Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press
NEW!

The Killing Hills

by Chris Offutt

Acclaimed literary author Chris Offutt now delivers a breakout novel — The Killing Hills, a literary crime novel set in the Kentucky hills in which an Army CID agent on leave ends up investigating a murder and setting the secretive holler clans on edge

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 240
  • Publication Date June 15, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5841-3
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $26.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Publication Date June 15, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5842-0
  • US List Price $26.00

A literary master across genres, award-winning author Chris Offutt’s latest novel, The Killing Hills, is a compelling, propulsive thriller in which a suspicious death exposes the loyalties and rivalries of a deep-rooted and fiercely private community in the Kentucky backwoods.

Mick Hardin, a combat veteran now working as an Army CID agent, is home on a leave that is almost done. His wife is about to give birth, but they aren’t getting along. His sister, newly risen to sheriff, has just landed her first murder case, and local politicians are pushing for city police or the FBI to take the case. Are they convinced she can’t handle it, or is there something else at work? She calls on Mick who, with his homicide investigation experience and familiarity with the terrain, is well-suited to staying under the radar. As he delves into the investigation, he dodges his commanding officer’s increasingly urgent calls while attempting to head off further murders. And he needs to talk to his wife.

The Killing Hills is a novel of betrayal—sexual, personal, within and between the clans that populate the hollers—and the way it so often shades into violence. Chris Offutt has delivered a dark, witty, and absolutely compelling novel of murder and honor, with an investigator-hero unlike any in fiction.

Tags Literary

Praise for Chris Offutt and Country Dark

“Everyone should be reading Chris Offutt.”—Garth Greenwell

“Dark, but deeply humane. The love in this book is deep and powerful. And winsome twinkles shine through the blackness throughout, thanks in no small part to Offutt’s keen ear and eye.”—Smith Henderson, New York Times

“Offutt impressively inhabits this impoverished, fiercely private world without condescension or romance, fashioning a lean, atmospheric story that moves fluidly between the extremes of violence and love . . . Offutt is such a measured and unexcitable stylist that the story never wallows in the grotesque . . . [A] fine homage to a pocket of the country that’s as beautiful as it is prone to tragedy.”—Wall Street Journal

“Chris Offutt’s work about mountain life earns high praise from other writers, and Country Dark, his return to fiction, is entirely welcome and a pleasure all around.…Offutt writes so well, with such deep knowledge of the language and people, that Country Dark is likely to be read straight through, no resting places.”—Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone

Country Dark is such a strong work, one hopes we won’t have to wait nearly as long for additional fiction from his pen . . . Offutt’s prose is sharp and the noir tone of the book never wavers. Even more importantly, his dialogue, shaped by the dialect of the region, rings true. Country Dark may read like a mythical epic, but its characters feel wholly real.”—Cedar Rapids Gazette

“[Chris Offutt] writes so well and knows the people and places he writes about . . . [and] he has the ability to enter the minds of his characters. Country Dark is a heart-wrenching story of a man who is caught between violence and his love. It is the story of a man who knows how to use violence to protect his love and dignity. This is one of those stay-up-all-night novels we all yearn for.”—Washington Book Review

“Like the late, great Larry Brown and the late, great William Gay, Chris Offutt delivers a hardscrabble, mythic South with a laconic voice that turns sly to describe the follies of Man . . . Country Dark is a smart, rich country noir.”—Stewart O’Nan, author of Henry, Himself

“If Tucker is a man of few words neither are there wasted words in Chris Offutt’s bang-bang second novel, Country Dark . . . [Offutt is] a refined, versatile writer, sometimes impish, always ecumenical, never snobbish . . . He scatters little halos of earthy metaphor … locates dark prophecy in shades of detail . . . [and] has a great ear for humorous rural chatter.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“There are very few things that are worth waiting for . . . Let us add new fiction from author Chris Offutt to that short list . . . Country Dark is exquisitely plotted and wonderfully told . . . This is one of those books that reminds us why we constantly read, which is the hope of discovering a work such as this that succeeds on all imaginable levels as well as a few unexpected ones.”—Book Reporter

“It’s been nearly 20 years since Offutt’s Out of the Woods (1999), and his return to fiction will be celebrated by all readers of country noir . . . Tucker is a true existential hero, facing his circumscribed world directly and acting with unflinching determination. His story, like the work of Daniel Woodrell, is both heartrendingly painful and unsentimentally uplifting.”—Booklist

“A lean, mean meditation on family, boundaries, and what a good man will do to protect the ones he loves. In this blood-and whiskey-soaked landscape, I’m reminded of both Faulkner and Steve Earle. A morality tale where grit and heart hold equal weight.”—Ace Atkins, author of The Revelators

Country Dark is a taut, well-constructed novel easily consumed in one sitting.”—Shelf Awareness

“Chris Offutt has crafted a whole new kind of book—steeped in elements of noir and rich cinematic devices—brimming with characters that are simultaneously realistic while also mythical in the best, bigger-than-real-life kind of way. Country Dark is a perfect balance of wonderful language and pulsing action. I couldn’t put it down.”—Silas House, author of Southernmost

“I’ve waited nearly twenty years for another novel by Chris Offutt, and boy is Country Dark worth it! From its excellent title to its last page, this one will pull you in and immerse you in the lives of its myriad characters . . . Offutt is a terrific writer with impressive range.”—Thomas Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Country Dark is grim and funny and touching. It’s a crime story, a novel of backwoods manners, and a family saga. It’s many things at once, all of them great. Masterful descriptions of the natural world bump up against scenes of shocking violence, and you’re left in awe, wondering how the hell Chris Offutt managed to pull this book off.”—Richard Lange, author of The Smack

“In Offutt’s first work of fiction since 1997’s The Good Brother, the award-winning author delivers a rich, compelling story of hardscrabble Kentucky mountain life while showing deep empathy for his careworn characters.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“A Southern gothic story . . . Offutt has a fine ear for Kentucky-speak . . . that capture[s] the rhythms of rural conversation . . . Tucker is a knotty and complex character . . . A compelling and brooding read.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Offutt’s exceptional new novel (following his memoir My Father, the Pornographer) brings to light with gritty, heartfelt precision what one character, a social worker, calls the ‘two Kentuckys, east and west, dirt and blacktop.’ . . . Offutt’s prose cuts deep and sharp . . . An undeniable testament to the importance and clarity of Offutt’s voice in contemporary American literature.”—Publishers Weekly

“[Offutt’s] bleak, savage depictions of rural down-and-outers combine the literary style of James Dickey with the noir chops of Daniel Woodrell. He has a well-deserved reputation as a writer’s writer. . . Tense and atmospheric, Country Dark is firmly rooted in time and place, with the verisimilitude expected from a writer who has made the shadowy hills of Kentucky his own.”—BookPage