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Ain't Nobody Nobody

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  46 reviews
“Breaking Bad” meets Joe Lansdale with the soul of Faulkner in an authentic debut novel of Texas crime from a remarkable new voice.

Still reeling from the scandal that cost him his badge, Randy Mayhill―fallen lawman, dog rescuer, Dr Pepper enthusiast―sees a return from community exile in the form of a dead hog trapper perched on a fence. The fence belongs to the late Van
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Polis Books
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Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, e

Still reeling from the scandal that cost him his badge, Randy Mayhill―fallen lawman, dog rescuer, Dr Pepper enthusiast―sees a return from community exile in the form of a dead hog trapper perched on a fence. The fence belongs to the late Van Woods, Mayhill’s best friend and the reason for his spectacular fall.

Determined to protect Van’s land and family from another scandal, Mayhill ignores the sheriff who replaced him and investigates the death of the unidentified man. His
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Pine County, Texas, 1996.

Things haven't been the same since Van Woods committed suicide a little over a year ago.

His best friend, former sheriff Randy Mayhill, has become a recluse. Getting fat, drinking Dr. Pepper, and watching TV with a dachshund named Pat Sajak.

Birdie, Van's surly seventeen year old daughter, is still "plain as bread, pleasant as gout" but, on top of all her other worries, now she has to deal with the fact that her grandmother may have lost her mind.

Young Bradley Polk, a
Chris Wolak
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Update: Here's the link to my review on Criminal Element:

This is a fantastic debut mystery with great characters and a strong sense of place. I just wrote a review for Criminal Element and will post a link when it's available. And P.S. I'm not a fan of Breaking Bad so don't let that comparison in the GR blub turn you off.
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
It's 1996 in a dysfunctional small East Texas town. It is a time before cell phones and computers and when rifles were commonplace in pickup trucks. It is a time when people knew their neighbors and would help each other out should the need arise. But when a dead body is found, it changes beliefs and perceptions until the truth isn't decipherable anymore.

While this book is fiction, there is a mystery peppered throughout the pages that had me questioning my thoughts about various characters as
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
In Ain’t Nobody Nobody by Heather Harper Ellett, we meet Randy Mayhill, a “retired” sheriff who is living his life of solitude until a dead body appears…and then disappears on the fence outside his home.

Ellett’s debut novel is full of wit and twists. I found the characters to be quite charming, something that I sometimes find missing in mystery novels. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find myself feeling attached to these characters. Ellett’s writing gave them, not only life, but warmth
Pen and Ink Reviews
Heather Harper Ellett’s debut, Ain’t Nobody Nobody, is a raw ode to East Texas and an authentic portrayal of the brutal, compassionate, hardscrabble way of life of the impoverished south. With wry humour and keen insight into human nature, Ellett deftly weaves a tale of murder, family, and honour.

Randy Mayhill lives as a hermit now, mourning the loss of his best friend to suicide and the loss of his elevated status in the community as sheriff to loyalty. The tragedies are intimately connected,
Max Knight
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heather Harper Ellett’s debut novel Ain’t Nobody Nobody is a darkly comedic murder mystery set in rural East Texas that takes a uniquely creative and thoroughly engaging approach to themes such as loss, grief, guilt, and redemption.

The characters are richly drawn and, combined with a strong sense of locale, evoke very vivid images of backwoods roads and trails, impoverished small towns, and people, who are neither all good nor bad, but act out of desperation, hopes and dreams, and necessity.

