Ron Rash may be the patron saint of country noir here at Hillbilly Highways, but it was Daniel Woodrell who coined the term “country noir” in the first place. He has always exemplified the country noir ethos, going back to his earliest work. The Bayou Trilogy was a conscious attempt to combine what he learned at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, pulp detective story sensibilities, and his mom’s French-American river culture heritage.
Woodrell’s earlier work fell out of print before he hit it big with the movie adaptation of Winter’s Bone. That success led Mulholland Books to put out an omnibus collecting his debut trilogy, consisting of Under the Bright Lights, Muscle for the Wing, and The Ones You Do. I consumed it in audiobook form, as narrated by Bronson Pinchot.