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The Devil's Country

(Arlo Baines #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  729 ratings  ·  107 reviews

Former Texas Ranger Arlo Baines didn’t come to the tiny West Texas town of Piedra Springs to cause trouble. After his wife and children were murdered, Arlo just wants to be left alone. Moving from place to place seems to be the only thing that eases the pain of his family’s violent end.

But a chance encounter outside a bar forces him to rescue a terrified woman and her chil

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Published April 11th 2017 by Brilliance Audio
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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  729 ratings  ·  107 reviews

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Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This mystery is a good, quick read--a nice change of pace from some heavier reading. The hero of the story is Arlo Baines, a former Texas Ranger, who is traveling the countryside by bus, seeking solitude and anonymity after the murder of his wife and children. Arlo is strong and intelligent and able to handle himself in most any situation--yes, very much a Jack Reacher kind of guy, so if you enjoy those stories, you'll probably also enjoy this book.

There are really two stories here and Arlo rel
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A fast paced mystery about an ex-Texas Ranger. Nothing fancy here, just good clean fun. Arlo Baines ends up in a small west Texas town and helps a woman and two children escape two thugs. But the next morning, the woman turns up dead and Arlo is seen as the prime suspect.

There's a touch of Jack Reacher to this story. One man against the world. This is action movie simple. In a bygone year, Bruce Willis would play the lead. Or Tom Cruise, despite the height discrepancy. Lots of fights, one man a
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The only way to cope with losing his wife and children for Arlo Baines has been to keep on the move around the state of Texas. Hopping off a bus in the small town of Piedra Springs however brings Arlo into the middle of a mystery. Arlo used to be a Texas Ranger before the loss of his family and when outside of the small bar he happened upon a woman and her two children seem to be in danger Arlo can't help but interject.

The next day after saving the woman and her children from two thugs though A
L.A. Starks
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This west Texas noir mixes a perfect, and tragic, backstory with fiction based on all-too-real events. Hunsicker has created a deeply haunted protagonist, Arlo Baines, and peopled the fictional Piedra Springs with interesting and well-drawn characters, vivid scenery, and great dialogue. No rural clichés here. The twists will keep readers guessing until the end.

And in fact, having heard last summer about car troubles occurring in lonely West Texas to a family member, I now have true affection fo
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
All Arlo wants is to be left alone. Since his family was murdered has he been drifting from place to place and now he has come to Piedro Springs. What he didn't anticipate were the woman begging him to help her and her children and neither did he anticipate everything that happens next. The woman ends up dead and the sheriff seems less than thrilled about having Arlo in his town. This is a town with secrets, secrets that they are hellbent on keeping, but Arlo will not give up his hunt for the wo ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, audible, action
The Devil's Country is a Jack-Reacher-type story set in Texas. Since the murder of his family, former Texas ranger Arlo Baines has been moving from town to town wanting to be left alone to catch up on his reading. Arriving in a tiny town in West Texas, Arlo becomes involved in an altercation between a couple of thugs and an oddly dressed woman and her two children. When the woman is found dead the following morning, Arlo becomes a suspect but vows to find out what happened to the two children.
Stewart Tame
Full disclosure: I won a free Kindle copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

Former Texas Ranger, Arlo Baines, just wants to be left alone to travel aimlessly and read and forget the recent killing of his wife and children. In the middle of nowhere, the sleepy town of Piedra Springs, he's quietly reading Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire when trouble enters his life in the form of Molly, a mysterious woman with her two children, on the run from ... someone. Before Arlo knows it, h
Donna Davis
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers with a liberal world view
Harry Hunsicker is the former executive vice president of the Mystery Writers of America as well as a successful author. Reading this suspenseful and at times almost surreal tale makes it easy to understand why so many people want to read his work. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Thanks go to Net Galley and to Thomas and Mercer for the DRC, which I received in exchange for this honest review. This book is available to the public April 11, 2017.

