Gill's Rock
by Ronald Conradt

"He needed these fools but he had decided that when they got back to Missouri, he was going to get away from them and find new friends—friends with a brain."

Ronald Conradt’s thriller, Gill’s Rock, juxtaposes the vibrant colors of autumn’s falling leaves with gray, overcast skies and choppy bay waters in the bucolic setting of Door County, Wisconsin. It’s another juxtaposition however, that’s at the heart of Conradt’s story. That juxtaposition is both timeless and universal. It is the juxtaposition of good and evil.

Tourist season is ending in this picture postcard environment, and none too soon for Jon Burke, his fiancé, and his close circle of friends. The locals soon discover however, that vacationers are but a mild annoyance compared to other interlopers who have made their way to Door County for much more nefarious reasons. Unbeknown to those residents, four foul smelling miscreants have taken refuge in an abandoned farmhouse, not to enjoy the solitude of the environment, but rather to brew up a batch of methamphetamines they plan to both use and sell. Unbeknown to the foul four, the rightful owners of the money and drugs they stole to set up their enterprise have tracked them to the Wisconsin peninsula with violent retribution in mind. Before too long, the entire community is awash in breaking and entering, theft, robbery, attempted murder, gun battles in restaurants, and all manner of mayhem.

Conradt’s narrative intertwines the everyday activities of the locals with the machinations of the dopers, the pursuit by the gangland avengers, and the tribulations of the homegrown police trying to keep up with it all. It’s a mosaic that reminds readers that, even among pastoral playgrounds, wickedness sometimes lurks.

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