Blue Magnolia


Hank “Cowboy” Tillman, a small-time country singer, seems to attract trouble wherever he goes. One fateful performance, an original song of his becomes a hit—but it also attracts unwanted attention from an alt-right group. This group is desperate for Hank to perform for them, and his unwillingness places him in greater danger than he has ever been in before. Fearing for his safety, his cousin hires family friend and private investigator Red Farlow as his protection detail. As Hank’s peril becomes ever more unpredictable, Red Farlow must delve deep into the depraved history of small-town Florida and Georgia to have a chance of helping Hank. 

In a mystery designed for the readers of today’s political climate, W.F. Ranew creates a saga that is fresh and uniquely current. This story has many moving pieces that must come together to ultimately solve the puzzle. Once everything fully clicks into place, the writing clips along in a compelling adventure that keeps the reader on their toes. However, the journey to that point is a choppy one. Throughout the first half of the book, the plot jumps about in a way that can be difficult to follow as seemingly unrelated details are introduced in sometimes-infuriating detail. The dialogue throughout is stilted and the author has not quite discovered a unique voice for each character. Ultimately, despite its choppy beginnings, it is the nuanced history of the world created that draws in the reader and leaves them with bated breath on the edge of their seats.

Shailyn Rogers