About this item
About the BookWhen the body of her violent stepfather surfaces in the Arkansas River twenty-five years after his disappearance, Jane Mooney returns to Maud Bottoms to reckon with her past, and discovers some secrets are better left undisturbed.
From the author of Cottonmouths, a Los Angeles Review Best Book of 2017, comes an evocative suspense about the cost of keeping secrets and the dangers of coming home.
Beneath the roiling waters of the Arkansas River lie dead men and buried secrets.
When Jane Mooney's violent stepfather, Warren, disappeared, most folks in Maud Bottoms, Arkansas, assumed he got drunk and drowned. After all, the river had claimed its share over the years.
When Jane confessed to his murder, she should have gone to jail. That's what she wanted. But without a body, the police didn't charge her with the crime. So Jane left for Boston--and took her secrets with her.
Twenty-five years later, the river floods and a body surfaces. Talk of Warren's murder grips the town. Now in her forties, Jane returns to Maud Bottoms to reckon with her past: to do jail time, to face her revenge-bent mother, to make things right.
But though Jane's homecoming may enlighten some, it could threaten others. Because in this desolate river valley, some secrets are better left undisturbed.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense - New and continuing series
"At the start of this gripping suspense novel from Ford (Cottonmouths), Jane Mooney, who's been living in Boston, returns home to Maud Bottoms, Ark....The truth slowly unfolds as the plot builds toward a surprising conclusion foreshadowed by a trail of skillfully disguised clues. Ford delivers the goods." --Publishers Weekly
"A confessed killer's return home brings long-buried secrets to life with a series of seismic jolts." --Kirkus Reviews
"Beautifully written and socially astute, Real Bad Things delivers on the promise of Ford's debut, Cottonmouths." --CrimeReads
"With layers of storytelling portraying generational trauma, small towns and the unbearable confines their scrutiny can place on anyone who feels different, and the unbreakable bonds that adversity can forge, Real Bad Things is sometimes a hard read, but always an excellent one. Readers looking for slow burn mystery with unforgettable characters and an unforgettable atmosphere will find here exactly what they need." --Mystery and Suspense Magazine
"This atmospheric, suspenseful novel will keep you guessing and page-turning all the way to the end." --Good Housekeeping
"Some writers seem to have a natural affinity for originality and the kind of narrative driven storytelling that immediately engages and then holds the reader's total attention from first page to last. Clearly, with the publication of Real Bad Things, Kelly J. Ford has proven herself to be one of those novelists." --Midwest Book Review
"Ford's 2017 novel, Cottonmouths, remains a standout in the suspense category, and she's back this year with a powerful story of a young woman who confesses to the murder of her stepfather." --CrimeReads
"Acclaimed author Kelly J. Ford spins a propulsive, sophisticated, and fearlessly queer tour de force in Real Bad Things. Ford's richly drawn characters and breathtaking storytelling create an inescapable undertow of menace that will not let go until the shocking final page. This is gothic suspense at its most haunting." --P. J. Vernon, author of Bath Haus
"Ford's follow-up to her devastating debut novel, Cottonmouths, is a moving meditation on misplaced loyalties, love, and the legacy of violence and abuse, all wrapped in a mystery filled with guy-wire tension." --John Vercher, author of Three-Fifths
"A powerful, grounded, and dark dose of rural noir, Real Bad Things is a tale of a homecoming gone wrong. Kelly J. Ford evokes the work of superstars like Gillian Flynn and Daniel Woodrell in this story of dark secrets coming back to roost and pulls it all through the prism of her own potent voice. This is a down and dirty crime novel that nods to the masters while keeping both feet firmly planted in the present. I loved it." --Alex Segura, acclaimed author of Secret Identity, Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, and Blackout
"Fans of the brilliant Netflix show "Ozark" will devour this book filled with quirky characters, dark secrets, and misplaced motivations, all laced with southern swagger. An outstanding literary crime thriller in all respects." --Jon Land