Hard Cash Valley (Bull Mountain, #3)
Return to McFalls County and Bull Mountain in Hard Cash Valley, where Brian Panowich weaves another masterful tale of Southern Noir.Dane Kirby is a broken man and no stranger to tragedy. As a life-long resident and ex-arson investigator for McFalls County, Dane has lived his life in one of the most chaotic and crime-ridden regions of the south. When he gets called in to consult on a brutal murder in a Jacksonville, Florida, motel room, he and his FBI counterpart, Special Agent Roselita Velasquez, begin an investigation that leads them back to the criminal circles of his own backyard.Arnie Blackwell’s murder in Jacksonville is only the beginning – and Dane and Roselita seem to be one step behind. For someone is hacking a bloody trail throughout the Southeast looking for Arnie’s younger brother, a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who possesses an unusual skill with numbers that could make a lot of money and that has already gotten a lot of people killed―and has even more of the deadliest people alive willing to do anything it takes to exploit him.As Dane joins in the hunt to find the boy, it swiftly becomes a race against the clock that has Dane entangled in a web of secrets involving everyone from the Filipino Mafia to distrusting federal agents to some of hardest southern outlaws he’s ever known.

Hard Cash Valley (Bull Mountain, #3) Details

TitleHard Cash Valley (Bull Mountain, #3)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 5th, 2020
PublisherMinotaur Books
ISBN-139781250206923
Rating
GenreFiction, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, Crime, American, Southern, Action

Hard Cash Valley (Bull Mountain, #3) Review

  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    5 Incredible Stars Dark, Troubling and Suspenseful Grit Lit!Living. It means something different to everyone, whether it’s about drugs, money, hard work, family, love or loss. In McFalls County, Georgia, living ain’t easy. Never has been, never will be. It’s about desperate times and desperate measures. Every once in a while a man comes along looking to make things right. That’s where Dane Kirby, an Investigator with the George Bureau of Investigation, comes in. When a murder happens on Bull Mou 5 Incredible Stars Dark, Troubling and Suspenseful Grit Lit!Living. It means something different to everyone, whether it’s about drugs, money, hard work, family, love or loss. In McFalls County, Georgia, living ain’t easy. Never has been, never will be. It’s about desperate times and desperate measures. Every once in a while a man comes along looking to make things right. That’s where Dane Kirby, an Investigator with the George Bureau of Investigation, comes in. When a murder happens on Bull Mountain, Kirby is the man Sheriff Darby Ellis calls when all hell breaks loose. (Ellis was the former Deputy under Clayton Burroughs, whose legend still lingers over Bull Mountain.)Coinciding with the murder in Georgia, is the suspicious and brutal murder of a man in a Florida hotel room who has ties to McFalls County and a place called “Hard Cash Valley.” Kirby is soon paired with FBI Agent Roselita Velasquez to solve that crime and find the only person who might be able to help.Dane Kirby is a man with a checkered past. Haunted, troubled, and extremely vulnerable, Dane Kirby’s character pulled at me. Just thinking about the person he is, his anguish and his deep dark past, I couldn’t help but be all in as soon as I turned the first page of Brian Panovich’s “Hard Cash Valley.” Having read Brian Panovich’s prior novels “Bull Mountain” and “Like Lions” - I would describe this novel as having more heart. You all know that I am a “softie” when it comes to novels that I love. I get “teary” at times and there was a point where this one got me. It has its moments where it's a bit dark and ominous, (it’s Grit Lit after all!) yet it isn’t quite as violent as Brian Panovich’s other novels (at least not in my opinion). That aside, I love the atmosphere, the setting and the character development and can’t wait to see what Brian Panovich comes out with next. “Hard Cash Valley” is the first Grit Lit of the year to make my Goodreads Best of List for 2020. This was a buddy read with Kaceey - which I was extremely excited to share with her. It was her first Brian Panovich! I can happily report that she loved it. A Huge Thank You goes out to Joe Brosnan at Minotaur Books for the Galley. I could not wait to get my hands on a copy of this book and he obliged. Thank you also to Brian Panovich, you do not disappoint. Published on Goodreads on 3.1.20.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    If honesty is the best policy, then somebody needs to start thinking about revising the rule book.Gripping, thought-provoking, and at times ominous, Brian Panowich’s third novel heightened my appreciation for his work. The mesmerizing flow of his words, skillful plotting, and the few redeeming characters wandering the pages held me captive for the entirety of the book. Panowich has made rural north Georgia a place I want to be, despite the gun-slinging, meth-dealing, cockfighting, blood and guts If honesty is the best policy, then somebody needs to start thinking about revising the rule book.Gripping, thought-provoking, and at times ominous, Brian Panowich’s third novel heightened my appreciation for his work. The mesmerizing flow of his words, skillful plotting, and the few redeeming characters wandering the pages held me captive for the entirety of the book. Panowich has made rural north Georgia a place I want to be, despite the gun-slinging, meth-dealing, cockfighting, blood and guts, no rules approach that just about everyone lives by. This go-round, Panowich lands readers in Hard Cash Valley, a community on the outskirts of McFalls County with a looming mountain on the horizon. A shady mountain readers became familiar with in Bull Mountain and Like Lions. Hard Cash Valley is home to The Farm, an out of the way place where money changes hands in the name of the prized feathered fighter. A place where loyalty is valued and disputes are settled with bloodshed and an incinerator. Dane Kirby, former McFalls County fire chief and arson investigator, turned part-time agent with the GBI, finds himself teamed up with a none too happy FBI agent, Roselita Velasquez. The new partners, prone to bickering, are tasked with tracking down the eleven-year-old brother of a victim found gutted in a cheap motel room some 400 miles south in Jacksonville, FL. Dane’s familiarity with the people of Hard Cash Valley and help from a childhood friend, land him on The Farm and face-to-face with gold-toothed, Rooster. A motley crew of rednecks, Filipino gangsters, and untrusting FBI agents take their turn skewing the trajectory of the investigation.Where Panowich shines again is in creating a character with a big beating heart. Similar to Clayton Burroughs, Dane Kirby is a standup guy living in a place where morality often takes a backseat to vengeance and money. He’s a guy you can’t help but to hope finds his way. In the face of all the muck the investigation slings at him, Dane has to contend with an insecure girlfriend, the ghost of his dead wife, and the sobering truth, he can’t seem to give voice. Dane’s reality paints a foretelling ending, one I approached with bated breath and a weary heart. Yet, with a clever sleight of hand, Panowich manages to incite hope and serve up an invaluable life lesson. Letting go is often hard but necessary. Let’s hope Panowich’s creative juices continue to flow and we see more from Hard Cash Valley, Bull Mountain or heck, even another locale in north Georgia. *Thanks to St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books for access to an advanced copy.
