Just before dawn a sniper puts a bullet through a “nobody’s” head. Drugs are probably involved, but no one is talking.
A second sniping occurs while Richard Carter investigates the first. He is contacted and co-opted by a Ripley County deputy into the Ozark Foothills Drug Task Force.
The violence escalates, taking a disturbing turn. The sniper begins targeting law enforcement, causing a local scandal sheet to provide an “answer”: the killer is a cop. The owner/editor of the Wilderness Voice christens him “The King Snake,” alluding to the King Snake’s habit of eating other snakes, even those of its own kind.
Has a drug war broken out in the hills? Is this really a case of police corruption? Or does something else connect all the victims?
Can Richard discover the identity of The King Snake before someone else dies?
Or will he become a target?
AR Simmons was born on Chicago's north side, but grew up and lives in the eastern Missouri. He attended a one-room school through the eighth grade, and walked a mile to get there. His family worked a subsistence farm on Ozark land cleared from the native forest by his grandfather. He was a carpenter's helper and factory worker until drafted into the US Army at nineteen. A tour of duty took him to the Far East where he saw a world far different from his own. His military experience acquainted him with his country. The racial, ethnic, and cultural makeup of his squad changed forever his concept of "American."The GI Bill financed his entire college career. After declaring and rejecting majors in Business (lacked interest) and Art (fairly talented, but color blind), he settled on History, in which he obtained BA and MA degrees. Passing up a doctoral program (he was 27, married, and had no job), he took a public school teaching position "until something better came along." He discovered, to his amazement, that the calling suited him.
He began writing shortly after he started teaching (supplemental essays on the history of technology and on foreign policy). His fiction writing career began with short sci-fi stories. Then he turned to the mystery/suspense genre which he now writes exclusively. In 2003, he began serializing novels on-line.
Today, he and his wife (life partner, collaborator, illustrator, and muse) still live on the farm his grandfather settled. His roots (four generations deep) are in the Ozarks where the Richard Carter series is set. Using the culture, language, and mores of this "Bible Belt" region, he writes culturally immersive stories of obsession set amidst the small-town and rural life that he knows.
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