Still reeling from the scandal that cost him his badge, Randy Mayhill—fallen lawman, dog rescuer, Dr Pepper enthusiast—sees a return from community exile in the form of a dead hog trapper perched on a fence. The fence belongs to the late Van Woods, Mayhill’s best friend and the reason for his spectacular fall.
Determined to protect Van’s land and family from another scandal, Mayhill ignores the sherriff who replaced him and investigates the death of the unidentified man. His quest crosses with two others: Birdie, Van’s surly, mourning daughter, who has no intention of sitting idly by and leaving her father’s legacy in Mayhill’s hands; and Bradley, Birdie’s slow, malnourished but loyal friend, whose desperation to escape a life of poverty has him working with local criminals, and possibly a murderer.
A riveting debut novel about family and loyalty, old grudges and new lives, AIN’T NOBODY NOBODY is like a cross between Faulkner and “Breaking Bad”, from a talented new writer with an authentic Texas voice.
Set in rural Texas in 1996, Ellett's auspicious debut boasts a cast of zany characters, starting with former sheriff Randy Mayhill, who resides alone in a small house, hunts wild hogs with his three dogs, and pines for his days as a lawman. When a body is discovered on the fence of the property belonging to his late best friend, Van, Randy instructs Van's teenage daughter, Birdie, to keep quiet about it while he stakes out the corpse to see if the killer returns. Alas, the body disappears when Randy's not paying attention. Caught up in the ensuing complications are Birdie and her grandmother, Onie, who are both still coping with Van's suicide a year earlier as the authorities were about to arrest him for growing marijuana, a crime then-sheriff Randy was aware of but did nothing about. The cover-up cost him his job. Ellett balances the goofiness of the crimes and setting with some effective storytelling, never letting the real emotional stakes for the characters get obscured. Carl Hiassen fans will find a lot to like.