Donald Harstad was an Iowa deputy sheriff for 26 years, and only retired so that he could pursue his passion for writing. His first book was a well-received police mystery, Eleven Days. The same solid foundation of experience anchors Harstad's second mystery about Iowa deputy sheriff Carl Houseman, a sharp and likable 50-year-old with weight and blood pressure problems and strong opinions on every aspect of policing.|
Known Dead begins with the murder of a state narcotics agent killed on Houseman's Nation County turf while staking out a marijuana patch. Blasts of gunfire from a band of mysterious shooters take out the agent and one local smalltime dealer. Then, while various federal and state agencies wrestle for control of the case, two more Nation County cops are shot down at the farm of a local extremist with links to a large militant group. As the resourceful Houseman tries to connect the shootings and keep some of the investigation in his own office, we learn all sorts of information about guns, bullets, trajectories, stakeouts, interagency rivalries, and the eating habits of cops of all kinds--taken no doubt from the author's lively memory and imagination.
In the American heartland, someone is killing cops.
The ambush exploded in an Iowa marijuana field. The weapons were high caliber. The pot was high grade. And the reporters said afterward: "We have two known dead...."
Deputy Sheriff Carl Houseman knew the dead all right: One was a small-time doper, the other a good cop. But Houseman doesn't know why they died, or who cut them down in a blaze of automatic rifle fire. Now, as the Feds descend on Nation County, Houseman and his fellow cops are suddenly walking point--searching for answers amidst the violence, treachery, and evil in their own backyard....