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsRead it! Nuff said...But...I'll give you my thoughts nevertheless...Hard Cash is a dark gritty tale about desperation, greed, drugs, money, family, loss...you name it.Panowich is a genius at writing Southern/Country/crime noir that is both gritty, suspenseful, dark and moving. His characters are flawed, are either trouble, have seen trouble or have created trouble for others. Dane Kirby has seen trouble and grief. It haunts him (it would haunt you are well). He has lived in McFalls Coun 4.5 starsRead it! Nuff said...But...I'll give you my thoughts nevertheless...Hard Cash is a dark gritty tale about desperation, greed, drugs, money, family, loss...you name it.Panowich is a genius at writing Southern/Country/crime noir that is both gritty, suspenseful, dark and moving. His characters are flawed, are either trouble, have seen trouble or have created trouble for others. Dane Kirby has seen trouble and grief. It haunts him (it would haunt you are well). He has lived in McFalls County, Georgia his entire life and is an ex-arson investigator and is a current investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He's called in by the FBI to help investigate the murder of Arnie Blackwell in Jacksonville, Florida. This murder is only the beginning and it soon becomes apparent that more is at stake as his younger brother, William, an eleven-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome is missing. Dane and his new partner. Special Agent Roselita Velasquez, are not the only ones looking for William. Someone is leaving a bloody trail in his wake while searching for the youth. Gritty, raw, suspenseful, dark, and powerful. Gritty novels don't generally have me grabbing for the tissues but there is one scene that got to me. Panowich's writing is solid and I found this book to be perfectly paced. Nothing felt drawn out or rushed. He knows how to set the mood and use the environment, topography, and people to tell his tale. I found this book to be captivating, moving and it turned into a real page-turner for me.Thank you to Brian Panowich and to Joseph Brosnan at Minotaur Books who provided me with an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Kaceey
    January 1, 1970
    Now that my friends, is how it’s done!A masterfully written piece of southern noir that will have you flying through the pages from start to end!Having recently retired his title of Fire Investigator, Dane Kirby is new to the GBI. To say he carries around demons would be a massive understatement. So raw they haunt his every waking moment.Now he’s facing a new nightmare. One that may change the very course of his existence.Arnie, a low life petty criminal is brutally killed in Florida. And in sho Now that my friends, is how it’s done!A masterfully written piece of southern noir that will have you flying through the pages from start to end!Having recently retired his title of Fire Investigator, Dane Kirby is new to the GBI. To say he carries around demons would be a massive understatement. So raw they haunt his every waking moment.Now he’s facing a new nightmare. One that may change the very course of his existence.Arnie, a low life petty criminal is brutally killed in Florida. And in short order his younger brother William goes missing. The FBI dials up Dane for help as all the evidence points directly back to Georgia. Hard Cash Valley to be exact. Dane’s backyard! Can he root out the killer before more bodies start turning up? And oh yes, locate William before the killer does! Brian Panowich writes a dark, gritty crime-drama that taps into every emotion possible. From profound love to revulsion and everything in between. The brutality is vivid. The love is heartbreaking. The grief is real and raw.This read was absolutely unputdownable! Having found myself in a bit of a reading slump lately, this book completely turned everything around for me! So much so, I have to say this is my favorite book so far for 2020. If you’re a fan of southern literature this is a must read for you! Highly recommend!A buddy read with Susanne that we both devoured in just a couple readings! Thank you to Joseph Brosnan at Minotaur Books for an Advanced copy to read and review.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    4.5Another winner by Brian Panowich! The writing is amazing!We are taken back to McFalls County and Bull Mountain where we met Dane Kirby, a lifelong resident and former ex-arson investigator with a tragic family history, is called in to consult on a murder investigation. Unforgettable characters..gritty, tension filled, fast moving..a lot of heart in the story too! Just loved this one!Thank you to Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for the ARC!
