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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
C.C. Oil Company is running a fracking operation in Bison county, much to the locals’ dismay. Some try to sabotage, confront and expose the damage done by the operation crew, but receive physically brutal, fatal retaliation from the company’s hired guns. When a local rancher ends up in a coma, Sheriff Zeke Thomasen assigns the investigation task to his Deputy Sheriffs, Jim Taylor and Amy Hooker, while trying to fend off an Attorney General who’s all about politics, votes, and power. Lee Atterbury’s Big Fracking Mess is the fourth volume of the Jim Taylor and Buck series.
Even though I’m new to the series, and this is already the fourth installment, it’s a deftly written standalone. The plot is satisfyingly complex and its pace is quite swift. Few of the character names are eyebrow-raising; Chester Chesterton, Amy Hooker. I was amused to find out that Buck is actually a horse－I expected two seasoned cops with a bit of a Butch and Sundance kind of partnership. On the other hand, it's easy to love Buck, and he's better than a K-9. The characterization as a whole is solid, despite the number of characters.
Not all the antagonists are out and out bad guys. Chester Chesterton, president of C.C. Oil Company, is a desperate man. The fracking operation is the one that will save his current financial state, or so he thought when he made a bad choice by getting help from the wrong people. I understand why Zeke almost burst an artery several times when it comes to Jim, but it’s undeniable that he and Hook do a commendable job despite being labeled as the death squad. Overall, with its succinct narrative and sharp dialogue, Big Fracking Mess is the perfect title for this adrenaline-pumping, crime and suspense read.