Scott Semegran
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Randy Mayhill loves to sit on his front porch in only his boxer shorts and pistol holster, scheming how to catch feral hogs. He is “retired,” unceremoniously relieved of his duties as sheriff for protecting his felonious best friend, and Mayhill is fully committed to the hermit lifestyle. And for one year, that is all right with him, until a dead body appears draped over a fence he shares with his neighbors (Onie and Birdie, who happen to be his dead best friend’s mother and daughter, two people ...more
Cathy Geha
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Ain’t Nobody Nobody by Heather Harper Ellett

Tragedy seem to find many of the characters in this book. The existence of all seems to be difficult with little money or food and not much to look forward to. What one is wiling to do to make money gets some into trouble. Suicide, Murder, mysteries, drugs and money may or may not balance out friendship, family and community in this story. I came away feeling a little bit dirty at the end of the book and wishing that there had been “more” for those who
Ruthie Jones
Ain’t Nobody Nobody by Heather Harper Ellett is a unique, twisted murder mystery that takes the reader down a long and winding trail of deception, betrayal, subterfuge, criminal activities, revenge, and sounders of feral hogs. Randy Mayhill has been a hermit since he was ousted as sheriff of a small East Texas town after valiantly trying to subvert his friend’s crimes. Randy and Van have been best friends for years, but after Van allegedly commits suicide rather than face jail time, Randy hides ...more
Lynn Poppe
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The metaphors are strong with this novel! It is chockablock full of so many visual examples that I loved! The writing reminds me of why I love books by authors like Laini Taylor or Michael Chabon. Based on her debut novel, I’m putting Ms. Ellett on the list of authors I’d read if they wrote a dictionary. Some examples that I really enjoyed including:
“The vest had stood stiffly in his closet like a decapitated torso”
Who doesn’t picture that vest in the closet!
“The reverend and Onie bobbed
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I met the author of this novel at Deep Vellum Books in Dallas, Texas. She was doing a reading from this, her first novel. Heather was very engaging and her book is terrific. This is a Texas crime novel, but not a traditional "who done it" novel. There are many twists and turns. And, the best part, I think, are the characters. They are all unique. And, at times, you smile as you read. In summary, read this book. It is really good. The title also says something special. We are all somebody.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Poignant and hilarious in tandem, Ain't Nobody Nobody is the book you didn't know you should be reading. From the moment I saw the hog beneath the title on the cover, I knew I had to read this book. Because I, too, grew up checking on hog tracks and waking the next day to the devastation they could wreak on your yard. Ellett is a local to East Texas, and it shows from the colloquialisms, the mannerisms and the true grit of its characters. I was watching out for certain things when I dove into ...more
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nearly perfect. If the ending was just a bit more fitting for me I would have said this was 100% perfect, still giving it 5 stars because it is a worthy read and was a total wild ride.

Would love to see this adapted for tv. While reading it I had a sudden urge to have a Dr. Pepper which I haven't had in so long, can't imagine why. Went out and got a Dr. P and continued reading.

The characters in this book were great and I loved the setting. Nice touch with setting the book in the 90s, no
B DartThrower
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've never read a book with a voice quite like this one, simultaneously earthy and profound, at turns hilarious and sinister, but always fun. It's a unique skill to write about plagues, murder and other crimes with levity and humor while still giving such heavy subjects their due respect, and the author pulls it off. It has been quite some time since I read a book in which I legitimately liked and cared about almost all of the characters, even the "bad" ones! It's also a portrait of a place, ...more
Lone Star Literary Life
Reviewed by Michelle Newby Lancaster for Lone Star Literary Life.
Kristine Hall
Wow! I am not sure I have ever read a more authentically Texas-y book than AIN'T NOBODY NOBODY by Heather Harper Ellett. In the process of entertaining readers with the East Texas people and the nuances of their lives and language, Ellett provides an engaging, multi-layered mystery sure to keep readers turning the pages.

“Bradley Polk was not dumb. He had simply over-executed his naiveté. It was a misused tool, like a butter knife cutting a tomato.”

There are lessons abounding in AIN'T NOBODY
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“He nudged his snout at the softness of Birdie’s thigh, and looked at her as if to say, “Let’s go, Birdie Woods. I’ve been waiting for you.”

I am stating this right off – Ain’t Nobody Nobody was the best book I’ve read in 2019! Author Heather Harper Ellett completely blew me away with this story set in east Texas surrounded by feral hogs no less.