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    Don’t pick up a Brian Panowich book expecting it to be light or easy. He is a master of Southern noir; dark and brutal in the extreme. Hard Cash Valley opens with Arnie Blackwell heading down to Florida with a suitcase full of cash. But he doesn’t get far and his murder sets the scene for the darkness to come. Dane Kirby is an ex- Arson investigator called in to consult after Arnie’s murder. He’s haunted by ghosts. Roselita, his new partner (not that either of them likes it), is hard, determined Don’t pick up a Brian Panowich book expecting it to be light or easy. He is a master of Southern noir; dark and brutal in the extreme. Hard Cash Valley opens with Arnie Blackwell heading down to Florida with a suitcase full of cash. But he doesn’t get far and his murder sets the scene for the darkness to come. Dane Kirby is an ex- Arson investigator called in to consult after Arnie’s murder. He’s haunted by ghosts. Roselita, his new partner (not that either of them likes it), is hard, determined to be the toughest person in the room, even at the cost of getting the answers she needs. This isn’t a woman who ever learned you get more from honey than vinegar. These are fully fleshed out characters that come flying off the page. In Roselita’s case, usually spitting anger. If you’re ok with the violence you’ll be rewarded with great writing and a dynamic plot. Panowich’s descriptions are totally apt, whether describing the weather, fighting cocks or the dynamics of the various law enforcers. “Sheriff Ellis wasn’t sure if he liked Roselita or not. The bloodhound behind his young, narrowed blue eyes was still sniffing her out...The sheriff’s eyes got a little less young and bright, and more partly cloudy with a chance of cocky.” Wow, wow, wow! I didn’t see that ending coming. Lots of moving parts and plot twists coming and it all adds up to a wild ride. Five big stars for this one. This is considered part of the Bull Mountain series. But it’s a whole new cast of characters (almost) so no need to have read the prior books. My thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.
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  • Brenda -Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    Mercy me! Well, Brian Panowich shows no mercy with his stories, ok maybe not entirely true. He pulls out the big guns here in more ways than one. Hard Cash Valley is another winner for me and Brian Panowich is setting the bar for me with my new favourite genre. He has been called the new master of Southern Noir and I am his newest fan.Things start off fast and furious and I'm sure I stopped breathing at times with the tight tension that filled the air around me while I was reading this one. The Mercy me! Well, Brian Panowich shows no mercy with his stories, ok maybe not entirely true. He pulls out the big guns here in more ways than one. Hard Cash Valley is another winner for me and Brian Panowich is setting the bar for me with my new favourite genre. He has been called the new master of Southern Noir and I am his newest fan.Things start off fast and furious and I'm sure I stopped breathing at times with the tight tension that filled the air around me while I was reading this one. The plot is heavy and the violence is heart-stopping and I needed to take some breaks to bring my heart rate back to normal. I couldn't stay away for long because Brian Panowich has created another tougher than nails, damage, interesting and likable main characters here with heart that shines through all the violence in the story with Dane Kirby a retired fire chief and part-time GBI investigator. He is pulled into a murder investigation, and a race against time to find a child to keep him safe. Dane Kirby is such a likable, interesting character and there is a love story here between him and his dead wife and his girlfriend. It brings some warmth to the story, along with some conflict to his personal life. My heart broke for him and I rooted for him at the same time. The action in the story sets the pace for an entertaining read here, despite the violence to the story. I found myself liking all the different characters here from our likable characters, some questionable characters here with their actions and to some horrible characters that added entertain value to the story for me as well. The ending did push things a little bit on needing to suspend disbelief, but the characters shined through for me right to the endI received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Surprises, aka as red herrings are stewn throughout this novel. What is not surprising to readers of this author, is the grit, darkness, and violence. It was the violence that had me discussing with myself whether I could give this book five stars or not. I decided not, as one can see, though I liked this book and a few of the characters very much.It starts with a murder, and turns into the search for a young boy. He has Aspergers and is tremendously gifted with numbers. Numbers means cash, 4.5 Surprises, aka as red herrings are stewn throughout this novel. What is not surprising to readers of this author, is the grit, darkness, and violence. It was the violence that had me discussing with myself whether I could give this book five stars or not. I decided not, as one can see, though I liked this book and a few of the characters very much.It starts with a murder, and turns into the search for a young boy. He has Aspergers and is tremendously gifted with numbers. Numbers means cash, big money in the denizens of the criminal world. A former fire investigator will be drawn, against his will, into this search. Dane Kirby is a wonderful character, and knows, sees more, than he acknowledges. He is definitely the star of this show.The Burroughs are mentioned a few times, and the atmosphere of his previous books, as well as location are featured prominently. These people live hard lives, definitely not a place for sissies.If you liked Bull Mountain and Like Lions, you will love this. There is justice, but maybe not the straight up kind to which one is used to expecting. Even that is different in this county.ARC from Edelweiss and publisher.
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  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    January 1, 1970
    So I got denied this one from Netgalley. I cried like a big old baby and got to begging. Luckily I got a copy of it before I had to break out my moves. Because dammit man this type of book is my absolute favorite. (This author is a total favorite of mine since I first read the first word of his)Panowich takes the reader back to my beloved North GA mountains and we return to Bull Mountain. However, we aren't going back to that same family. He took a gamble and I'm so glad! I LOVED how this So I got denied this one from Netgalley. I cried like a big old baby and got to begging. Luckily I got a copy of it before I had to break out my moves. Because dammit man this type of book is my absolute favorite. (This author is a total favorite of mine since I first read the first word of his)Panowich takes the reader back to my beloved North GA mountains and we return to Bull Mountain. However, we aren't going back to that same family. He took a gamble and I'm so glad! I LOVED how this turned out. The story starts off with a loser dude running to Florida with a ton of money. As the story unfolds you realize that dude probably did some underhanded stuff to come across said money. Turns out he did. He ends up in not such good health as the result.Then we get to meet Dane Kirby, an GBI agent that just happens to be from my favorite neck of the woods. He gets called in by the big boys to assist with this case.All things end up back in the mountains and we find out that those mountains still have some shady stuff going on. So back in the day I was dating this dude and we ended up at a place that is described to perfection in this book. My girlie butt was not happy with the situation and some "Deliverance" jokes were made nervously. My then date decided that really wasn't the place for my big mouth and we got the heck outta there. The area and the atmosphere is described perfectly. I'm glad that my big chicken butt got out of there before the kinds of things that happen in this story went on. Anyways. I LOVED that the author took a chance and just didn't return to the same Bull Mountain. I'm ready for his next one! I did receive an reader copy of this book in return for nothing. I fangirled it all on my own.
