Hard Ground: Woods Cop Stories

Joseph Heywood. Globe Pequot/Lyons, $12.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-7627-8126-3
Heywood (Red Jacket) displays uncommon storytelling versatility in this brilliant collection of 27 tales about the game wardens who patrol Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. His two series heroes, Grady Service and Lute Bapcat, each make an appearance (in “Black Beyond Black” and “The Third Partner,” respectively), but neither outshines their colleagues as they handle a variety of challenges from scofflaws, fools, villains, and wildlife. In the deft “Double-jointed Trouble,” conservation officer Jill Flyvie learns from her rookie mistake in handling a prisoner, while in the tender “Symbiosis,” CO Steven Burdoni and an aging hunter come to understand one another. “Song in the Woods” touches on the supernatural; pilot Ralph “Buck Rogers” Haliday quits his job in spectacular fashion in “Airzilla”; and in “Henry VIII,” a bear causes trouble and heartache. This volume should be read for pleasure, but would do equally well as an instruction manual for aspiring writers. Lyons is simultaneously reissuing The Snowfly (2000), the novel that introduced Grady Service. PW’s starred review called it “a story about growing up and self-discovery, a fast-moving intercontinental romp and a good fish story.” Agent: Phyllis Westberg, Harold Ober Associates. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/04/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
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