In Violence Knows No Boundaries by Michael Ace Smith the author again adopts a small town where-everyone-knows-everyone setting. In this case, everyone knows that Sheriff Bob McCallum doesn’t belong. While he is trying to gain acceptance from the community, he faces two additional problems. He is trying to put his life back together and someone is committing murders in a town where such crimes don’t happen. Will McCallum be seen by the town as bad luck?
The murders were a bit gruesome. The town old crazy lady, Dolly, had called the sheriff’s department to report screams in a nearby wooded area at night. No one paid attention to Dolly. Gould, one of two deputies working for McCallum was usually asleep no matter the shift he worked. He had been asleep when Dolly called in her report and went back to sleep when he realized it was Dolly. As a result, the first skull wasn’t turned over to the sheriff’s department until four days later. Then detectives and forensics people had to be called from a nearby town so it was several more days before enough parts from the first body could be found to attempt an identification.
The arrival of outside detectives, several of whom knew McCallum from his earlier work with a big city police force, provoked jealousy from McCallum’s two deputies. Gould and Win felt the case was theirs to investigate. McCallum knew that neither of the two deputies had skills necessary to investigate. They barely had skills to enforce traffic regulations. McCallum held this opinion as did most of the town population. The two deputies were considered a joke and McCallum was just waiting for the opportunity to replace them. Because he was considered an outsider, he was worried about the reaction by the town to his firing of two fellow “townies.”
With no leads in the case, outside detectives were recalled by their home force. Then came the second murder, one not reported by Dolly this time. The outside detectives returned but there were still no more clues. Eventually, they would return to their home units. McCallum asked their assistance in locating a relative of Dolly, one that he believed lived in the detectives’ area of operations. McCallum could see that the mental deterioration of Dolly required either care by her relatives or a forced intervention by social services. McCallum felt that community services such as care and protection for those unable to care for themselves were an important part of police work.
McCallum was pleased when a very attractive niece, a relative of Dolly’s appeared. He was happy that he was able to notice attractive women again. The last one he had noticed was his wife. But she had been with another man, a situation that had resulted in his acceptance of a small town sheriff’s position after a resignation from a municipal police force.
This is a nicely told story of relationships, acceptance of failed relationships, and a struggle to start over. Will the killer be found? Sure. Will it be a surprise? I felt it was. More surprising than the killer’s identity was the motive for the killing. I gave this five Amazon stars despite the fact that I had to pay for it. It was not available through Kindle Unlimited, the only novella from this author not “free.”