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  • Zoeytron
    January 1, 1970
    Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.At the foot of the North GA mountains lies the small town of Hard Cash Valley.  We'll not mess too much with the town proper, it's the rural area that stretches out around it that is of special interest here.  We stop to take a gander at a place called The Farm, way off the beaten track.  It's run by a man name of Eddie Hightower, or Rooster if you are on good terms.  Cockfighting is almost a religion here, and Rooster is in it up to his nec Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.At the foot of the North GA mountains lies the small town of Hard Cash Valley.  We'll not mess too much with the town proper, it's the rural area that stretches out around it that is of special interest here.  We stop to take a gander at a place called The Farm, way off the beaten track.  It's run by a man name of Eddie Hightower, or Rooster if you are on good terms.  Cockfighting is almost a religion here, and Rooster is in it up to his neck.  Panowich makes good use of the 'hillbilly vernacular' in this story.  Down, dirty, and gritty as all get out.  Fans of Bull Mountain will not be disappointed.  It was a harrowing ride, but it came closer than I would like to an icky-poo-poo ending.  On the other hand, who amongst us won't dig on something that is at least a little positive right now?
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!This story begins in Jacksonville, Florida when a quick flight from Atlanta and a check-in at an airport motel goes more than a little awry. From there, it’s a twisty, winding journey that had me alternately holding my breath, desperately wanting to reach a place of resolution for these people, but also not wanting this story to end as each surprising turn of events had me wondering how this story would end. I loved returning to Brian Panowich’s settings of Bull Mountain and !! NOW AVAILABLE !!This story begins in Jacksonville, Florida when a quick flight from Atlanta and a check-in at an airport motel goes more than a little awry. From there, it’s a twisty, winding journey that had me alternately holding my breath, desperately wanting to reach a place of resolution for these people, but also not wanting this story to end as each surprising turn of events had me wondering how this story would end. I loved returning to Brian Panowich’s settings of Bull Mountain and McFalls County, Georgia - although I suspect my feelings might be very different if I were to actually meet some of these people in reality. Another gripping installment in the Bull Mountain series replete with cockfighting, guns, and drug dealers, along with some attention-grabbing bombshell twists, for fans of grit-lit / Southern-lit, or whatever label you want to put on this genre, this is not to be missed. Pub Date: 05 May 2020Many thanks for the ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press / Minotaur Books
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  • Margitte
    January 1, 1970
    What a read! Goodness gracious, I almost did not make it. But here we are, and I'm thrilled.It was really a great experience, although the ending was perhaps a little melodramatic. But really good, anyway. I'm in the mood for these kind of murder suspense thrillers, and this one fitted right in.
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsMoney is the root of all evil in HARD CASH VALLEY as you will see with a bloody-good visit back to the Georgia foothills of Bull Mountain.The players may have changed this time around, but Brian Panowich seamlessly takes the reader forward introducing a new group of good headed by Agent Dane Kirby with his secrets and haunted past....and (really nasty dude) evil....that begins early on and doesn't end until the deadly trip to the farm. "No one wanted to be involved in the kind of sh*t 4.5 StarsMoney is the root of all evil in HARD CASH VALLEY as you will see with a bloody-good visit back to the Georgia foothills of Bull Mountain.The players may have changed this time around, but Brian Panowich seamlessly takes the reader forward introducing a new group of good headed by Agent Dane Kirby with his secrets and haunted past....and (really nasty dude) evil....that begins early on and doesn't end until the deadly trip to the farm. "No one wanted to be involved in the kind of sh*t that happened up there." Get ready for yet another gritty-good crime mystery with quite the cast of interesting characters (please bring back Ned) and more than one curveball along the way.Thank you to Brian Panowich for bringing me out of my reading slump and to St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for the arc invite in exchange for review.
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  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    Hard Cash Valley is a rock-solid country noir crime thriller set in the same northern Georgia mountains as two earlier books by Panowich. From the opening scene through to the end, it's a hard-to-put-down action-packed ride. Panowich takes the classic scene of a petty conman/gambler/ thief on the run with a suitcase full of money and breathes new life into this crime fiction trope. And our petty grifter isn't even the star of the show. That's a life-weary arson investigator haunted by a past so Hard Cash Valley is a rock-solid country noir crime thriller set in the same northern Georgia mountains as two earlier books by Panowich. From the opening scene through to the end, it's a hard-to-put-down action-packed ride. Panowich takes the classic scene of a petty conman/gambler/ thief on the run with a suitcase full of money and breathes new life into this crime fiction trope. And our petty grifter isn't even the star of the show. That's a life-weary arson investigator haunted by a past so harrowing that lesser men would've home and swallowed their guns and by a death sentence he can't come to grips with. The ghosts of his past, particularly the gorgeous Gwen, are so real. But, the horrors of the present can't be ignored. A lot of the time these crime thrillers are peopled by caricatures of real people, but the characters here are real, vivid, believable, and desperately flawed. A terrific read!
