A Mystery Novel
In the space of one weekend in Morgantown, West Virginia, private investigator Big Jim Foote finds himself at the center of two murder investigations. Suspected of one killing at a local festival, he locates the body of a missing person immediately after. The cops are watching him, and Big Jim has a secret he dares not reveal: he is a bigfoot living in plain sight, charged with keeping his people in the surrounding hills from being discovered. To protect the bigfoot secret, he must solve both murders—and convince himself it wasn’t a bigfoot who pulled the trigger.
Through the course of his investigations, Big Jim is helped by unique and well-rendered characters and friends in both his bigfoot and human communities. Readers are introduced to Appalachian mountain folk and traditional culture in new ways, even while Big Jim experiences the impact of the opioid epidemic on his own bigfoot kin. By centering a mythical creature as the unlikely protagonist in this enchanting literary murder mystery, Foote offers a winsome redefinition of a cryptid “monster” and breathes new life into the PI genre.
Tom Bredehoft lives in Morgantown, West Virginia. In an earlier life, he was an English professor specializing in medieval literature.
“A tale about humanity wrapped in the garment of an excellent hard-boiled thriller. Part mystery, part fable but all original, Jim Foote is sure to be one of your favorite literary detectives—cryptid or otherwise.”
Jordan Farmer, author of The Poison Flood and The Pallbearer
“The first thing to say about Foote is that it is a strange and seemingly untenable hybrid of bigfoot fantasy and detective novel noir; the second is that its matter-of-fact voice and deeply authentic setting in the hollows of West Virginia render every part of the story perfectly real and entirely (marvelously) ordinary. This is a novel that uses moonshine heritage to delve into the modern opioid epidemic, and a novel that asks about the meaning of ‘otherness’ while reminding us what it means to be human. I fell into this book and loved it from the first page.”
Molly Gloss, author of Wild Life and The Heart of Horses
“Family, folklore, and mountain folk culture all play starring roles in this cryptozoological conundrum that delights and entertains at every twist of the trail.”
Southern Review of Books
“A pleasure to read. . . . The West Virginia otherworld Bredehoft patiently builds in this compact, 224-page whodunit is a delightfully odd noir mélange.”
West Virginia Humanities Council Broad Side