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Sissy Fletcher, the preacher's daughter, disappeared on the night of the Rodeo Dance ten years ago and has been missing ever since. Until now, that is—a team drilling an oil well has made a grisly discovery in an isolated pasture. Seeing as how it's an election year, finding her killer is a bigger priority than it might usually be in sleepy Washington County, Texas, where not much ever happens anyway.

Though it's becoming clear that the town isn't quite as sleepy as it seems. Martin Fletcher, Sissy's brother, seems to believe he's on a mission from God to raise hell in Washington County. He and his partner, Dud Hughes, aim to start small, with armed robbery, and work their way up to bigger things, but an inquiry into his sister's death threatens to draw a little more attention his way than he wants just now.

As the mood begins to the shift in the town, three men put their heads together to work the case: ex-Texas Ranger Jeremiah Spur, who is retired but can't get the thrill of the chase out of his blood; the current sheriff, Dewey Sharpe, who just may not be as dumb as he looks; and Deputy Clyde Thomas, an African-American ex-Dallas cop who is probably the savviest of the bunch. All in all, James Hime's The Night of the Dance, is a terrifically original, jaunty, and action-packed debut from a writer to watch.

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