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Sunset and Sawdust by Joe R. Lansdale
Sunset and Sawdust begins during the Depression with Sunset Jones killing her husband, Pete, while he is raping her. Pete was the town constable and son of the woman who owns the majority stake of the local sawmill, the town's lifeblood. With her mother-in-law's understanding, Sunset becomes the new constable. Soon after taking office, which nobody expects her to take seriously, the bodies of a woman and her baby, both encased in oil, are found on the property of the only black landowner in town. Sunset throws herself into the murder investigation, uncovering levels of deceit and corruption, and her own inner strength in the process. Joe Lansdale brings rural East Texas to life with Sunset and Sawdust gathering positive reviews. The Denver Post says, "What's more, Lansdale's prose - laconic and sarcastic - is so thick with slang and regional accent that it's as tasty as a well-cured piece of beef jerky. Readers will want to savor each bite as they chew on his tangy, east Texas prose, finding themselves enraptured with this tale of a woman who perseveres against all odds."