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  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    January 1, 1970
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/When it comes to hick lit, Brian Panowich is 100% an author who can . . . . . And with a best pal who always has my back, I’m sure to be at the front of the line when it comes to requesting an early copy. As the blurb states, Hard Cash Valley once again takes readers back to Bull Mountain, but this time the focus isn’t on the Burroughs clan. This go around deals with a fella named Dane Kirby, a part-time employee of the GBI who gets Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/When it comes to hick lit, Brian Panowich is 100% an author who can . . . . . And with a best pal who always has my back, I’m sure to be at the front of the line when it comes to requesting an early copy. As the blurb states, Hard Cash Valley once again takes readers back to Bull Mountain, but this time the focus isn’t on the Burroughs clan. This go around deals with a fella named Dane Kirby, a part-time employee of the GBI who gets called in to an investigation down in . . . . Featuring a dead small-time criminal who bit off more than he could chew and (more importantly) a “beat the clock” sort of search for the dead dude’s missing little brother who is being tracked by some seriously bad hombres due to his uhhhhhhhhhhh special abilities . . . . . Not much more can be said without spoiling all the fun, but let’s just say this kid wasn’t counting cards, the local Farm (as well as the people who run it) ain’t exactly what those of us in flyover country are familiar with, there’s a whole bunch of characters who get introduced and all of them have more to offer the story than first impressions would offer. My notes say “every character is amazing aside from poor depressed Dane.” Not that Dane didn’t have stuff to offer – it’s just not stuff like this . . . . “Tater – Boner – Rooster – everyone up here sounds like they were named after cartoons. Is there a Tweety Bird out here, too?”Now Ned looked offended. “Watch your mouth, Velasquez. Tweety is good people. No need to trash talk good folk.” So as I said above, aside from Debbie Dane Downer and an ending that got just a weeeeeee bit sappy, this was everything I could have hoped for. The fact that I read it in one sitting and upon finishing went around my house declaring things like . . . . Means it gets all the Stars. Keep writing ‘em, Mr. Panowich, ‘cause I wanna keep reading ‘em.ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Some people are so fond of bad luck that they run half way to meet it.Just ask Arnie Blackwell. Ol' Arnie has been in and out of lockup in Atlanta so many times that they leave a nightlight on for him at the entrance gate. But this time Arnie feels it in his bones that he's finally hit paydirt. After a nerve wracking flight with suitcase in hand, Arnie checks into a motel that's just a tad above seedy in Jacksonville, Florida. Should never have answered that knock at the door, Arnie.Arnie's run- Some people are so fond of bad luck that they run half way to meet it.Just ask Arnie Blackwell. Ol' Arnie has been in and out of lockup in Atlanta so many times that they leave a nightlight on for him at the entrance gate. But this time Arnie feels it in his bones that he's finally hit paydirt. After a nerve wracking flight with suitcase in hand, Arnie checks into a motel that's just a tad above seedy in Jacksonville, Florida. Should never have answered that knock at the door, Arnie.Arnie's run-in will be felt all the way to McFalls County, Georgia. Dane Kirby of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations will receive a phone call demanding his presence in Jacksonville. After a rough-and-ready helicopter flight to Jacksonville, Dane is met at Arnie's motel room by the FBI. Dane is perplexed as to why he's been nailed to this new case. He's introduced to Special Agent Roselita Velasquez and, by the way, don't call her Rosie or Rose. She'll step on your tongue and leave painful prints. You see, Arnie's prior stop was in Dane's territory and he headed into something bad. Very bad. Arnie's ten year old Autistic brother, William, is missing as well. William was suppose to have been waiting for Arnie at an undisclosed area. It's now up to Dane and Agent Velasquez to find the missing William. Dane and his new partner will widen their net and will find plenty of dead fish floating on the surface.Brian Panowich is a master at creating storylines that are dug deep into the grit of Georgia clay. This is the third in this series, but it can be read as a standalone. Panowich will open the door on Dane's past life circumstances and will add an unexpected layer to his present situation. Dane is a complicated fellow, but then life in Bull Mountain is rich with backwoods and backstories. If you've not had the pleasure of partaking in a Panowich novel, do yourself a huge favor and crack this one open. There's a prize inside every one guaranteed.I received a copy of Hard Cash Valley through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to St. Martin's Press and to the talented Brian Panowich.
