Thursday 28 January 2016




For fans of Larry Brown, Daniel Woodrell, Scott Smith, Donald Ray Pollock and Scott Phillips, this rural noir set in northern Pennsylvania features a world in which the natural gas industry has raped the land and made billionaires out of farmers and small time criminals alike.

Investigating a deer-poaching incident that lands him in deep trouble—with a broken ankle and multiple bullet wounds—wildlife conservation officer Matt Rider finds himself at odds with members of the renegade Pittman family, including clan leader Soldier Pittman.

When a large sum of Pittman’s drug money comes up missing, Soldier Pittman is convinced Rider stole it. Rider’s instincts are to call on his trusted brother Randy and his friend Dean Blackwell to help him out, but none of them imagine the lengths to which Soldier Pittman will go to get his drug money back.

A sequel, The Last Danger, will be published in Winter 2017.

Advance praise for Ridgerunner

"A guttural and unrelenting survey of a people and place that is not lawless, but, rather, governed solely by its own backcountry creed. RIDGERUNNER blurs the boundaries between lawmen and outlaws. Barnes has delivered the stuff of fine fiction."
—DAVID JOY, author of Where All Light Tends to Go

"With RIDGERUNNER, Rusty Barnes has earned a place at the table with hardscrabble-noir poets like Woodrell, Wolven, and--yes--Thompson. This short novel packs a wicked punch that will leave you shaken and wanting more."
—PATRICK BAGLEY, author of Bitter Water Blues

"A well-oiled, perfectly crafted shotgun of a novel, one that delivers just as much heart as it does gunpowder. No one else working today can showcase so much humanity in such dark places."
—SHELDON LEE COMPTON, author of The Same Terrible Storm

Nothing more satisfying than cracking open a new book and putting it down finished a few hours later! (Ok – I’m speaking metaphorically because in this instance it was a 122 page ARC read on my laptop.)  

Poaching, drugs and stolen drug money, a uniform and authority that counts for shit in this backwoods territory of Pennsylvania and a tale of violence and revenge when our protagonist, Matt Rider is wounded by one of the notorious Pittman clan.

Not one to take things lying down and unhappy with the efforts the police are making at apprehending the head Pittman honcho – Soldier; Rider loads up for bear and starts shooting back.

Pretty soon, he’s fighting a war on three fronts. One - the Pittmans; two - his depressed wife and her domineering ally and friend (name escapes me) and three – his rebellious daughter, who has flunked college and taken up with the youngest Pittman.

Domestic strife is one thing, a crazed outlaw who’s just lost his criminal nest egg is another. Before the end we’re hip deep in blood, chopping up bodies in the bath tub and have gone way past the point of marriage guidance counselling.

Fast and furious, brilliant and brutal - my kind of book!   

I’ll confess, I’ve previously never heard of author Rusty Barnes before, but he’s on my radar now.

4.5 from 5

Rusty Barnes has his website here. He’s the author of a few other books - Reckoning and Mostly Redneck - appear interesting.

Another offering coming soon (May) from top crime imprint – 280 Steps. Accessed via the Edelweiss review site.


  1. Northern Pennsylvania is a great setting for this kind of novel, Col. Nice to see that location featured here. And a realistic-sounding setup, too. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Margot thanks. Every one of my reading boxes pretty much ticked here, including the setting! Definitely interested in more from Rusty Barnes. If the blurb is to be believed - something else next year, :-)

  2. Bloody and brutal, not my kind of thing. I am glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Looks tremendous! Pity it's not coming out until May.

  4. Col, it seems to pack quite a punch at 122.

    1. Prashant, it certainly does - highly recommended!

  5. Rural noir and Pennsylvania both attract. The author looks like one of the Hairy Bikers...

    1. He certainly cooked up an entertaining read (what a lame pun). Great setting here and I'm kind of tempted by his earlier books which have a similar backdrop. The only downside being they are quite expensive - which might actually be a positive because I'm not supposed to be buying anything!