On a June night in 1856, a pro-slave gunman tried to silence The Sharon County Sentinel’s crusading Free State editor forever. Wounded and enraged, Emerson Knaule chased down his would-be assassin through the streets of Henrysville, Kansas, and wielding a righteous wooden mallet helped lay the foundation for civil war and a media empire with the legend born that night at The Skinning Tree.
Now veteran Iraq War newsman Michael McKane has backed away from his fast-track career in favor of small-town life and into Knaule’s legacy at the Sentinel. But Kansas never seems to stop bleeding. The bodies of young women are turning up with a serial killer’s calling card; local methamphetamine makers are mysteriously disappearing. “Mac” McKane wonders if courage is a thing of the past.
Heartfelt small town characters weave a tale that burns like a lit fuse. A town seeks salvation from terror, an editor tracks a killer, and a madman hungers for another victim; all under the shade of The Skinning Tree.