“The Devil’s Country” by Harry Hunsicker is a murder mystery, thriller, crime novel about a former Texas Ranger. Arlo Baines is roaming Texas by bus, or by hitchhiking. All he wants to do is be in peace and read his books. Trouble seems to find him wherever he goes. He is desperately trying to come to terms with the deaths of his wife and two children. In his grief and rage, he coerces his father-in-law to kill the dirty cops who took his family’s lives. His father-in-law was in league with some pretty unsavory characters, and was involved in money-laundering along with the three cops who paid the price for destroying Arlo’s family. Although there was not enough evidence to convict him of those deaths, former Texas Rangers were not so quick to defend his actions.
He stops in a little town in west Texas for a couple of days before moving on. As he leaves a bar after having a drink, he is drawn to a harrowing scene. A young mother thinks that he is her contact. There are people after her and her two children; they want to kill them. Two men try to take her, but Arlo steps in. The next day the sheriff sees him as a possible suspect in a murder, the murder of the young woman. There is no trace of the children. Arlo vows to find her murderer and the whereabouts of the children before he leaves town. The police do not believe his story about the two missing children.
It seems that there is a conspiracy between the townspeople and some other faction. It is as though something sinister has taken over the town and Arlo is determined to find out what is holding the people in fear. What he discovers will put a chill through you as you read.
Mr. Hunsicker is a very good mystery writer and I thought the characters had a depth that was brought out throughout the story. Although I enjoyed reading his writing, I am not a great fan of this kind of thriller…too brutal, and the subject matter is distasteful.
Former Texas Ranger Arlo Baines didn’t come to the tiny West Texas town of Piedra Springs to cause trouble. After his wife and children were murdered, Arlo just wants to be left alone. Moving from place to place seems to be the only thing that eases the pain of his family’s violent end.
But a chance encounter outside a bar forces him to rescue a terrified woman and her children from mysterious attackers. When the woman turns up murdered the next day—her children missing—Arlo becomes the primary suspect in exactly the same type of crime he is trying desperately to forget.
Haunted by the fate of his family, and with the police questioning the existence of the dead woman’s children, Arlo decides it’s his duty to find them. The question is, just how deep will he have to sink into the dusty secrets of Piedra Springs to save them and clear his name?