The quirky title Ain’t Nobody Nobody is quite appealing. The story is extraordinary. The book is woven around… Dogs. Revenge. Drugs. Death. Not in that
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book sure was fun! The characters were three dimensional and very interesting. All of them were more or less dirt poor, but proud and mostly happy. The story was told with humor and panache, with a deep understanding of the local people, dialect and thoughts.

Here we have the story of a disgraced county sheriff in East Texas, who spends his time pretty much a recluse. His friend committed suicide, perhaps tied to him, and so he watches over the family. A dead man is found and suddenly, Randy
KayBee's  Bookshelf
Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Author Heather Harper Ellett takes on a dark, yet comedic scenic route in her debut novel set in East Texas. Ain't Nobody Nobody introduces us to Randy Mayhill who was forced into retirement and lost everything of importance to him after a scandal takes place, his best friend's family (Birdie and Onie) and a cast of supporting characters that bring this quiet East Texas tale to life.

It all begins with the discovery of an unidentified man dead on his best friend's property. Mayhill, being the
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Good job, Heather Harper Ellett. Lots of fun to read, with great quirky characters and fascinating local color. Definitely will look for more fromthis author.
Julie Huston
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Darkly funny and pleasantly fast-paced; mysterious and tender. If you think feral hogs, dementia and dead pine trees would not make for a heart warming read, think again. “Life is easier the more places you feel like home.” Having read Ain’t Nobody Nobody, I can add East Texas to my list.

Judy Johnson
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Slow beginning but a very satisfying ending. The writer definitely captured east Texans, and I know, because I am one!
Istoria Lit
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a great murder mystery. It has a gritty style which creates a really vivid story. I would highly recommend to fans of darker literature but it wasn't quite my cup of tea.
Jenn Z at That's What She's Reading

Spanning a realistic timeline and told in multiple yet seamless parts and perspectives, this is a slow-burning story with a deeply-rooted mystery that screams rural East Texas. Everything from the dialogue, monologues, settings, and description sets the tone and never lets you forget exactly where you are. But don't let the idea that because it takes place in some backwood country location fool you into thinking these characters are bumpkins and there's nothing really going on. They're clever,
Ariel Hess
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in those are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review. #partner #LSBBT

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the way it is written. I have not encountered a book quite like it recently. It is known from the first page that the
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this debut novel from Ellett, although I'm not certain how I'd classify it! It's a murder mystery but more than that, it's a character piece - one of the biggest characters being the Texas countryside. The main (human) character is Randy Mayhill, a disgraced lawman that I wasn't sure I liked until his dogs confirmed that he was, in fact, quite endearing, albeit a bit lost after the death of his best friend. Mayhill is messy, for sure, but he has a new mission to protect his late ...more
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

Ain't Nobody Nobody is a remarkably promising debut novel from Heather Harper Ellett. Released 24th Sept 2019 by Polis Books, it's 320 pages and available in hardcover and ebook formats.

This novel's southern gothic Texas tragicomedy is hung on a skeleton of a murder mystery around whose gravity vortex swirls a potent mix of family, redemption, guilt, poverty, ignorance, pride, drugs, corruption, and small town East Texas life. The reviewers who
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Peopled with a wonderful cast of characters who are endearing while also being incredibly flawed, this story reinforces the truth that nobody is all good or all bad. One of the things that comes across very profoundly is the fact that some people do what they believe they have to do out of a sense of duty and justice, like Randy Mayhill one of the main characters in the story. After the death of his friend, Van, Randy makes a vow to protect Van’s mama, Onie, and his daughter, Birdie, no matter ...more
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful bouquet of East Texas hog-rootin, Dr Pepper swillin, backwoods livin of a good time.

Everything about this book struck me as “just right”.

The length of the book was just right. The characters are well-developed....loveable and funny and quirky, without tipping into cartoon-y (which could have easily happened in a less talented writer’s hands).

The plot moves at a perfect pace, suspenseful when it’s called for, thoughtful and introspective in between. The prose is tight and quick in
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Book Cougars: Episode 92: Author Spotlight with Heather Harper Ellett 10 24 Jan 05, 2020 04:20PM  

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