Hard Ground is a treasure chest of stories for lovers of the outdoors, fans of smart crime fiction, and, of course, the legions of Joseph Heywood fans. Featuring the game-warden colleagues of Woods Cop star Grady Service, the tales in this collection follow the men and women patrolling Michigan’s wilds as they encounter everything from poachers determined to defend their kills with deadly resistance to drug pushers selling their wares at an Elvis Convention camping retreat. There are search-and-rescue operations, a rookie game warden's first day on the job, and much, much more. With Heywood’s trademark ability to capture the eccentric characters of the Upper Peninsula, his wonderful ear for dialogue, and his vivid descriptions of hunting, fishing, and outdoorsmanship, these twenty-plus stories will delight Heywood fans and entice any reader who loves stories about the great outdoors or law-and-order. As an added bonus, one story features Woods Cop protagonist Grady Service early in his career, while another story stars Heywood's new series protagonist Lute Bapcat.
Heywood (Red Jacket) displays uncommon storytelling versatility in this brilliant collection of 27 tales about the game wardens who patrol Michigan's Upper Peninsula. His two series heroes, Grady Service and Lute Bapcat, each make an appearance (in "Black Beyond Black" and "The Third Partner," respectively), but neither outshines their colleagues as they handle a variety of challenges from scofflaws, fools, villains, and wildlife. In the deft "Double-jointed Trouble," conservation officer Jill Flyvie learns from her rookie mistake in handling a prisoner, while in the tender "Symbiosis," CO Steven Burdoni and an aging hunter come to understand one another. "Song in the Woods" touches on the supernatural; pilot Ralph "Buck Rogers" Haliday quits his job in spectacular fashion in "Airzilla"; and in "Henry VIII," a bear causes trouble and heartache. This volume should be read for pleasure, but would do equally well as an instruction manual for aspiring writers. Lyons is simultaneously reissuing The Snowfly (2000), the novel that introduced Grady Service. PW's starred review called it "a story about growing up and self-discovery, a fast-moving intercontinental romp and a good fish story."