Bad Moon Rising by John Galligan (book cover)

Bad Moon Rising

by John Galligan

New! 2021 Book 3

Order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Simon & Schuster | Mystery to Me

As unique a place in the mystery universe as you will ever find…smooth, unexpected, and memorable. This book is a diamond in the rough.

—Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author


A record heat wave suffocates remote rural Wisconsin as the local sheriff tracks down a killer hidden in the depths of the community in this atmospheric, race-to-the-finish third mystery in the Bad Axe County series.

Sheriff Heidi Kick has a dead body on her hands, a homeless young man last seen alive miles from the Bad Axe. Chillingly, the medical examiner confirms what Sheriff Kick has been experiencing in her own reoccurring nightmares of late: the victim was buried alive. As the relentless summer heat bears down and more bodies are discovered, Sheriff Kick also finds herself embroiled in a nasty reelection campaign. These days her detractors call her “Sheriff Mommy”—KICK HER OUT holler the opposition’s campaign signs—and as her family troubles become public, vicious rumors threaten to sway the electorate and derail her investigation.

Enter Vietnam veteran Leroy Fanta, editor-in-chief of the local paper who believes Heidi’s strange case might be tied to a reclusive man writing deranged letters to the opinions section for years. With his heart and liver on their last legs, Fanta drums up his old journalistic instincts in one last effort to help Heidi find a lead in her case, or at least a good story…

With simmering tension that sweats off the page, Bad Moon Rising infuses newsworthy relevance with a page-turning story of crime in America’s heartland, capturing global issues with startling immediacy while entertaining from start to finish.

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PRAISE: Bad Moon Rising

As the pages turn, the author prompts readers to consider a range of timely issues (climate change, homelessness, corrosive wealth) via masterfully executed and action-packed storylines that coalesce in a shockingly memorable final act sure to leave readers eager for the next Bad Axe County thriller.

BookPage (starred review)

[S]uspenseful… Readers will root for Kick as the action builds to a satisfyingly hard-edged denouement. Fans of gritty rural crime, such as Ace Atkins’s Quinn Colson series, will be enthralled.

Publishers Weekly

As unique a place in the mystery universe as you will ever find…smooth, unexpected, and memorable. This book is a diamond in the rough.

— Michael Connelly,
#1 New York Times bestselling author

[A] compelling country noir in which a few good souls attempt to fight entropy.


Fascinating characters, a thoroughly original voice, and a riveting sense of place and atmosphere . . . Unputdownable.

— Ausma Zehanat Kahn,
Author of A Deadly Divide

If you like your thrillers seasoned with a hefty dose of noir, and a big tale wrapped in a small package, “Bad Moon Rising” should be on your must-read list for summer.

— The Providence Journal,
Jon Land’s picks for June’s must-read thrillers

In your mind somewhere, there may be a checklist of things you need in a good mystery: a few gruesomely-dead bodies, for sure. A crimesolver who isn’t squeaky-clean. Murder scenes that make you grimace, perhaps. And a sense of forboding, yes! all of which you’ll find in “Bad Moon Rising”.

— APG Wisconsin, Terri Schlichenmeyer,
The Bookworm Sez

Galligan’s latest ‘Bad Axe County’ novel is a heady combination of brooding meditation and adrenaline-fueled action, as this remote Wisconsin outpost sees a potential serial killer back in action during a brutal heat wave. Local law enforcement and a Vietnam vet turned crusading local journalist join into the investigation, as the community reckons with just how sinister a villain they have on their hands. Galligan writes swift, atmospheric prose that will keep the pages turning.

— Crimereads,
The Most Anticipated Crime Books Of 2021: Summer Reading Edition

Madison author, Galligan, has written another gritty, gripping addition to his series set in rural Wisconsin. Kick, as her name implies, strikes hard when she’s forced to. This is becoming one of my go-to series.

— The Morning Blend WTMJ-TV Milwaukee,
Summer Reads with Carole Barrowman

Galligan has forged a television deal with Skydance, a major Hollywood studio involved with the “Mission Impossible” series, possibly leading to a television series.Skydance purchased “Bad Axe County” and “Dead Men Dancing” options…


In Bad Moon Rising Galligan shows a masterly understanding of human nature and the troubled world we live in. Heidi Kick is a fully formed character that earns sympathy and respect. The heartland setting and the rising tension, shot through with a sparky sense of humor, makes for a truly terrific read.

— Cynthianna Matthews ,


A quiet summer turned deadly, Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Meridian Star – October 2021

Podcast interview with John Galligan, Cindy Burnett, Thoughts from a Page  – July 2021

8 books that range from ‘Traveling Black’ to grilling veggies right to the real story of bugs, Chicago Sun Times – July 2021

Read ‘Bad Moon Rising’ — you’ll find it quite the mystery, Daily Jefferson County Union – July 2021

5 books not to miss: ‘Willie Nelson’s Letters to America…’  Barbara VanDenburgh, USA TODAY – June 2021

Interview (video), Chris Voss Show – June 2021

Review of Bad Moon Rising: “The suspense is unrelenting to the very end.”, Rogers Reads – June 2021

Know Your Madisonian: ‘No secret’ to publishing, says MATC teacher and author of 8 books,  Kelly Meyerhofer, Wisconsin State Journal – June 2021

Blackbird Writers “Live author interviews with mystery and thriller authors (video)” – June 2021

Rural Wisconsin sheriff faces her fears in new mystery: Jane Ammeson, NWI Times – June 2021

8 thrilling new mysteries for summer 2021 reading, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – May 2021

MATC The Clarion author interview: “Madison College instructor inspired by nature” – April 2021

Book Review, Mystery and Suspense Magazine,  Blaine DeSantis – March 2021

2021 Events – Bad Moon Rising

DECEMBER 1, 2021

Totally Criminal Cocktail Hour with John Galligan

Valley Bookseller  event at Zephyr Theatre. Reservation includes the program plus shopping coupon for the night of the event. A cash bar is available and food trucks to be available.

October 21, 2021

Meet Local Author: Verona Public Library

John Galligan will discuss Bad Moon Rising: A Bad Axe County Novel. This latest mystery/thriller infuses newsworthy relevance with a page-turning story of crime in America’s heartland, capturing global issues with startling immediacy while entertaining from start to finish.

September 11 2021

2021 Printers Row Lit Fest:

“Thrilling Fiction” moderated by Keir Graff

The Lit Fest is a two-day literary extravaganza featuring more than 100 authors and booksellers.

Location: Center Stage, Dearborn St, Chicago

July 11, 2021

Book Signing (in person) at Arcadia Books

Spring Green WI

June 28, 2021

Virtual Author Visit: John Galligan with James DeVita

Brought to you by Arcadia Books in Spring Green, WI, and Mystery to Me in Madison, WI.