CHRIS KELSEY’S WHERE THE HURT IS: A STORY OF MURDER AND SMALL-TOWN POLITICS IN 1960’S OKLAHOMA
PAWLING, NY, JUNE 1, 2018: It’s an unseasonably hot April night in 1965. The social revolutions rocking America have mostly bypassed Burr, a tiny rural community in western Oklahoma. Like much of the state, Burr remains as it’s always been: Religious. Conservative. And 100% white. When an unknown young African-American woman is found murdered on the railroad tracks outside town, most of Burr would rather look the other way. The town’s police chief, troubled local hero and ex-Marine Emmett Hardy, doesn’t have that luxury. A lover of books and jazz in the land of football and country & western, Emmett is an outsider in a place he knows like the back of his hand. In his search for the killer, he’s forced to slice through layers of hate and hypocrisy to confront the ethical rot at the town’s core, while being haunted by the vision of a life and love that might have been.
NY Times bestselling novelist Anne Hillerman (Cave of Bones, Spider Woman’s Daughter) calls Where the Hurt Is “poignant and funny, studded with characters who haunt your imagination long after you’ve read the final page … Emmett Hardy emerges as a complicated, passionate and flawed lawman in the spirit of Joe Leaphorn and Walt Longmire. The story flows like the vintage jazz the sheriff loves, marked by surprising riffs, changes in cadence, and an ending that balances harmony and discord. The rich, evocative setting captures the best and worst of small town, post Dust Bowl Oklahoma. The story grabs you simultaneously by both the heart and the imagination until, at the end, you’re left wondering how author Chris Kelsey managed to tell such a fine tale and what he’ll dream up next.”
About the Author: Chris Kelsey is an acclaimed jazz saxophonist/composer and music writer. The Oklahoma native has recorded more than 20 albums of his original compositions for the CIMP and Unseen Rain labels, as well as his own Saxofonis and Tzazz Krytyk imprints. He’s written extensively on music for Jazz Times, Jazziz, and The All Music Guide, among other publications. Kelsey’s CD, What I Say: The Electric Miles Project, won the 2013 Independent Music Award for Best Tribute Album. Kelsey now lives in Pawling, NY, where he teaches, writes, and composes. He is currently Director of Instrumental Music at Trinity-Pawling School. Where the Hurt Is is his first novel.