5 out of 5 cups of coffee to COUNTY LINE by Bill Cameron

Posted Nov 7 2013, 12:00 pm

I’m so excited — this month’s Book Hungry pick was mine – COUNTY LINE, by Bill Cameron. I’d read this book when it first released and thoroughly enjoyed it and from our lively chat this week, am happy to report my Book Hungry sisters agreed. 

Here’s an excerpt from the Goodreads review I put up when I read it the first time: 

COUNTY LINE… is a thrill ride of a mystery, the fourth featuring cool cop, Thomas “Skin” Kadash. (Pronounced KAY-dish.) In this story, Skin is now retired and just coming off a grueling recovery following a gunshot wound sustained in DAY ONE. The story sucks you in from the first scene with Skin driving home to Portland after spending a month recuperating in a cell-phone dead zone, wondering why the hell he still hasn’t heard from Ruby Jane Whittaker. Ruby Jane, owner of Uncommon Cup (of coffee), has recently – to Skin’s surprise – crossed from friend to love… but she doesn’t know that yet. Or, maybe she does. Skin’s a bit spotty on the whole situation.

Upon learning that Ruby Jane up and left her chain of coffee shops two weeks earlier and hasn’t checked in since, Skin literally drops everything to find her, his ex-cop gut telling him she’s in trouble. What follows is a series of action-packed scenes made more remarkable by the details Cameron chooses to spotlight… the light from a cell phone is a ‘splash of acid in my eyes’ and a trip to the grocery store made memorable by a woman snacking from ‘an open bag of Purina Beggin’ Strips’. The vivid details Cameron weaves in using an economy of words plopped me smack in the middle of the story. I smelled the dead bodies, I felt characters’ pain, and I tasted chicken pot pie from Cartopia. 

What I loved most about this novel is its structure. The story starts off with a mystery – where is Ruby Jane, but we soon find out that’s not the only question to answer. Who’s the guy in her bath tub? Why is someone following Skin? To answer these questions, retired cop Skin sets to work and soon discovers where Ruby Jane is… home. 

From here, the story makes an abrupt shift — from Skin’s point of view, which is first person, to Ruby Jane’s, which is third-person. It’s also told in alternating time periods — 1988, when Ruby Jane was in high school, and 1989, when Ruby Jane is being questioned by police. It’s a brilliant way to show us how Ruby Jane’s teenage years shaped and formed the person she is today… and the reason she’s on the run.

The last part of the novel shifts back to Skin’s point of view and when the mysteries are solved — you don’t see these twists coming – trust me. If you pick up the print version of this novel, you’ll find QR codes dropped in throughout the story, a fun little bit of extras courtesy of the author. 

I gave this book 5 out of 5 cups of coffee because nobody brews it like Ruby Jane. 

Have you read County Line or Bill’s previous Skin Kadash novels? Let’s talk! 





2 responses to “5 out of 5 cups of coffee to COUNTY LINE by Bill Cameron”

  1. I did enjoy this read, Patty (especially since I didn’t guess the ending. that’s a big plus for me!)

  2. abby says:

    i’m kind of obsessed with your reviews, patty. the way you rate them. the way you write them. genius.

    and bonus points on a good pick!