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  • Sandra ~ ♥ Cross My Heart ♥
    January 1, 1970
    Two things occurred as I read the final page of Hard Cash Valley - I wiped the tears off my face and struggled with a deep rooted desire to start over at the beginning and read it again. Wow. Just wow. This story is a powerfully moving illustration of Southern Noir at its finest. This is why I read and love Grit Lit, especially from authors who can deliver it with heart as Brian Panowich has done in Hard Cash Valley. Not only has he rendered a dark, gritty, graphic tale of anguish, vengeance, an Two things occurred as I read the final page of Hard Cash Valley - I wiped the tears off my face and struggled with a deep rooted desire to start over at the beginning and read it again. Wow. Just wow. This story is a powerfully moving illustration of Southern Noir at its finest. This is why I read and love Grit Lit, especially from authors who can deliver it with heart as Brian Panowich has done in Hard Cash Valley. Not only has he rendered a dark, gritty, graphic tale of anguish, vengeance, and tragedy, he's also spun a tale of redemption, hope, and love. A story that will linger with me for some time. One I know I'll eventually reread.The story begins with lowlife scum Arnie Blackwell on the run with a suitcase full of money and improbable dreams. When his mutilated body is later found in a Florida motel, GBI Agent Dane Kirby is called away from the crime scene of another murder in McFalls County, Georgia, to investigate. Despite his protests, Kirby's ordered to partner up with reluctant FBI Agent Roselita Velasquez to find Blackwell's missing eleven year old brother who has Asperger's syndrome and an uncanny gift for numbers, before the killers do. With time running out, the agents are astounded to realize where the dark, bloody, twisted trail leads - a place where morality is sorely lacking and hard cash and swift vengeance are abundant. A place where violence is bred and law is scorned. A place where Dane Kirby has history . . . and a score to settle. That's all you'll get from me about the story other than to say it's intense, raw, gutsy, and absolutely riveting. While it's listed as book 3 of the Bull Mountain series, it tells the story of a completely different family and stands alone.Panowich is a skillful master of tightly woven plot lines brought to life through vivid prose and dimensional characters who are deeply flawed - some worthy of redemption, some not. The author pairs Kirby - a good man with a broken heart and a strong sense of justice who's killing time while mourning ghosts from the past with Roselita - a smart and spunky spitfire of a woman with a chip on her shoulder who often speaks before she thinks. Together, they form the perfect odd couple who bicker a lot and trust little. Through graphic prose, Panowich's authentic descriptive settings tease all the senses, emphasizing the contrast between the beauty of the valley and the dangerous reality of The Farm while a dark tone of trepidation and malice intensifies at a steady pace. All of it together adds up to one of the best Southern Noir books I've read in a long time. Hard Cash Valley claims a spot on my 2020 Favorite's Shelf. Highly Recommended!*A special thank you to Minotaur Books for a paperback arc of this book! #MinotaurInfluencers**Reviewed at: Cross My Heart Reviews
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Another amazing read by Brian Panowich!!! I didn't know if this was going to live up to my expectations after having read and loved Bull Mountain but no worries here!!! It was everything I had hoped for and more, gritty non-stop action that had me on the edge of my seat til the very last page. He has given me another flawed and broken character to love and his name is Dane Kirby. I know I will be eagerly awaiting his next book and he is easily one of my favorite authors. Highly recommend!!!Thank Another amazing read by Brian Panowich!!! I didn't know if this was going to live up to my expectations after having read and loved Bull Mountain but no worries here!!! It was everything I had hoped for and more, gritty non-stop action that had me on the edge of my seat til the very last page. He has given me another flawed and broken character to love and his name is Dane Kirby. I know I will be eagerly awaiting his next book and he is easily one of my favorite authors. Highly recommend!!!Thank you Minotaur Books and Netgalley for the ARC.
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  • Esil
    January 1, 1970
    It took me a long time to read this book. I have been distracted by the relentless scary news about covid 19. As I hunker down with my family, I'm hoping to get back into reading as a form of relief...Brian Panowich writes a good mean story. I've read all of his previous boos. Hard Cash Valley fits right in there. I'm not going to give much of a description to avoid spoilers. Suffice it to say that we're back in McFalls County. Dane Kirby, who works for the FBI, is called upon to help with a mur It took me a long time to read this book. I have been distracted by the relentless scary news about covid 19. As I hunker down with my family, I'm hoping to get back into reading as a form of relief...Brian Panowich writes a good mean story. I've read all of his previous boos. Hard Cash Valley fits right in there. I'm not going to give much of a description to avoid spoilers. Suffice it to say that we're back in McFalls County. Dane Kirby, who works for the FBI, is called upon to help with a murder investigation that starts in Florida but leads back to cockfighting in McFalls County. The set up was great -- great characters and good suspenseful beginning. It dragged down a bit in the middle, but then I thought the end was brilliant. Panowich is a master at creating tense scenes and the end of Hard cash Valley was right up there for me. Thanks to the publisher, Netgalley and Edelweiss for giving me access to an advance copy.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Rounding UpMy first Brian Panowich and what a great introduction it was. This was fast paced, but not so quick with action that it lacked depth. I thought how it switched between the perspective of the victims and the investigation was very well thought out and cleverly executed. I'm not sure if I struggled with some things because I haven't read the first two books? I had trouble connecting emotionally with the MC at times, but I really think that's me and not the book. I find that I'm havi 3.5 Rounding UpMy first Brian Panowich and what a great introduction it was. This was fast paced, but not so quick with action that it lacked depth. I thought how it switched between the perspective of the victims and the investigation was very well thought out and cleverly executed. I'm not sure if I struggled with some things because I haven't read the first two books? I had trouble connecting emotionally with the MC at times, but I really think that's me and not the book. I find that I'm having the opposite reaction of friends who read this and enjoyed the sections that didn't revolve around the investigation. I know that it was there to provide depth to the story and the MC, but it didn't work for me for some reason. I don't have a really good reason so don't take my opinion too seriously. What did bother me was a portion at the end that really challenged me to suspend reality and that I just couldn't shake off. That knocked it down a star. Overall, a good book, but it isn't my favorite. I rounded up because I did enjoy the investigation and the action scenes very much.Many thanks to Joe Brosnan at Minotaur Books for sending me a galley to read and review. Also, thank you to the author.Review Date: 05/03/2020Publication Date: 05/05/2020
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  • Faith
    January 1, 1970
    In the acknowledgements of this book, the author says that the book demonstrates that love conquers all. I disagree. I think it demonstrates that everyone is scum, but some people get away with it. This is a fast paced crime novel crammed with ethically challenged characters, the sole exception being an 11 year old boy who is the subject of an extensive search. The book has a very high body count. Not surprising considering it features a Filipino gang, thugs who run a cock fighting enterprise, a In the acknowledgements of this book, the author says that the book demonstrates that love conquers all. I disagree. I think it demonstrates that everyone is scum, but some people get away with it. This is a fast paced crime novel crammed with ethically challenged characters, the sole exception being an 11 year old boy who is the subject of an extensive search. The book has a very high body count. Not surprising considering it features a Filipino gang, thugs who run a cock fighting enterprise, a mysterious assassin and a bag filled with lots of cash. And of course everyone has a gun, because this is America. This is the third book set in the same area of Georgia and it refers to events that occurred in the previous books, however this works as a standalone. 3.5 stars I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    MUST! HAVE! THIS! BOOK! there's a giveaway for it now, but don't all go storming the gates because i don't want you ruining my chances!!
