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Down Don't Bother Me: Slim in Little Egypt    by Jason Miller order for
Down Don't Bother Me
by Jason Miller
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2015 (2015)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Southern Illinois mining country is known as Little Egypt. Reporter Dwayne May's body is found in the depths of the Knight Hawk mine with his mini-recorder tied around his neck and a notepad stuffed in his mouth. A terrible place to die. Deep, dark, lonely and depressing. He must have been on the trail of a story. May's photographer, Guy Beckett, is missing as well.

Since Beckett is the mine owner's son-in-law, this is a crime that can't be ignored. Not in Little Egypt. Slim has a reputation for finding those who are lost. Matthew Luster, the mine owner, approaches Slim to find the missing man. Slim is not happy with the treatment of the miners – poor working conditions, poor pay, run off from the mines poisoning the water. Too many cases of cancer as well as terrible lung problems.

Even though he is offered a better working position in the mine, he turns down the owner. However, when he is promised that his pension will be secured, he accepts. He has a young daughter's future to consider. This decision pulls Slim into a mire of 'rednecks, rubes, freaks, tweakers, gun nuts, and aging hippies'. Not to mention the possibility of another murder or so. Including Slim’s.

Down Don't Bother Me begins as an unpretentious novel that becomes a testimony to the perils and after-effects of mining, about which I am sure the author, Jason Miller, feels strongly. He certainly brings to light a different life than you or I live. Extremely different. I found this book very intriguing, opening up a whole new facet of the world.

Also, I was fascinated by Miller's descriptive art. His appreciation of nature is very evident without intruding at all on the plot. It's a true pleasure to walk with him through the beautiful countryside and feel a part of it. The story, however, will grip you and not let go until its dénouement. A very good read.

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