Dead Man Dancing by John Galligan (book cover)

Dead Man Dancing

by John Galligan

Book 2

Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Simon & Schuster | Mystery to Me

Galligan’s dark, painfully relevant Bad Axe County was one of my favorite thrillers of last year, and Dead Man Dancing sounds like a powerful follow-up.
2020 preview: Most anticipated mysteries & thrillers


In this sequel to the “gritty, brash, and totally gripping” (The Real Book Spy) thriller Bad Axe County, Sheriff Heidi Kick is investigating an illicit cage fighting ring with ties to white nationalism when her husband suddenly goes missing.

It’s a time for celebration in Bad Axe County as the town gathers for the annual Syttende Mai—or Norwegian Independence Day—festival. During this rollicking family-oriented event filled with dancing and food, Sheriff Heidi Kick discovers a dark and shocking event—a migrant worker has been savagely beaten but refuses to explain what happened. Then, a sudden murder of a band member shatters the festival. Something is deeply wrong in Bad Axe County.

As she looks for answers, Heidi plunges into a secret underworld where high-stakes cage fights double as combat training for the White Nationalist movement. Then all hell breaks loose for Heidi when her husband disappears and her enemies try to force a desperate bargain.

A timely portrait of the deep divisions and simmering tensions brewing in our country today, Dead Man Dancing takes you into the dark heart of a movement defined by violence and hate. Featuring John Galligan’s signature “striking prose, engaging characters” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), and unforgettable twists and turns, Dead Man Dancing is a breathless thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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… bring your knowledge of current events because Galligan ripped the pages out of a bunch of news magazines to make this book relevant, and as fresh as country air. Bring a bookmark, though you probably really won’t need it.

The Post Bulletin,
by The Bookworm Terri Schlichenmeyer

Hey, what are you still doing here? Why aren’t you out getting “Dead Man Dancing”? You should, you know. It’s a perfect chance to relax between river and prairie, near bluffs and coulees, and … a sleep-deprived Sheriff who loves her town and her neighbors. Indeed, despite that Bad Axe County residents seem both backward and forward-thinking, author John Galligan plays his characters like a tuba — loud, dexterously, and with a deep breath — making it hard not to want to visit Farmstead yourself.

Daily Jefferson County Union
“Thrills inside ‘Dead Man Dancing’ will get your heart hopping”

Given current tensions and deep divisions in the United States, Dead Man Dancing takes on an electrifying relevance made all the more effective thanks to Galligan’s vivid descriptions and emotional portrayal of his characters.

BookPage “American Nightmares”
feature by G. Robert Frazier 

Galligan juggles the multiple plotlines without ever straining credibility. Ace Atkins fans should be drawn to this gripping account of an honest law enforcement officer battling racists

Publishers Weekly
(read entire starred review)

Summer is a great time to pick up a mystery. Madison’s John Galligan knows how to write good ones; plus, he sets them in southern Wisconsin. – Isthmus

Heidi Kick was interim sheriff of this seedy Wisconsin territory. Now she’s full-time, sounding like somebody with a job. She fights with the payroll department over time off, and she’s undermined by big-bellied old boys who call her Sheriff Snowflake. … Some fine action scenes result, sparked by one outlandish villain: “I melted the snowflake,” he brags after throwing acid at a woman. “Hydrochloric justice.” Heidi doesn’t want any more of this scoundrel, but his presence certainly shifts the novel into overdrive, the way only a truly despicable villain can do.

Don Crinklaw, Booklist 


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: The Clarion – April 2021

The County Line newspaper summarized the book in Book review: ‘Dead Man Dancing by John Galligan – December 2020

Wausau Pilot and Review, Central Wis. Book Festival coming, September 2020

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Virtual entertainment weekend picks includes Dead Man Dancing author talk, August 2020

Cap Times included virtual author talk as a week highlight with a title of “Dance with the devil” in The Week Ahead – August 2020

Isthmus chose author event for Isthmus Picks (August 6-13, 2020)

BookPage: “Galligan’s dark, painfully relevant Bad Axe County was one of my favorite thrillers of last year, and Dead Man Dancing sounds like a powerful follow-up.” 2020 preview: Most anticipated mysteries & thrillers – January 2020

2020 Events (Dead Man Dancing)

October 2020

Fox Cities Book Festival 2020 (Virtual event)

“Crime in the Heartland: How Fiction Can Be Truer Than the Truth” hosted by Menasha Public Library

September 2020

Central Wisconsin Book Festival

Virtual Event, hosted by Marathon County Public Library, Wausau

August 2020

Murder He Wrote: John Galligan with James DeVita

Arcadia Books hosted this conversation via Zoom, here is the video.

August 2020

Virtual Author Visit: John Galligan with Doug Moe

Mystery to Me bookstore was our host
As mentioned in The Isthmus