Harry Dickinson is a used car salesman living in Springdale, Massachusetts, who believes he is a private detective. His girlfriend, Friday, finds this charming, though she warns him not to get carried away. The local cops are becoming fed up with him. His sister and brother-in-law think he's unstable and too old for such fantasies. They want him locked up.
When Harry stumbles upon the case of a missing woman, he decides to investigate. However, the situation is far more complex-and more dangerous-than he imagines.
Turning to the authorities only makes things worse. Harry witnesses a murder, but no one believes him. With Harry and Friday on the run-hunted by the police, the killer, and even Harry's friends and relatives-their chances for survival look grim. But the man everyone believes is crazy may be the only one who can crack the case.
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One hot summer day, in his home in the southern Illinois coal country known as Little Egypt—a Midwest Gothic wonderland of barren vistas, sinister hollows, petty corruption, and deeply strange characters—the self-appointed “redneck detective” known as Slim gets a visit from a shady-looking pair who introduce themselves as Sheldon Cleaves and his son, A. Evan, looking to hire him to find a missing dog. As a miner with a reputation for “bloodhounding”—tracking down missing persons the police can’t find or won’t—Slim is accustomed to looking for people, not pets. On the other hand, he needs the cash to fix his air conditioner. But when he pulls the thread that leads to the Cleaveses’ red-haired purebred pitbull—and then the dognapper is discovered with his head blown off—Slim finds himself plunged into a world of underground dogfights and white supremacists. . . all because he just wanted to get cool.
As bitingly funny as it is starkly violent, Red Dog marks the emergence of a new, gritty voice in detective fiction.