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Plains Crazy    by J. M. Hayes order for
Plains Crazy
by J. M. Hayes
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Benteen County, Kansas. Middle America. Nothing untoward ever happens there. Until ... a reality TV program starts filming and a member of the cast dies with an authentic Cheyenne arrow in his back. While Sheriff English is investigating this, his brother Mad Dog's name is thrown in as a likely suspect, as he and his wolf Hailey were jogging nearby when the arrow found its mark. Then the world as English and his brother knew it completely blows apart - literally. Bombs are being placed all over town and threaten to disrupt the Buffalo Days Celebration. Notes with the bombs point to foreign terrorists. Sheriff English's equilibrium takes a complete nosedive when his wife Judy announces she's taking a long promised trip to Paris - with or without him.

Plains Crazy is a delight. Zany, with at least a laugh a page. The storyline takes unexpected turns. It hies off in what seems like an unconnected direction and then slides back on course without a hitch. The action never stops. The characterizations seem so bizarre that the reader has to take them at face value. And enjoy them. I love the naming of these people who live on the plains. With a last name of English and a brother who has gone native and taken the name Mad Dog, what else could the sheriff be called but Englishman? He has two daughters, both of whom are named Heather - so they become One and Two. There's an inept deputy whose last name is Wynn - oh, read this fun book and discover for yourself. Plains Crazy is J. M. Hayes' fourth mystery. I have not read the first three but plan to recify that.

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