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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
On October 30, 1966, in a small town called Arthur, New Mexico, 16-year-old Buddy Boyd shot and killed a girl named Christy Hammond in a prank that went horribly wrong. Pleading guilty to manslaughter, he went to a youth correctional facility for two years before leaving the town for good. Forty years later, attorney Cullen Molloy and government agency supervisor Shelby Blaine attend their high school reunion. Knowing that Buddy has returned to town due to his mother's passing, they are determined to spend some time with him before he leaves unnoticed. Unfortunately, the old murder case comes back to haunt the successful businessman and his childhood friends when a prominent town figure's demise stirs up the local authorities.
On the first impression, Section Roads by Mike Murphey is no doubt a mystery crime story. However, it's also a story of small-town drama and childhood romance with a good dose of hilarity in which the bond between friends is tested. After the details of the tragic death of Christy Hammond in the '60s are revealed, some readers will be tempted to make an early deduction of who’s responsible for the murder in the present of 2009. However, the relationship between the protagonists is more complicated than it seems as some of them have surprising secrets and confessions. The case gets even more complicated when the police have a witness who's well-known for her overzealous reporting. Section Roads has its oddity in the form of the character William Weard Ward, a retired CIA agent with questionable (although harmless) sanity. With its steadily paced plot and deftly packed with a series of surprising twists, this is an enjoyable read from Murphey.