Herculean FBI agent James Strait, hailed as a national hero for stopping a terrorist attack, is forced into a life of disability by a rare disease, Until a child asks him to use his skills to find her missing friend.
Nine-year-old Jophia Williams vanishes on a lonely country road, leaving behind only a headless teddy bear. Strait discovers the “murder” scene was faked and that other African-American children have also gone missing. As he chases down clues revealing an underworld of violent racists in his hometown, he needs to fight people who will go to any length to stop him, including an incompetent police chief, his conniving superiors at the FBI, and a mysterious stranger on a motorcycle who keeps trying to kill him.
Strait must also contend with the horrors of his disease and demons from his past. Can he win the race against time to rescue the children? Can he save himself?
"Eidswick (The Language of Bears, 2017) portrays his protagonist with great depth; Strait is a stoical combination of grit and emotional vulnerability. In addition, the author artfully raises provocative questions about the fraught relationship between race and institutional power. Finally, there's plenty of gripping action here, cinematically depicted." - Kirkus Reviews
"Part of what makes The Rabbit Skinners more than a one-dimensional mystery surrounding a kidnapped child is that John Eidswick takes the time to explore small town relationships, from infidelity and dubious friendships to the social and political connections that make or break a small town's people. The Rabbit Skinners embraces themes of good and evil, courage and fear, prejudice and love, and an unexpected touch of romance. Mystery readers will find it a compelling read from beginning to end." -D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
The Rabbit Skinners by John Eidswick is fully comparable and sometimes superior to any Jack Reacher or Lucas Davenport novel on the market. Such comparison is meant to convey just how good this book is. Besides the meticulously satisfying plot (more on that later,) this deftly-paced mystery thriller checks every box included in the mythical Writer’s Guide to Writing. Namely, dialogue is pitched so finely tuned that one actually hears the characters speaking; these characters themselves are so well sketched, one thinks he must have met them somewhere before; and the myriad tiny details necessary to establish place are so lavishly but unobtrusively sprinkled throughout that one feels (and hears, and smells) himself to be fully there in person. And all of this precision writing skill is devoted to telling a marvelously plotted story about a 9-year-old missing girl.
Like both Reacher and Davenport, James Strait, lead character and FBI agent-on-hold, is a BIG man in John Eidswick’s The Rabbit Skinners. Unlike his uber-healthy predecessors in this popular genre, however, Strait suffers from debilitating bouts of Ménière's disease, as well as some lingering guilt from a previous raid gone wrong. In one of life’s mysterious synchronicities, Strait’s search for the missing child resonates much too strongly with the case of another child he could not save. This time, he does not mean to fail. A twisting but logical plot line moves Strait among an intriguing cast of people, places, and potentially fatal situations, making this book a truly exciting and highly enjoyable read.