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Section Roads

“Mike Murphy is a true wordsmith with a keen sense of humor and deep insight. If you like Stand By Me (Stephen King’s The Body), you’ll fall in love with Section Roads.”


When attorney Cullen Molloy attends his fortieth high school reunion, he doesn’t expect to be defending childhood friends against charges of murder…

In a small town on the high plains of Eastern New Mexico, life and culture are shaped by the farm roads defining the 640-acre sections of land homesteaders claimed at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Cullen and Shelby Blaine explore first love along these section roads during the 1960’s, forging a life-long emotional bond.

As junior high school band nerds, Cullen and Shelby fall under the protection of football player and loner, Buddy Boyd. During their sophomore year of high school, Buddy is charged with killing a classmate and is confined to a youth correctional facility. When he returns to town facing the prospect of imprisonment as an adult, Cullen becomes Buddy’s protector.

The unsolved case haunts the three friends into adulthood, and it isn’t until their fortieth reunion, that they’re forced to revisit that horrible night. When a new killing takes place, Cullen, Shelby and Buddy find themselves reliving the nightmare.

Murder is an easy thing to hide along old country section roads.

Book Reviews
The fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, is famous for his belief that the smiling countryside holds more sins than do the “lowest and vilest alleys of London.” The scattered homes and rolling fields may look idyllic to some. To Holmes, they create a sense of dread because “of their isolation and the impunity with which crimes may be committed there.” (“The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”) Mike Murphey has set Section Roads, his intense story of treachery, in the rural town of Arthur in Eastern New Mexico. Holmes would shiver at the sight of the farm roads—called section roads—that were formed when the 640-acre sections of land were claimed by homesteaders over 100 years ago. “Brown, withering corn stalks filled fields to either side of the narrow drive . . . creating a sense of encroaching walls, and a cold breeze rustled their dry leaves, as if something crept through the corn.” This is crime’s dwelling place. Readers will be mesmerized by Murphey’s descriptive language throughout the book as they meet Cullen Molloy, Shelby Blaine, and Hezekiah “Buddy” Boyd, three friends in and out of various emotional states, who return to Arthur in 2009 for their fortieth high school reunion. Events from the ‘60s still haunt the three, and reckoning time has come. The author skillfully weaves the story back and forth from the ‘60s to the present in 2009. The juxtaposition serves to reveal the startling similarities in characters and events over forty years. In his sophomore year in 1966, Buddy was convicted of killing a young girl and sent to a youth correctional facility. The details of his crime are baffling. He was ordered, as part of his punishment, to return to Arthur as a senior and deal with the community, including the girl’s vengeful uncle. Then, another murder. This time, during the reunion weekend. Cullen, now an attorney, finds himself at the center of a complex mystery when some of his friends, including Buddy, are arrested for the crime. Section Roads will surprise you as murder weapons and fingerprints appear and disappear, suspects are arrested, then unarrested, emotions flame, then turn to embers—or do they? If Holmes were in Arthur, New Mexico, he’d probably say, “Run for your lives to the nearest big city!”
San Diego Reader - Amazon Review

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“Mike Murphy is a true wordsmith with a keen sense of humor and deep insight. If you like Stand By Me (Stephen King’s The Body), you’ll fall in love with Section Roads.”