This is book number 3 in the Annie McIntyre Mysteries series.
From Tony Hillerman Prize-winning author Samantha Jayne Allen comes Next of Kin, a mesmerizing novel set in a hardscrabble Texas town, where the past is never far away.
At a gathering for her cousin’s wedding party, newly-licensed PI Annie McIntyre gets asked an age-old question: what really makes us who we are, nature or nurture? Clint Marshall, an up-and-coming musician and an adoptee at a personal crossroads, wants to hire Annie to find his biological parents, and that question is on his mind. Annie accepts his case, not knowing then that she, too, must decide if she really believes what she tells him that night—in essence, that people are in charge of their destinies. That people can change.
When Annie discovers her client's father is a bank robber who her granddad, Leroy, arrested back when he was sheriff, reverberations sound between the past and the present, igniting old flames and rivalries. When the brother of her client dies suddenly, his death ruled a suicide, Annie questions whether or not it was in fact homicide—and who in this family of outlaws would rather some secrets stay buried.
As Annie sets out to find who killed the brother—and stays out of sight lest she be next—she finds herself searching abandoned, overgrown fields, scouring pool halls and roadside motels, wondering if she will ever escape the sense that her world in Garnett, TX expands and contracts in off-kilter ways, growing smaller and yet still more confounding. Fearing that in a place where everyone knows everyone, your enemy is always closer than you think.
"A gritty tale of troublesome family dynamics with a tough and determined protagonist." —Kirkus
"Atmospheric....Allen conjures a suitably noirish mood from the opening pages, and renders even her secondary characters in three dimensions. With regional intrigue and plenty of satisfying sleuthing, this series merits a long run." —Publisher's Weekly
Praise for the Annie McIntyre Mysteries:
"If you liked the realist grit of Mare of Easttown, you’ll savor this smart and layered tale from a new Georgia writer worth watching." —The Augusta Chronicle on Pay Dirt Road
"Intensity of plot and depth of characters lift Allen’s novel into the top tier of rural noir. And her prose, rich with the rendering of the Texas countryside, imbues Pay Dirt Road with literary merit. Impressive and intense, Pay Dirt Road exemplifies splendid crime fiction—indeed, any fiction—and establishes Allen as a gifted creator."
—Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
"While Pay Dirt Road entertains, it also makes the reader think beyond the confines of the story. That’s what good books are supposed to do." —New York Journal of Books
"Allen’s prose lights up like a neon beer sign....The Central Texas setting rings true, not just in its gratifying buffet of kolaches, H-E-B tortillas, and Texas sheet cake, but in the turreted McMansions whose smiling bluebonnet photos hide a host of sins." —Texas Monthly on Pay Dirt Road
"[T]he Texas landscape, with its falling-apart houses and bedraggled bars, comes alive in this remarkable novel, reminiscent of Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show." —Booklist, starred review, Top 10 Debut Mysteries & Thrillers 2022 on Pay Dirt Road
"Taut, [with] pitch-perfect imagery...Mystery fans will hope to soon return." —Publishers Weekly on Hard Rain
"Wondrous....Allen proves herself as adept as the likes of David Baldacci, Lisa Gardner, and Lisa Scottoline."
—The Providence Journal on Pay Dirt Road
"There’s a wistful air wafting through Samantha Jayne Allen’s debut… Allen writes with keen acumen, her sentences marked with quiet yet powerful grace notes." —The New York Times on Pay Dirt Road