In the County Dark

Book Cover



Mike Mallow

TaleFlick Pick!

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A murder-for-hire gone wrong in a small Appalachian county puts two recently reunited childhood friends in the cross-hairs of an elusive rural crime lord. The two navigate a path of past traumas, broken dreams, and small town secrets in order to overcome the darkness, or become a part of it.



Short Summary

Main character, Cabel, reunites with Troy, his estranged childhood friend, just after Troy has been fired from his job. Unbeknownst to Cabel, Troy contacts with a local criminal known as El Oscuro to arrange a hit job on his boss' mother to get revenge.

With Troy killed and El Oscuro threatening to target him and his girlfriend next, Cabel takes matters into his own hands and enacts an elaborate trap to take down the criminal operation. In the end Cabel kills Oscuro's main operative in a shootout and sets fire to the cabin with Oscuro still inside.


Rural West Virginia

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth

Plot - Other Elements

Coming of Age,Philosophical Questions

Mature Audience Themes


Main Character Details

Name: Cabel Walsh

Age: 27

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Aspiring,Insecure,Strong Moral Code,Engaging,Underdog,Educated

Additional Character Details

Name: Troy Mason

Age: 27

Gender: Male

Role: Tempter

Key Traits: Aggressive,Uneducated,Desperate,Manipulative,Insecure

Additional Character Details

Name: El Oscuro

Age: 70

Gender: Male

Role: antagonist

Key Traits: Villainous,Aggressive,Confident,Criminal,Unapologetic

Additional Character Details

Name: Miranda Murray

Age: 29

Gender: Female

Role: emotional

Key Traits: Modest,Empathetic,Selfless,Faithful,Heroic,Educated,Honorable

Development Pitch

A murder-for-hire gone wrong in a small West Virginia community puts disenchanted journalist, Cabel Walsh, and recently reunited childhood friend, Troy Mason, in the cross-hairs of an elusive rural crime lord known as El Oscuro. Cabel and Troy navigate a rocky path of past traumas, broken dreams, and small victories as they find a way to overcome the dark underbelly of their community without becoming a part of the darkness themselves. Can be produced for cheap.

About The Author

Mike Mallow is a West Virginia native and award-winning newspaper producer. Other than writing, Mallow spends time working on creative projects ranging from graphic design, videography, photography, animation and painting.

Target Audiences

Age: 18-34

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: with a Publisher

Publisher: Cressen Books LLC

Year Published: 2020

Hard Copy Available







Cabel is a journalist who reconnects with his best friend from childhood , Troy. They become involved in a hitman scheme, investigating who is behind the murder. The clues lead to a drug ring, but Troy is caught in the crosshairs and killed. Cabel fights Oscura who is behind everything, fighting him in a shot out to stop him.

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: GOOD

Characterization: GOOD

Commerciality: GOOD

Franchise Potential: GOOD

Pace: GOOD

Premise: GOOD

Structure: GOOD

Theme: GOOD

Accuracy of Book Profile

Yes the book profile accurately reflects the book.

Draw of Story

The story starts off with a lot of information about the characters and really sets up the story. Troy is fighting a geriatric ex-boxer at the nursing home he works at. The pace and tone are set pretty quickly.

Possible Drawbacks

There story is predictable. The two estranged friends have to work together for the greater good. There is a lot of conflict between them. Troy had a drug problem, almost overdosing. Cabel feels guilty for not being there for him. Then Troy is killed and Cabel wonders if he could have done more for his friend. He sets out trying to find out who is responsible for the murders even though he is only a journalist. It's your typical journalist turn vigilante story.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

The hook is that in this small town a few people turn up dead in unusual circumstances. Now Cabel and Troy must use their resources to investigate who's behind it all.

Fanbase Potential

This could have a decent fanbase. It isn't breaking new ground with storytelling but it is entertaining. It is along the lines of a lifetime movie.

Awards Potential

This does not have any awards potential. This story has been done many times before and there isn't anything particularly unique about it.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

There is nothing original about this. It is a small town with a hidden drug problem. There is no part of this story that will not be familiar to the audience.

Lead Characters

The lead characters do not stand out. Cabel and Troy play off of each other like many other buddy crime couplings. Troy is the wild card with suspicious resources and a sordid past. Cabel is the straight, reasonable and responsible one. They both play to that without deviating.

Uniqueness of Story

This is an average story that would still be entertaining. It could be improved by having diversity with both main characters. There could be more creativity with the crimes and the murders. Secret drug overdose is not very original. It would be interesting for Cabel had a different profession as well. He is a local journalist who uncovers a deadly story in a small town.

Possible Formats

Film - Streaming, TV Series - Cable, TV Series - Streaming

Analyst Recommendation



The story is solid. It is not very different from other stories of its' genre, however. It can be updated and made more conscious of the current climate. Small town stories such as this are still popular but the plot could be made more interesting than drugs, especially in the age of technology.