Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich

bull-mountain_Clayton Burroughs is a bit surprised when an agent from the ATF walks into his office. As sheriff of a small community in Georgia, a visit from an agent of a  federal agency was a rarity, but Clayton guessed that whatever the agent wanted it had something to do with Bull Mountain. It wasn’t that Clayton wanted to protect the meth operations that occurred on the mountain, or the fact that the person who ran the operation was his brother, Halford.  No, it was the fact that every time the Feds got  involved they wanted to storm the mountain and that was a path to death and destruction, not only for those who lived on the mountain but for the law enforcement officials who would be taking part in the operation. Clayton knew that Bull Mountain was exceedingly well protected. No one would come out alive from any encounter there.

But Agent Simon Holly had a different proposition for Sheriff Burroughs. He wanted an inside to track on the suppliers in Florida who provided Bull Mountain with the raw materials for their meth and their guns and ammunition. Simon’s proposition was that if Halford Burroughs gave up the name and location of his supplier and retired from the drug business, the feds would drop all charges against him and let him go free. It was an interesting proposition, and Clayton wasn’t sure it would work, but he decides to work with Agent Simon and see where it would lead. What Clayton did not know and wouldn’t find out until it was almost too late was that a darker, hidden force is also at work, one that could not only destroy Bull Mountain but could also kill him as well.

Panowich is hard hitting, and his terse, punchy, prose moves the story along quickly. He is sensitive to the conflict of loyalties that Sheriff Burroughs embodies, and the drive for success that motivates Agent Simon. The torturous lives of those who live on Bull Mountain is told realistically but the brutality and the blind loyalty are tough to read. Having read this soon after reading Hillbilly Elegy, I found that many of the themes along with the stark contrast in culture overlapped between the books only this time as fiction. Fast paced, with many different twists and turns, this insightful bookbull-mountain_ kept me going until the last page!

Brenda’s Rating: ****(4 out of 5 Stars)

Recommend this book to: Ken, Sharon and Marian

Book Study Worthy? Yes

Read in ebook format.



This entry was posted in Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich

  1. June says:

    Wow! BRENDA your description of the book makes me want to find out what the dark mystery is! June

  2. Ken Burton says:

    I was appalled by the violence in this novel. Yes, it is well-written, fast-moving and engaging, but the absence of true law enforcement and the willingness of multiple characters to try to resolve their issues out of the barrel of a gun. “The brutality and blind loyalty” are more than simply “tough to read.” They are a statement of civilized values gone horribly awry. . Although set in the immediate past, this story would better be called dystopian for its sheer bloody horror. Now I wish that I had not read it, but once started, I could not put it down.

    • bseat says:

      Thanks, Ken. Yes, it was violent, but I think it reflects a real reality in many rural areas beset with drugs and criminal enterprise. In Hillbilly Elegy, the author references this kind of breakdown and indicates that it is one of the reasons for Trump’s successful rise in popularity in these areas. I see these two books as a cautionary tale about the effects of drugs and rampant criminality and its corrosive effects on some parts of rural America.

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