and one of the owners of a business in town. The mystery starts with the discovery of a right hand and then the discovery of another right hand. Needless to say it was more of a gruesome novel than her previous Deb Knott novels.

I also thought that the family stuff, mostly the new Knott/Bryant family and how Cal was dealing with all the change that was being thrown at him, was great.

There was also a subplot about domestic violence and an interesting little interlude about non-handicapped people parking in handicapped spaces (also, someone other than Deb got a bit of a love story, that was cool).

Unfortunately there was one subplot that seemed to get dropped, the one about the tension between one of the clerks of the court and Deb.

Still, overall, it was an interesting book. The mystery wasn't exceedingly complicated, but, it kept me guessing enough to stay engaged with the novel and as usual the character interactions were stupendous. ( )
  DanieXJ | May 28, 2014 |
Enjoyed the eastern North Carolina setting and interesting family dynamics in this one! I like the narrator in this audiobook series, too. ( )
  dukefan86 | May 29, 2013 |
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
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That most farmers have had a "hard row to hoe" during the last few years is a fact which admits of no argument.

The famous poets who never plowed a furrow in their lives go into raptures over rural life.
— Profitable Farming in the Southern States, 1890
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El Toro Negro sits next to an abandoned tobacco warehouse a few feet inside the Dobbs city limits.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446582433, Hardcover)

As Judge Deborah Knott presides over a case involving a barroom brawl, it becomes clear that deep resentments over race, class, and illegal immigration are simmering just below the surface in the countryside. An early spring sun has begun to shine like a blessing on the fertile fields of North Carolina, but along with the seeds sprouting in the thawing soil, violence is growing as well. Mutilated body parts have appeared along the back roads of Colleton County, and the search for the victim's identity and for that of his killer will lead Deborah and her new husband, Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant, into the desperate realm of undocumented farm workers exploited for cheap labor.
In the meantime, Deborah and Dwight continue to adjust to married life and to having Dwight's eight-year-old son, Cal, live with them full time. When another body is found, these newlyweds will discover dark truths that threaten to permanently alter the serenity of their rural surroundings and their new life together.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:20 -0400)

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"As Judge Deborah Knott presides over a case involving a barroom brawl, it becomes clear that deep resentments over race, class, and illegal immigration are simmering just below the surface in the North Carolina countryside"--Provided by publisher.

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