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Samuel Craddock Series

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock
6
The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake
5
A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge
4
Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek
3
The Last Death of Jack Harbin
2
A Killing at Cotton Hill
1

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An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock

Book 6

"...a timely story with resonance in the era of Black Lives Matter."
   —Publishers Weekly

When the Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to douse a blaze on the outskirts of town, they discover a grisly scene: five black young people have been murdered. Newly elected Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, just back from a stint in the Air Force, finds himself an outsider in the investigation headed by the Texas Highway Patrol. He takes an immediate dislike to John Sutherland, a racist trooper

Craddock's fears are realized when Sutherland arrests Truly Bennett, a young black man whom Craddock knows and respects. Sutherland cites dubious evidence that points to Bennett, and Craddock uncovers facts leading in another direction. When Sutherland refuses to relent, Craddock is faced with a choice that will define him as a lawman—either let the highway patrol have its way, or take on a separate investigation himself.

Although his choice to investigate puts both Craddock and his family in danger, he prevails in getting Bennett freed. In the process he learns that his job ends at the city limits.

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Seventh Street Books, paperback, January 2017, ISBN: 9781633882096

Excerpted from the Publishers Weekly article:
"Dirty Blue Line: Police Corruption and Brutality in Crime Fiction"

New crime novels delve into policing’s sordid underbelly, merging classic genre themes with zeitgeisty plots
By Jordan Foster, Nov 18, 2016

We live in gray times, the days of stark black and white far behind us. In fiction, particularly crime fiction, the means for making sense of this gray landscape so often is the lawman (or law-woman), as conflicted a label as that now may be. “The cop is such a fascinating topic—dirty or clean,” says Juliet Grames, associate publisher at Soho Press. “We’re at a historical moment where a lot of Americans are experiencing the cognitive dissonance that both of these [labels] exist simultaneously, and for good reason, all over the country.”

Upcoming crime novels set in all corners of this country and, indeed, across the globe, reflect this uneasy state: it’s often those who are meant to do the protecting who end up being feared the most. Here, we take a look at what’s next in graft, corruption, and brutality. But don’t worry: it’s only fiction, right?...

Southern Discomfort

Down South, the cities may be smaller but the magnitude of the crimes doesn’t shrink in proportion. “It’s the job of crime fiction to explore crime in all of its ramifications,” says Terry Shames, author of An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock (Prometheus Books, Jan. 2017). Shames sets her series featuring Sheriff Craddock in the fictional Texas town of Jarrett Creek. “When law enforcement is part of the problem, it presents a particularly difficult situation.”

The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake

The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake

Book 5

"The authentic small-town ambiance, a cast of meticulously developed characters, and Craddock's easygoing first-person narrative should more than satisfy series fans."
   —Publishers Weekly

Nonie Blake is back home from a mental institution where she has spent the last twenty years, and people in Jarrett Creek are worried. Maybe too worried, for within a week of her return, Nonie is murdered.

Chief Samuel Craddock thinks the only possible suspects are members of her tight-lipped family. Ever since Nonie tried to kill her sister when she was fourteen and was sent away to the institution, the family has kept to itself.

Clues are scarce and Craddock is stumped. So he checks with therapists at the mental hospital to see whether they can add anything useful to his investigation. But he discovers that she has not been there for ten years. Now Craddock has to find out where Nonie has been all this time.

Soon Craddock finds himself dealing not only with murder, but layers of deception and secrets, and in the midst of it all—a new deputy, one Maria Trevino, sent by the sheriff to beef up security in the small Texas town.

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Seventh Street Books, paperback, January 2016, ISBN: 9781633880467


A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge

A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge

Book 4

"...one of the most engaging new central characters in American crime fiction...."
   —Toronto Star

In the fourth book in the Samuel Craddock series, Craddock is confronted with secrets that undermine his friendship with his neighbor Jenny Sandstone. On her deathbed, Jenny Sandstone's mother tells Craddock that Jenny is in danger and asks Craddock to protect her. Jenny rebuffs Craddock's attempts to find out more.

Frightening incidents indicate that someone has targeted Jenny, though, and when someone tries to kill her, Craddock insists that Jenny reveal what he needs to know to protect her. She becomes more and more resistant to his help. Drinking too much, she spins into a self-destructive cycle of rage and despair. Craddock refuses to give up and finally Jenny reveals the secret that has stunted her life. Exploring what that secret has to do with the current danger she is in, Craddock's investigation leads him to uncover more than a few buried secrets.

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Seventh Street Books, paperback, April 2015, ISBN: 9781633880467


Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek

Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek

Book 3

"There may be no protagonist in our genre today as
decently compelling as Samuel Craddock."

   —William Kent Krueger

Jarrett Creek is bankrupt. Gary Dellmore, heir apparent to the main bank, is dead, apparently murdered. Samuel Craddock thought he was retired but now he's been asked to return as police chief. Dellmore supposedly had a roving eye, although his wife says he was never serious about dallying. Still, Craddock wonders: Did the husbands and fathers of women he flirted with think he was harmless? What about his current lover, who insists that Dellmore was going to leave his wife for her?

Craddock discovers that Dellmore had a record of bad business investments. Even worse, he took a kickback from a loan he procured, which ultimately drove the town into bankruptcy. Many people had motive to want Dellmore dead.

Then the investigation turns up another crime. As Craddock digs down to the root of this mess, many in Jarrett Creek are left wondering what happened to the innocence of their close-knit community.

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Seventh Street Books, paperback, October 2014, ISBN: 9781616149963


The Last Death of Jack Harbin

The Last Death of Jack Harbin

Book 2

"A gritty take on small-town crime."
   —Booklist

Just before the outbreak of the Gulf War, two eighteen-year-old football stars and best friends from Jarrett Creek, Texas, signed up for the army. But Woody Patterson was rejected and stayed home to marry the girl they both loved. Jack Harbin came back from the war badly damaged, and the two men haven't spoken since. They are about to reconcile when Jack is brutally murdered. With the chief of police out of commission, it's up to trusted ex-chief Samuel Craddock to investigate. He discovers dark secrets of the past and present as he searches for Jack's killer.

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Seventh Street Books, paperback, January 2014, ISBN: 9781616148713


A Killing at Cotton Hill

A Killing at Cotton Hill

Book 1

"The poetic, literary quality of the writing draws you in."
   —RT Book Reviews

The chief of police of Jarrett Creek, Texas, doubles as the town drunk. So when Dora Lee Parjeter is murdered, her old friend and former police chief Samuel Craddock steps in. He discovers that a lot of people may have had it in for Dora Lee—the conniving rascals on the farm next door, her estranged daughter, and her live-in grandson. And then there's that stranger Dora Lee claimed was spying on her. As Craddock digs to find the identity of the killer, the human foibles of the small-town residents—their pettiness and generosity, their secret vices and true virtues—are also revealed.

Read an excerpt (pdf)
Read Terry's interview in ITW's The Big Thrill
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Seventh Street Books, paperback, July 2013, ISBN: 9781616147990

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