You can take the title of this mystery quite literally! This is bloody, gritty, brutal, in a crime style I'll call "Ozark Lakes Noir." Readers who are squeamish about brutal child abuse, animal abuse, and bloody sport will find this mystery may not be to.their taste; but they will miss a tuned plot interwoven with backstory of tremendous impact. Author Linda Ladd also educated me in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts--which I had always thought meant some aesthetic combination of Judo, Karate, Shao Lin, sort of Bruce Lee combined with Jet Li; how wrong was I); and "Cage-fighting." (Shudder!) Ms. Ladd also weaves in a Russian mafiya thread, which appealed to this reviewer. I found the story line simultaneously both fascinating and repellent (as Detective Claire Morgan considers: How can people do this to themselves? How can they do this to each other? I'm glad I read it, but I kept my teeth gritted all the way through.