Down Don't Bother Me: Slim in Little Egypt
HarperCollins, 2015 (2015)
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
outhern Illinois mining country is known as
. Reporter Dwayne May's body is found in the depths of the Knight Hawk mine with his mini-recorder tied around his neck and a notepad stuffed in his mouth. A terrible place to die. Deep, dark, lonely and depressing. He must have been on the trail of a story. May's photographer, Guy Beckett, is missing as well.
ince Beckett is the mine owner's son-in-law, this is a crime that can't be ignored. Not in Little Egypt. Slim has a reputation for finding those who are lost. Matthew Luster, the mine owner, approaches Slim to find the missing man. Slim is not happy with the treatment of the miners – poor working conditions, poor pay, run off from the mines poisoning the water. Too many cases of cancer as well as terrible lung problems.
ven though he is offered a better working position in the mine, he turns down the owner. However, when he is promised that his pension will be secured, he accepts. He has a young daughter's future to consider. This decision pulls Slim into a mire of '
rednecks, rubes, freaks, tweakers, gun nuts, and aging hippies
'. Not to mention the possibility of another murder or so. Including Slim’s.
own Don't Bother Me
begins as an unpretentious novel that becomes a testimony to the perils and after-effects of mining, about which I am sure the author, Jason Miller, feels strongly. He certainly brings to light a different life than you or I live. Extremely different. I found this book very intriguing, opening up a whole new facet of the world.
lso, I was fascinated by Miller's descriptive art. His appreciation of nature is very evident without intruding at all on the plot. It's a true pleasure to walk with him through the beautiful countryside and feel a part of it. The story, however, will grip you and not let go until its dénouement. A very good read.
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