Pickard County Atlas

Pickard County Atlas

Small-town secrets loom large in this spellbinding rural noir about the aftershocks of crime and trauma that shake a Nebraskan town

In a dusty town in Nebraska’s rugged sandhills, weary sheriff’s deputy Harley Jensen patrols the streets at night, on the lookout for something—anything—out of the ordinary. It’s July 1979, and the heat is making people ornery, restless. That and the Reddick family patriarch has decided, decades after authorities ended the search for his murdered boy’s body, to lay a headstone. Instead of bringing closure, this decision is the spark that threatens to set Pickard County ablaze.

On the fateful night of the memorial service, Harley tails the youngest Reddick and town miscreant, Paul, through the abandoned farms and homes of their run-down town. The pursuit puts Harley in the path of Pam Reddick, a restless young woman looking for escape, bent on cutting the ties of motherhood and marriage. Filled with desperate frustration, Pam is drawn to Harley’s dark history, not unlike that of her husband, Rick—a man raised in the wreckage of a brother’s violent death and a mother’s hardened fury.

Unfolding over six tense days, Pickard County Atlas sets Harley and the Reddicks on a collision course—propelling them toward an incendiary moment that will either redeem or end them. Engrossing, darkly funny, and real, Chris Harding Thorton’s debut rings with authenticity and a nuanced sense of place even as it hums with menace, introducing an astonishing new voice in suspense.

Title:Pickard County Atlas
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780374231255
Format Type:

    Pickard County Atlas Reviews

  • Fran

    "Pickard County's dirt was erratic as the weather...it'd once drawn people accustomed to life on cusps. Farm kids, immigrants, children of freed slaves. They'd come a century before for cheap railroad...

  • Diane S ?

    So many empty houses fill these dusty streets in this small town in Nebraska. People have left, some have died and those that remain harbor unimaginable griefs. Some are living desperate lives that th...

  • Donna Davis

    What a way to start off the new year! Chris Harding Thornton has written one of those debut novels, the sort that makes an author reluctant to publish a second book, lest it fail to live up to the fir...

  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    3.5 starsIn the summer of 1978 the Reddick family has been grieving the loss of seven-year-old Dell Jr. for 18 years. His mama Virginia has never gotten over the fact that his body was never found and...

  • Kasa Cotugno

    Pickard County Atlas is a great title for this debut by a very gifted writer. Set in a small town with all the interwoven histories simmering very close to the surface, the memory of the murder of a s...

  • Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing.In a dying, isolated part of Nebraska, nothing much happens, except a kid was killed some years ago, affecting everyone in the town. When a corpse's clothes are ...

  • Robert Intriago

    The main theme of this is: wrong assumptions have consequences. In a small town in Nebraska populated by abandoned houses and trailers hides a secret. Deputy Sheriff Harley patrols the streets at n...

  • Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    PICKARD COUNTY ATLAS was the last book I picked up to read in 2020 and the first I finished in 2021. It was a terrific way to end one year and begin a new one. The quality of the plotting and writing ...

  • Eric

    Pickard County Atlas by Chris Harding Thornton unfolds during a July 1978 summer in rural Nebraska and is told in alternating chapters featuring a handful of primary characters.As the story is told, e...

  • Lesa

    Ithought Laura McHugh’s The Wolf Wants In was a dark, grim book. Chris Harding Thornton’s debut, Pickard County Atlas, has that beat. The story, set in north-central Nebraska, has a foreboding atm...