  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    I've been in a bit of a book slump recently, but Panowich does not disappoint! I wasn't sure where we could go next in Bull Mountain and it took me a minute to warm up to Dane. Somewhere Dane grabbed me and I needed to know what was next for him. We start out in a hotel room in Jacksonville, FL and race back to McFalls County in Georgia. The pace is fast while all the characters are racing to find the same person - a young boy with Asperger's with a skill with numbers. Panowich did toss in a cur I've been in a bit of a book slump recently, but Panowich does not disappoint! I wasn't sure where we could go next in Bull Mountain and it took me a minute to warm up to Dane. Somewhere Dane grabbed me and I needed to know what was next for him. We start out in a hotel room in Jacksonville, FL and race back to McFalls County in Georgia. The pace is fast while all the characters are racing to find the same person - a young boy with Asperger's with a skill with numbers. Panowich did toss in a curve ball in this story and I wouldn't expect less. I'd complain if he didn't. There is just something about southern grit lit that hooks me and I wish more books would come out in this genre. You don't have to read the first two books in the series to enjoy this one, but I recommend you don't miss them. Coming your way May 5th. Thank you to the author, publisher and netgalley for the ARC.
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    Hard Cash Valley by Author Brian Panowich, starts off running and just does not stop. An action packed and gritty tale of Southern Noir, set in rural Georgia.A book that can not be put down once it is started.The chaotic life of Dane Kirby is one that readers will emphasize withFor lovers of good mystery thrillers this is one to pick up, and for those who have not read any of Brian Panowich’s books before - you will be hooked.Thanks to NetGalley, the Author and St. Martin’s Press for my advanced Hard Cash Valley by Author Brian Panowich, starts off running and just does not stop. An action packed and gritty tale of Southern Noir, set in rural Georgia.A book that can not be put down once it is started.The chaotic life of Dane Kirby is one that readers will emphasize withFor lovers of good mystery thrillers this is one to pick up, and for those who have not read any of Brian Panowich’s books before - you will be hooked.Thanks to NetGalley, the Author and St. Martin’s Press for my advanced copy to review
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  • Karen R
    January 1, 1970
    4.5. A top notch crime thriller about an investigation into a gruesome murder. Complex writing packed with snappy dialogue, suspense and action, I was hooked and finished the book in two days. Loved the characters, especially Dane Kirby, a flawed yet faithful and honorable man with a broken soul, carrying a huge weight on his shoulders and William, an eleven-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome and sibling of the murdered victim who is MIA.
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  • Bam cooks the books ;-)
    January 1, 1970
    This was my first opportunity to read a book in Panowich's Bull Mountain series. I found the thriller riveting; I'd definitely like to read more in this series. The story was equal parts hard-bitten, gritty Southern noir and heart-breaking drama with lots of graphic gore mixed in. Memories of these interesting characters, damaged by life, will stick with me in the days to come. I received an arc of this new thriller from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I'm grateful This was my first opportunity to read a book in Panowich's Bull Mountain series. I found the thriller riveting; I'd definitely like to read more in this series. The story was equal parts hard-bitten, gritty Southern noir and heart-breaking drama with lots of graphic gore mixed in. Memories of these interesting characters, damaged by life, will stick with me in the days to come. I received an arc of this new thriller from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I'm grateful for the opportunity.
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  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    Hard Cash Valley by Brian Panowich returns to the rural mountain areas of Georgia for a mostly stand-alone novel of what has come to be known as Country Noir/Rural Noir.When it comes to Country/Rural Noir, I have found the more enjoyable stories often contain a number of certain themes. One of them, of course, is the writer's ability to aptly describe a region or geographical area in almost touchable detail. Another aspect is creating places most people either don't go or don't want to go and en Hard Cash Valley by Brian Panowich returns to the rural mountain areas of Georgia for a mostly stand-alone novel of what has come to be known as Country Noir/Rural Noir.When it comes to Country/Rural Noir, I have found the more enjoyable stories often contain a number of certain themes. One of them, of course, is the writer's ability to aptly describe a region or geographical area in almost touchable detail. Another aspect is creating places most people either don't go or don't want to go and entrance to these places is done under apprehension. Places especially those that are unknown to persons outside of the area. Most successful characters also tend to be haunted or damaged and exist in a world of deep secrets of both their own lives and of those within the story. The better villains also tend to the sort that is terrifying as humans and not bred to contain some sort of exaggerated nature that tends to make them unbelievable or cartoon-ish. Brian Panowich's writing in Hard Cash Valley contains most of these, which leads to another excellent novel of Country/Rural Noir.Characters of previous novels by Panowich are briefly reintroduced while Panowich introduces Dane Kirby, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, as he tries to unravel a series of murders he at first believes has nothing to do with him or where he is from. Previous characters introduced by Panowich in Bull Mountain and Like Lions are not involved in this novel, but are referred back to for mainly historical relevancy. Kirby is also haunted and carrying demons and secrets of his own.Kirby is summoned to Florida to assist in the investigation of the murdered man in a Jacksonville motel. He has been tasked by his boss to assist the FBI in the investigation of a murdered man he does not know. At first Kirby questions why he was even summoned until it is revealed the murdered man has ties back to the rural area where Kirby is from and Kirby possesses relevant regional information helpful to the investigation. Along the way, it is also learned the brother to the murder victim, a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome is missing and is being hunted by others for some unknown reason. Against his wishes, Kirby is paired with resistant Roselita Velasquez, an abrasive, by the book hard-edged FBI agent, and ordered to locate the boy before harm comes to the boy.Panowich's tales are consistent, well-crafted tales and this novel is highly recommended to those that enjoy all of the current writers in the Country/Rural Noir genre.
