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The Contrary Blues (Owen Allison #1)

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  55 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
This exceptional first mystery combines humor and menace in Contrary, West VirginiaWhen a colleague dies on assignment, Federal Department of Transportation inspector Owen Allison is assigned to finish the job: investigating a scare that centers on the bus system in a small coal-mining town. The wisecracking townspeople are a welcome change from the bureaucrats back in Was ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 1st 1998 by Thomas Dunne Books
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1st in a series. Interesting characters.
Kathleen Hagen
Contrary Blues, by John Billheimer, B, narrated by Jerry Sciario, produced by Books in Motion, downloaded from

Contrary, West Virginia is a small town where coal mining has failed, where stills exist, and where a plan is hatched to get money from the government to buy buses for a transportation system in town. Only thing is, the feds paid for 20 buses where only two were bought. The feds are sending Owen Allison to Contrary to look into the happenings there, because the agent who pre
Marty Fried
Apr 01, 2012 Marty Fried rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-long-ago
I read (listened to) the audiobook version for this entire series. I believe this added to my enjoyment, because I liked the narrator's accent. It was a very personable, homey, southern accent that fit in well with the story.

The story was fairly interesting, but I think it's more a vehicle for the humor, sort of like the Douglas Adams books. I loved some of the terms he used to describe various people and places. Some of the reviewers seemed to miss the point with the humor, and commented on the
Nov 06, 2009 Betty410 rated it liked it
This is the author's first mystery. He has written two other fiction stories about W. Va mines and life in the area. Contrary is a small town with the most interesting characters sketched through a deep understanding of the dialogue of the area and how small town folks stick together. Owen Allison, our hero in the story is out of his element as a statistician out of Washington checking on a grant for a bus system. How the twon uses the money to support 20 buses when they only have 2 is the basis ...more
Nov 26, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it
I enjoy John's writing style and I liked this plot.

Can't wait to follow this character's further adventures, possibly in California.

I borrowed a copy of this book from the public library.
Feb 24, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good mystery.
Aug 05, 2011 Wyncia added it
ho hum.
May 23, 2013 Matthew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The story was fairly interesting and characters were over the top. Language was horrible.
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