I've learned to expect excellence in books by David Wiltse and consider Heartland to be his best book. The plotting is superb, the characters well drawn and intriguing, and his depiction of the heartland is unblinkingly honest. I absolutely could not put this book down, and I did something I seldom do. I read it again immediately cover to cover. If you are looking for a book with intense and exciting action filled characters you can't seem to leave, I recommend you read Heartland immediately. It is the best book I've read this year, and I sincerely doubt anything will be able to top it. I'm on tenterhooks awaiting information on the next book by Wiltse.
Falls City, Nebraska. Just a scratch on the Great Plains. To Billy Tree, it's home - the last refuge for the ex-Secret Service agent scarred in body and sould by an unforgettable tragedy. But he's trading one for another. For the quiet burg of his youth has changed over the years. Darkness has taken hold. And now, the killing secrets and terrible lies buried beneath the tranquil surface of Falls City are ready to erupt.
Where it begins is with a shocking sniper attack at the local high school. No motive. No clues. Just two innocent teachers left dead, and a third injured. A woman with secrets of her own, she shares a place in Billy's heart, his past, and his fears, when a second murder paralyzes the town. Urged by the sheriff to help in the investigation, Billy can't refuse. Even if it means seeing old friends in a terrifying new light, and exposing himself to the insidious rage of a mysterious killer.
It all ends in the shattering silence of an isolated silo. Here blood will tell. The secrets of Falls City will unfold. And the truth could cost Billy more than he'd ever imagined.
A great "who done it" story with a flawed hero trying to find his way back from a devastating tragedy that ended his Secret Service career. The author does an excellent job of portraying isolated, small town life in Nebraska and how it is affected when death comes to call. A superb author, and excellent book. Read it.
First Line: "Some people trail squalor behind them," Walter Matuzak was saying, eyeing the building with disgust.
A botched Secret Service operation has left Billy Tree severely wounded and traumatized and his partner dead. The best thing for him to do is to go back home to small town Falls City, Nebraska to stay with his sister and recuperate.
He's not back home very long before he finds out that interesting things have been happening to his family, friends and former school mates, and when a shooting at the local high school leaves people dead and plenty of unanswered questions, Billy finds himself helping out the local sheriff in an attempt to find the killer.
Unfortunately this book seems to be a good idea with mediocre execution. Billy's overwhelming self-pity wears thin quickly, and his habit of using a phony Irish brogue during times of stress just seems silly after several other characters tell him it's a stupid affectation.
The rest of the characters are straight out of central casting, and although the action sequences make excellent use of the Nebraska landscape, the pacing seems off. In many ways the best part of the book was the ending, which takes place in a grain silo. Having grown up in central Illinois, my friends and I were told many times, "Stay out of the grain silo!" We didn't-- and one time we almost came to grief ourselves.
City dwellers beware: there are lots of scary things out in the country. As Billy Tree found out in Heartland, there are more things than grain silos to make your heart beat faster.
Wow-Billy Tree is a great new character! If you like your characters internally scarred and trying to survive-this is your guy. Really liked it a lot..