Arlo Baines, a former Texas Ranger, is on the road
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Former Texas Ranger Arlo Baines is a Jack Reacher-like drifter just looking to quietly read and drink beer in a Piedra Springs Texas dive bar named Dale's Broken Promise. He shortly gets interrupted by a tornado where he unavoidably runs into a strange woman on the run with her two young children. Arlo suspects the woman and her children are in some kind of danger but hits a stone wall with the local Sheriff and townspeople when he starts to search for them. It's an entertaining low voltage myst ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lee Child fans
Shelves: netgalley
Nine months after his family was murdered and eight months after being discharged from the Texas Rangers, Arlo Baines has become a drifter. Rambling across Texas by bus, getting off when he gets the urge to stretch his legs... doing what he wants when he wants.

This time Arlo finds himself in Piedra Springs, a tiny West Texas town located in the badlands between Odessa and Sonora, "a long way from anywhere that mattered." All he really wants is a quiet corner, a good book, maybe a cup of coffee
Sam Sattler
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
The version of "The Devil's Country" that I read was in a format that I've never before experienced, something called "Kindle in Motion." For readers using a Kindle or other capable device, this "motion" version greatly enhances the reading experience by including a series of photos and ten-or-fifteen-second films that relate directly to what is happening on the written page. Hats off to the team that produced this one; it's very well done.

This is also the first book in Hunsicker's new Arlo Bain
Jessica Bronder
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arlo Baines was a Texas Ranger that lost his family and travels around Texas to deal with their loss. He gets off the bus in Piera Springs and comes across a woman and her two children being harassed by two thugs. Arlo steps in and saves the woman but the next morning he discovers that the woman has been killed and her kids are missing. Of course Arlo is the main suspect and he decides to take the investigation into his own hands.

Arlo has his own troubles but when he is accused of the murder of
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Devil’s Country” by Harry Hunsicker is a murder mystery, thriller, crime novel about a former Texas Ranger. Arlo Baines is roaming Texas by bus, or by hitchhiking. All he wants to do is be in peace and read his books. Trouble seems to find him wherever he goes. He is desperately trying to come to terms with the deaths of his wife and two children. In his grief and rage, he coerces his father-in-law to kill the dirty cops who took his family’s lives. His father-in-law was in league with some ...more
Michelle Lancaster
Harry Hunsicker
The Devil’s Country
Thomas & Mercer
Paperback, 978-1-5039-4190-8, (also available as an e-book, an audio book, and on Audible), 304 pgs., $15.95
April 11, 2017

The late writer John Gardner once said there are only two kinds of stories: a man goes on a journey, or a stranger comes to town. In Harry Hunsicker’s new novel, The Devil’s Country, a stranger comes to a strange town. The fictional Piedra Springs is the Twin Peaks of West Texas.

Former Texas Ranger Arlo B
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Devil's Country by Harry Hunsicker is a well written mystery that unfortunately just doesn't offer up anything to separate it from the thousands of other novels in this genre. It is far too formulatic; lone stranger in town, ex law enforcement who wants to be left alone, stumbles onto a crime he just cannot turn his back on and now must step in and save the day where local law enforcement and the FBI cannot. Add to it a backstory for the main character that distracts from what is really the ...more
H. P.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: country-noir
The Devil’s Country is a popcorn book. Enjoyable and easy to consume. But not meaty or complex. And not entirely satisfying.

Arlo Baines isn’t looking for trouble. He is just looking for escape from the circumstances that led to the murder of his family. But he isn’t exactly in the mood to run from trouble. So, when the ex-Texas Ranger steps in between a woman on the run from a cult with her two small children and two gun thugs, he doesn’t step back. It isn’t hard to go “tumbling down into the bl
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
kindle in motion - awesome!! love it!! i love the listen or read option too ... what a cool read ... i mean genius ... i don't know if it something Amazon and the author work out or who makes all those decisions ...but way cool ... i see there is a book 2. can't wait to read more from Harry ... oh cool!!
Mark Westmoreland
Checked this book out because of the Writer Types podcast. Excellent read. Quick pace, tight prose, and a helluva story. If you’re a writer it’s one of those you wish you’d written. Can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.
Enjoyed it quite a lot. The protagonist isn't unique in the genre but he was well-written. Emotionally damaged loner who gets into more trouble than he expects while trying to help people.

