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Harkness isn’t your typical Western sheriff. Cowboy boots make his arches ache, he’s phobic of horses, but he does have a horse of sorts – a `39 Chevy pickup he calls Hoopie, and a sidekick – a neurotic wiener dog named Addison.
Harkness is a man of his times, shaped for both good and bad by his experiences in WWII. He deals with issues like bigotry and sexual suppression in a believable manner. We come to know him as a good man, but never a self-righteous one. The pursuit of justice is his job, and he’s good at it, but he never loses sight of where his next woman, or his next drink, is coming from. Harkness is the keeper of secrets in his little town and to solve the crime, he must decide which secrets to expose. One secret involves Judge Barnes, the county’s most powerful man. But Harkness had a secret of his own: he’s in love with the Judge’s wife. How much is Harkness willing to risk to catch a murderer?
Set on the Oregon High Desert in 1952, life in the small town of Barnesville has been easy-going for Matthew until a star-crossed teen-age couple disappears and he’s forced to deal with some horrific murders, one of which strikes very close to home, before finally confronting the killer man-to-man on the High Desert