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  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    "I'm dreaming wide awakeSleep walking, shake the dust outGot to give this heart a break,I can't seem to slow the beats downThere ain't no going homeJust a silence and a wave goodbyeI don't really know about nothin'Just know that I'm wasting time now" lyrics by Jake Smith (The White Buffalo)Hard Cash Valley is the third novel by Brian Panowich, and each book keeps getting better and better. Panowich knows how to take a character and a storyline and make them each hard as nails yet tender as a "I'm dreaming wide awakeSleep walking, shake the dust outGot to give this heart a break,I can't seem to slow the beats downThere ain't no going homeJust a silence and a wave goodbyeI don't really know about nothin'Just know that I'm wasting time now" lyrics by Jake Smith (The White Buffalo)Hard Cash Valley is the third novel by Brian Panowich, and each book keeps getting better and better. Panowich knows how to take a character and a storyline and make them each hard as nails yet tender as a green leaf of spring.With a slight nod to his previous books, Bull Mountain and Like Lions, the author creates a new character from the mountain, named Dane Kirby, a former arson investigator and current agent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Dane has ghosts he lives with every day, and he isn't thrilled when he's called to help find a young boy with Asperger's whose brother was brutally murdered. His relationships with his partner in the search and his other acquaintances, some old and some new, lead the reader up and down and all around, from Florida back to his Georgia mountain.As with Panowich's other novels, this one is filled with violence, blood and cruelty, which means it might not be for everyone. But it is also full of heartache, wistfulness and hope, so I suggest you give it a chance even if you don't think it's your style. Dane's discussions with his wife are deeply personal and one of my favorite parts of the book, although the entire story is excellent. I'll keep eagerly looking for more from this author.A big thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press and Minotaur Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.5 big stars
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  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    January 1, 1970
    Dane Kirby has witnessed a lot of crime and chaos as a life long resident of and arson investigator for McFalls County, Georgia.  Now working for the GBI, he's called to Florida to consult with the FBI on a brutal murder.Arnie Blackwell, a life long petty criminal from North Georgia, is dead in a Jacksonville hotel room after winning a huge pay day.  The money is nowhere to be found and his eleven-year-old brother William is missing and in danger.Dane is partnered with FBI Special Agent Roselita Dane Kirby has witnessed a lot of crime and chaos as a life long resident of and arson investigator for McFalls County, Georgia.  Now working for the GBI, he's called to Florida to consult with the FBI on a brutal murder.Arnie Blackwell, a life long petty criminal from North Georgia, is dead in a Jacksonville hotel room after winning a huge pay day.  The money is nowhere to be found and his eleven-year-old brother William is missing and in danger.Dane is partnered with FBI Special Agent Roselita Velasquez to locate William and it's a race against the clock as they seem to be one step behind the murderer who is leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.A trip to Hard Cash Valley may hold the answers they need but they may not get out alive.Brian Panowich is the author at the top of my list for country/rural noir.  He writes effortlessly about Georgia and its residents because he knows them both so well.  I liked Dane's back story which was explained in depth and enhanced the story without taking over the main plot.  He's a complex character that I trusted instantly and made this an excellent grit lit novel with heart.Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  Hard Cash Valley is scheduled for release on May 5, 2020.For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
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  • Dee Arr
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book meant to be savored and enjoyed, from the from the rocket-like beginning through the gut-wrenching evil of the perpetrators on to the revelations of human nature from the more hardboiled characters in this tale. Author Brian Panowich leads us down the separate paths taken by the participants in the story, exposing how people act in difficult and stressful situations.What I first noticed in the initial chapters was that when the point of view changed to different characters, the en This is a book meant to be savored and enjoyed, from the from the rocket-like beginning through the gut-wrenching evil of the perpetrators on to the revelations of human nature from the more hardboiled characters in this tale. Author Brian Panowich leads us down the separate paths taken by the participants in the story, exposing how people act in difficult and stressful situations.What I first noticed in the initial chapters was that when the point of view changed to different characters, the entire feel of the chapter changed. Descriptive passages matched the moods and characteristics of the people telling the story at that moment rather than the author presenting a one-size-fits-all style. Rather than begin the story with an introductory feel designed to showcase the main character, Mr. Panowich drops us in the middle of a tense situation and brings us along for the ride as the events play out. I was easily hooked right from the first page. For me, the ending came straight out of left field. Normally, that might not be a bad thing, as long as it makes sense. However, having someone do a number of things that are out of character and never explaining why is like pulling the ultimate villain’s name out of a hat. Without justification, it could be anyone. The climax would have been better suited for an action-filled movie rather than tagged onto a book that was doing just fine and didn’t need the author to pull out every trick in the bag.For those who object to profanities/vulgarities in their stories, know there is a moderate amount in this book. Personally, I thought the use of such words appropriate to the mood of the book and the characters. This is a good tale with a grittiness throughout, and (for better or worse) reflects the words that are a current part of our society. Overall, “Hard Cash Valley” contains some unique plot ideas and Mr. Panowich is skilled when setting scenes for the reader. Recommended. Four stars.My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a complimentary electronic copy of this book.
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