Excerpt from Bad Country by CB McKenzie, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Bad Country

A Novel

by CB McKenzie

Bad Country by CB McKenzie X
Bad Country by CB McKenzie
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2014, 304 pages
    Jun 2016, 304 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Linda Hitchcock
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About this Book

Print Excerpt

Cállate, Rodeo said.

The dog was quiet at his man's command.

*   *   *

The corpse was facedown in the dirt, his jeans-clad legs widespread, boot toes pointed back, arms outstretched like a small, misguided Superman buried in a dead-end earthly mission. The back of his red, white and blue shirt was blown into shreds. Hung up on a piece of rebar, a pristine white straw cowboy hat twirled slowly in a breeze.

Rodeo sat for a long moment with a boot vibrating on the clutch pad, then he shifted the truck into neutral and stomped on the emergency brake. When the dog started barking Rodeo reached below the bench seat, pulled the 9mm from its stash site, jacked a load into the Glock and stepped out of the truck.

A cottontail hopped around a pile of vent bricks and froze and twitched and stared at the man with the gun. Rodeo waved his pistol but the rabbit moved toward the dead man where it sat trembling in the pool of congealed blood. Rodeo reached back through the open window and pounded the truck's horn and the rabbit hopped away, his white paws tracing red across the desert. Vultures drifted overhead. Crows defined the margins of the crime scene by picking at spattered flesh and bone.

Rodeo reentered his vehicle, re-holstered his hideaway, calmed his dog, made a U-turn and headed back to the nearest place where cell phone reception was dependable.

*   *   *

Where you at, Garnet?

The voice of the Los Jarros County sheriff sounded in the cell phone like creek gravel sifted in a tin mining pan. Rodeo sat in the shade of the gas pumps island of Twin Arrows Trading Post, which establishment along with the handful of trailer houses scattered around it, passed as a village in a small county in Southern Arizona mostly uninhabited. He stared out the cracked windscreen of his truck at a sky that was bluewhite as an old blister.

I'm at the Store, Ray. Where you at?

I'm up to my ass in a crime scene right now over at the Boulder Turn-Out, so spare me the details if that's possible.

Dead man by my front gates, said Rodeo.

Well, that's a short story, said the sheriff. You know him?

I don't know him, Ray. He's a little man, probably Indio but probably not local. What have you got at the Boulder Turn-Out?

Some sort of death by misadventure, the sheriff said. And the body's been here a while, so it's tough for Doc Boxer to figure some theory out that will fit the evidence at hand.

What is the evidence, Ray?

Another dead Indian is the long and short of it.

What's the official theory about these dead Indians in Los Jarros County, Ray?

We are understaffed and official theory–short about Major Crimes in Los Jarros County Sheriff's Department recently, said the sheriff.

Rodeo said nothing.

You got some idea, Garnet? Official or otherwise?

State should send somebody down from Major Crimes Department to deal with my trouble out at the Estates, said Rodeo.

I doubt it's just your trouble, Garnet, said the lawman. And I'm still the sheriff of Los Jarros County, so I'll decide what needs to be done when I see what this new trouble is.

What do you want me to do, Ray?

You just sit tight at the Store, said the sheriff.

*   *   *

Hypothetical … Rodeo said. He was on the pay phone outside Twin Arrows Trading Post talking to his lawyer, Jarred Willis, who was in his well-appointed office in downtown Tucson.

I got my own shit to do, Chief, so put me out of my misery already.

You know where my place in El Hoyo is at, said Rodeo. You hid a Jaguar XJ with Texas plates in my storage shed last year, a vehicle that was later found in East Tucson with a dead cholo and his pit bull in the trunk.

Excerpted from Bad Country by Sophie McKenzie. Copyright © 2014 by Sophie McKenzie. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Minotaur. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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