If another book featuring Arlo Baines is in the works, I'll certainly read it.
Elena Hartwell
Fans of Lee Child will enjoy this action-packed mystery.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arlo could be related to Jack Reacher. The story is dark and moves slow at times, but the characters are strong and will have you rooting for them... (I received this through a Goodreads Giveaway)
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Former Texas Ranger Arlo Baines was just passing through Piedra Springs, Texas, with nothing more on his mind than enjoying the peace and quiet and a good book. Haunted by the memories of his deceased wife and children, he just wants to be left alone as he drifts from place to place. With just five folks in the only bar in the tiny West Texas town, if he counted himself and the bartender, he thought the odds were in his favor. He also thought the threat posed by any of the clientele was low to n ...more
I’ve never been big on audiobooks, because I’m one of those stubborn people who thinks that physical in-hand books are far superior. But here’s the thing: I have a long commute to work. Around 40 minutes most days - one way. So I started this book’s audio version, because it’s free right now with Amazon Prime and I like a good mystery book.

And I actually really enjoyed this!

A big warning (and possible spoiler):

(view spoiler)
Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of The Devil's Country. I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

Piedra Springs is small-town Texas and Arlo Baines is just passing through. Recently discharged from the Texas Rangers, Arlo cannot turn off his need to help others when approached by a disheveled woman and her two kids. Trouble ensues, with its bulls-eye focused strongly on Arlo. Will he be able to find out what happened to Mo
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Texas Version of Philip Marlowe

When Raymond Chandler created the Philip Marlowe, the character wasn’t your average hard-boiled private eye. “Underneath the wise-cracking, hard-drinking, tough private eye, Marlowe is quietly contemplative and philosophical...”

That’s pretty much how we meet Arlo Baines, sitting in a bar with a book in hand, hoping to catch up on his reading of The History of “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon.

Of course Baines barely gets to read, in t
Beth Dean
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Devil's Country sets up with the best of intentions. The hero of the story just wants everyone to leave him alone so he can get back to his book. A man after my own heart.

The characters sometimes veer a little towards cliches (diversity notwithstanding, though appreciated). Dialogue veers even more into cliche country. Earl's, the town restaurant/diner where everyone goes, is adorned with posters of John Wayne ad WWII bombers. Heck, a townsman even calls someone "partner" at one point.

Our p
Chris Galiatsatos
I won this in a giveaway, thanks to Amazon for hooking me up!

I went into this one not knowing much, just that it was about a Texas cop. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked it. The story was good, not overly “cop drama” with a lot of action, engaging storytelling, good characters, and a creepy cult. You get the present day plot meshing pretty well with a backstory set in flashbacks. The dialogue was occasionally clunky but I don’t know, maybe that’s how they talk in Texas. I’ve never
Debby (Alwaysbooking)
This book was not what I had expected. I thought it would be a suspense story.. but kind of went down the mystery side very fast. Arlo is traveling by bus around the country side ever since his family was murdered. All Arlo wants to do is sit and eat his food and be left alone to read his book. However he seems to be drug into the drama of a woman in a peasant gown with two children that need his help. One minute they are there asking for his help, the next he is defending them from two goons an ...more
Barbara Lee Wood

This is a strange story, can't call it an adventure became it isn't. Incidents that happened aren't incidental, but realistic. We've all heard about cults or groups of people who live on a compound and seldom interact with those who live outside these compounds or cults. These cults are usually cover ups of child abuse and other despicable acts. Often these cults or sects were off shoots of the Mormonism(religion) the exposure of these cults/sects are exposed by those
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall 3.5 stars

Writing/editing 4.5 stars
Characters 3.5 stars
Story/plotting 3.5 stars
Overall 3.5 stars
(I read it on my kindle)

It’s a potentially good book. Besides the good things about it being a time-killer-for-reader book, The things made me rate it lower than 4 stars are:
1) character not really well build enough. Only background building is not enough for me to fully see and feel the characters.
2) media in the book didn’t work for me. I understand they were used to help readers to see the s
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Harry Hunsicker is the former executive vice president of the Mystery Writers of America and the author of seven crime thrillers. Hunsicker's work has been shortlisted for the Shamus and Thriller Awards. His story "West of Nowhere" (originally published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine) was selected to appear in The Best American Mystery Stories 2011, edited by Otto Penzler and Harlan Coben. Hunsi ...more

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