Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Bad Moon Rising by John Galligan

First Lines: August 7, 2019. La Crosse, Wisconsin. Jump.
Finding the body of a young homeless man takes Sheriff Heidi Kick's mind off the nasty reelection campaign her opponent is waging against her, but the discovery can't take her mind off the deadly heat wave that has her section of remote, rural Wisconsin in its grip, nor is it powerful enough to make her forget all the troubles she's having with her young children. 

As her family problems become known, rumors begin to circulate, but Heidi has more dead bodies to cope with. Only newspaperman Leroy Fanta seems to offer any help. He thinks that her case may be tied to a man who's been writing deranged letters to the editor for years. Fanta's heart and liver may be packing it in, but he sets out one more time to see if he can help find Heidi a lead in her case.


I sometimes wonder how on earth Sheriff Heidi Kick can manage to stagger from one disaster to another as fraught as her personal life is. I sometimes wonder how she can think Bad Axe County is such a great place to live with all the sordid crimes that take place and all the out-and-out slimy, unhinged people who live there. I sometimes wonder why I like this series so much when those sordid crimes and unhinged people make me want to jump in a hot shower, stick my fingers in my ears, and singsong LA LA LA LA at the top of my voice. But you see, author John Galligan makes it all work, and I enjoyed Bad Moon Rising every bit as much as I did the first two books in the series.

I think my liking for this series has everything to do with its main character, Sheriff Heidi Kick. She's got the smarts, the intuition, and the determination to get the job done each and every time, and that's saying a lot because of her family. At least in this third book, her husband Harley behaved himself. No, it was her wonderful mother-in-law trying to make her life as miserable as possible this time around, bless her. Believe me, this extra grief is not necessary because I think she's got some of the most contentious children in all of crime fiction. But not contentious in the "let me lock 'em in the basement and throw away the key" way. These poor kids have very real problems that the entire family must decipher and learn to deal with, and it just makes me want to hug them all and pitch in to help.

Galligan's stories are always fast-paced and addictive, and no matter how gross the bad guys are, there's something ultimately satisfying in watching them come to justice. Yep. Once justice is served, I want to send dear mother-in-law on an around-the-world cruise she can't refuse, send Heidi and Harley out for a perfect just-the-two-of-them weekend, and babysit their kids.

Now... when a reader gets that involved with the characters, it has a lot to say about a series, doesn't it? Bring on the fourth book!
Bad Moon Rising by John Galligan
eISBN: 9781982166557
Atria Books © 2021
eBook, 334 pages
Police Procedural, #3 Bad Axe County mystery
Rating: A-
Source: Net Galley


  1. Heidi does sound like a really interesting character, Cathy. And the setting interests me, too, really. You don't see a lot of books set in rural Wisconsin. I'm not much of a fan of a lots of sordid crime and a personal life that's quite that fraught. Still, it sounds like a good story.

    1. I'm not that much of a fan of sordid and fraught myself, which shows you how well done I think this series is. I just make sure that I don't read series books like this back to back!

  2. I still need to read the first book in this series!

  3. Since this series takes place very near where I live, I read the first book in this series. It was a little too sordid for me. I did like Heidi though and did want to know what was going to happen with her family. Just for the record - the county this series is based on does not have that kind of crime going on.


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