Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Harkness~ A High Desert Mystery by Michael Bigham ~ Pump Up Your Books Blog Tour with review

Harkness: A High Desert Mystery

 October 17, 2012
In this thrilling debut, Michael Bigham spins the tale of Matt Harkness.  Harkness isn't your typical Western sheriff. Cowboy boots make his arches ache, he's got a serious case of horse-phobia, and his faithful companion, Addison, is a wiener dog. It's 1952 in the Oregon High Desert, and until now, the worst crime Harkness has had to contend with is two cowboys playing quickdraw in an alley behind a bar. His easygoing life explodes when a star-crossed teenage couple disappears, sparking an investigation that threatens to expose the slimy underbelly the lurks beneath his small town, Barnesville. Harkness has always been the keeper of secrets in the town. Now, to solve the crime, he must decide which secrets to expose. One secret involves Judge Barnes, the county's most powerful man. Unfortunately, Harkness has a secret of his own: he's in love with the judge's wife. How much is Harkness willing to risk to catch a murderer?  

Set on the Oregon High Desert in 1952, life in the small town of Barnesville has been easy-going for Matthew until a star-crossed teen-age couple disappears and he’s forced to deal with some horrific murders, one of which strikes very close to home, before finally confronting the killer man-to-man on the High Desert.

What's not to like about this story! Set during 1952 with a small town setting where the local sheriff Matt Harkness can't figure out why the judge's wife Kate didn't wait for him after the war and instead married one of the most influential men in town the local judge. That fact doesn't stop Matt from having an affair with her though. When he gets a call from Kate's husband, the judge, informing him that Joey McIntyre, the son of the local dentist, and a popular football player, and Virginia Kelly a girl from a poor family are missing Matt wants to hope that perhaps they have run off together. Turns out though there is more to the story than that! Be prepared for a page turning read as Michael Bigham reveals that story in "Harkness!"

I found myself drawn to the time period of this story, a simpler, less complicated time. The small town feel was another aspect of the story that I enjoyed but it was the characters, along with the twists and turns of the plot that kept me reading! Matt was a multi-layered character, who had a few quirks, some of which made me wonder if I would ever warm to him, but in the end I felt like he was a great character who believed in doing his job. I love when an author includes a dog in a story and with this one we have Addison, a weiner dog that Harkness sort of inherits when he arrests the dogs owner. Overall readers who enjoy a fast paced story with more than a few plot twists set during a simpler time and place with down to earth characters that lend the story a sense of authenticity will certainly enjoy "Harkness." I only hope the author plans on continuing the adventures of "Harkness!

Michael Bigham photoABOUT MICHAEL BIGHAM

Raised in the mill town of Prineville in Central Oregon beneath blue skies and rimrocks, Michael Bigham attended the University of Oregon and during his collegiate summers, fought range fires on the Oregon high desert for the Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter. Harkness is his first novel.


Harkness banner


  1. Thanks for the wonderful review. I appreciate you taking the time to read and review my book. What a wonderful site.

  2. Thanks for hosting Michael during his Harkness virtual book tour. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. A little birdy tells me he's working on the next Harkness novel.


Your wonderful comments make my day, thanks for dropping by!