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Synopsis

Benteen County, Kansas is a hellhole in summer of scorching heat and wind and turns even meaner in winter. As a howling blizzard blows down upon the sparsely-populated county seat of Buffalo Springs, Sheriff English confronts both a doll and a dead baby—their bodies switched, but by whom? And why? The elderly coroner disclaims any knowledge, but seems uneasy when the swastika on the tiny corpse is revealed. The sheriff’s part Cheyenne half-brother, Harvey Edward Maddox, is known as Mad Dog, reflecting his Amerind heritage. Mad Dog collects a naked dead body from the Sunshine Towers retirement home and heads towards a treetop burial until he is diverted by the storm. In a makeshift mound nearby, Mad Dog’s pet wolf-dog hybrid finds a child’s skull—and evidence of adult bones. He also discovers a fading ID for a living County Supervisor. Can the Hornbaker clan really be as gothic as it seems? And what of the tiny woman in the red shoes back at the Towers who calls herself Dorothy, underlying an odd Kansas literary theme....

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