Three young men are dead, stuffed in blue poly drums and dumped like trash in the Appalachian wilderness. The real story is buried far deeper than the bodies. It’s Taylor Beckett’s job to dig for it, but her inquiry into the case takes a dark turn when a local defies the community’s code of silence and becomes collateral damage at the hands of the Mountain Mafia.

The criminal dynamic of Southwest Virginia is unlike anything she’s seen in her career. But Taylor has a history she doesn’t share with anyone. Degrees of overlap between past and present give her unique insight. Do answers lie in the memory she fights so hard to repress? Most importantly, can Taylor face her own tragic secrets long enough to hold the guilty accountable?

Praise for HIGH KILL:
“The author has captured the culture and realities of so many communities in Appalachia. As I read chapter to chapter, I could picture the cases I have prosecuted over the years and the faces of the animals from these cases. Though disturbing at times, this book will keep the reader engaged and wanting more.”
Gillian Deegan, Virginia Prosecutor
“High Kill is all the things you expect in a good mystery novel – and much, much more. It’s also a look at a major problem in Southwest Virginia – rampant animal abuse, often aided and sometimes committed by the very Animal Control Officers who are paid to investigate it. And a look at the heart of Appalachia, with its Mountain Mafia of corrupt local officials, poverty and drugs. The journalist heroine chasing a serial murderer runs smack into the nexus of animal and human abuse. Fast-paced and well-written, it echoes all-too-common headlines in today’s papers.”
Terry Anderson, former war correspondent and hostage, author: Den of Lions
“Ryan’s … prose is textured and lived-in, particularly when describing the settings and people of Randall County…on the whole, the author manages to move beyond crime novel clichés and expose the deeper ills of the society in which her tale is set.”
Kirkus Reviews