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Pay Dirt Road Audiobook Summary

Annie McIntyre has a love/hate relationship with Garnett, Texas.

Recently graduated from college and home waitressing, lacking not in ambition but certainly in direction, Annie is lured into the family business–a private investigation firm–by her supposed-to-be-retired grandfather, Leroy, despite the rest of the clan’s misgivings.

When a waitress at the cafe goes missing, Annie and Leroy begin an investigation that leads them down rural routes and haunted byways, to noxious-smelling oil fields and to the glowing neon of local honky-tonks. As Annie works to uncover
the truth she finds herself identifying with the victim in increasing, unsettling ways, and realizes she must confront her own past–failed romances, a disturbing experience she’d rather forget, and the trick mirror of nostalgia itself–if she wants to survive this homecoming.

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About the Author(s) of Pay Dirt Road

Samantha Jayne Allen is the author of Pay Dirt Road

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Pay Dirt Road Full Details

Length 8 hours 49 minutes
Author Samantha Jayne Allen
Publisher Recorded Books, Inc.
Release date April 19, 2022
ISBN 9781705050088


The publisher of the Pay Dirt Road is Recorded Books, Inc.. includes the following subjects: The BISAC Subject Code is Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths

Additional info

The publisher of the Pay Dirt Road is Recorded Books, Inc.. The imprint is Recorded Books, Inc.. It is supplied by Recorded Books, Inc.. The ISBN-13 is 9781705050088.

Global Availability

This book is only available in the United States.

Goodreads Reviews


November 30, 2022

This gritty Texas mystery introduces us to the world of Annie McIntyre. She is back in her hometown of Garnett, Texas and waitressing at the local cafe while she figures out what to do now that college is behind her. Even at her young age, there are skeletons in her closet that start to poke their way out as she tries to find out what happened the night a coworker was killed. Narrator Sandy Rustin really brings the characters of Garnett to life in this audiobook. Annie's grandfather and business partner Mary Pat run a detective agency. It's the prefect vehicle for Annie to poke around for answers. Along the way, we find ourselves looking at our own college experiences and the trajectories our families are on. I found Allen's writing giving a strong sense of place and also appreciated the character development in this first novel -- most especially that of Annie. Though the ratings on GR are on the lower side, I can see the promise in this series and the reasons the Tony Hillerman Prize was given. I'm definitely interested in seeing what happens next for Annie. If you have enjoyed Julia Heaberlin's books, you would also enjoy this one.


April 22, 2022

I was seeing Pay Dirt Road all over Bookstagram and I needed to read it. A big thank you to Recorded Books and Netgalley for my advanced audio copy to listen to. Over 2 days I was immersed in this small town murder mystery and I loved it.Set in Texas (which is somewhere that I have always wanted to go), a young woman goes missing and is later found murdered. Annie McIntyre teams up with her grandfather who is the town's PI to find the killer. Annie worked in the local diner with the victim and wants to find justice. This is a slow burn but one that kept me interested all the way through. I loved the characters and the secrets they were all hiding. The ending was surprising and really well done. Crime fiction and murder mystery fans will enjoy this one.

3 no 7

July 04, 2022

Annie McIntyre lives in Texas; Garnett, Texas; in God’s country, and “Pay Dirt Road” is her first person narrative. Events from her past, like a blast of Texas weather that one can see coming for miles, dominate her thoughts. She knows everyone and has known them for a while, known them before. She came back to Garnett not for some sense of purpose, but rather because here she was loved and loved well. Now, working in a café, with her college degree going to waste and student loans to be repaid, she wonders how she could be related to these people.The complex story unfolds by going back and forth in time. Readers learn what they need to know in the order in which they need to know it. The past is complicated; some see it as dark or ugly, but others want to turn over that past and take a closer look. Annie wonders if she had not gone to that place that day, had not witnessed it, would she have done something entirely different with her life. Some people never change; they carry the past with them, and eventually that past must be resolved in the present, and that task falls to Annie. She discovers that details of the story are missing or hidden, but every missing part will lead her to the answer. She could be a good detective; she wants to uncover the truth, to make things right.“Pay Dirt Road” is filled with of sensory descriptions that pull readers into the story: the quiet except for the road sounds from the highway overpass; the smell of icing filling the room; flecks of dry grass and foxtails stuck to their pant legs; the still air horizon the horizon wavy with shimmering heat. The pace is slow and deliberate but contains enough twists and surprises to keep readers involved. I received a review copy of “Pay Dirt Road” from Samantha Jayne Allen, St. Martin's Press, and Minotaur Books. It seems at first to be a light read, but as events unfold, the story becomes more complicated, compelling, and addictive.“Pay Dirt Road” is now available in print, as an e-book, and on audio from independent bookstores, online booksellers, retail stores, public libraries and anywhere you get your books.The past does not stay hidden forever.


April 18, 2022

PAY DIRT ROAD by Samantha Jayne AllenPublication: 4/19/22 by St Martin’s Press / Minotaur Books A tantalizing murder mystery debut that transitions smoothly to a nostalgic slice of life as our heroine struggles with gaining purpose and self-actualization. Annie McIntyre fought hard to leave her small town of Garnett, Texas and obtain a college education. However, after graduation she find herself returning home, to friends and family, and feeling rudderless. She’s living with her beloved cousin Nikki and waitressing at the town’s cafe, and apparently it’s main gathering place. She’s begun to form loose bonds with her workmates… including young single mother, Victoria, Fernando the cook, and the owner, Marlene. She collides with her past at the bonfire party on the Schneider’s south pasture. Everyone is there … not only Justin and Troy Scneider, but many of her high school friends, and rivals . Even the perennial home coming queen, holding court on a tailgate. It congers up many rivalries in the past with Ashley, Sabrina and Macy. As well as, attempted repressed memories of attending a college party as a seventeen-year old high school senior. Afterwards, she stopped drinking until her twenty-first birthday. She even runs into Wyatt Reed, her very first boyfriend, and wonders what might have been. He’s one year older, and already in graduate school, while she’s floundering. Her workmate, Victoria also shows up and quickly appears inebriated. She has once considered going to law school, but put it on hold. Her family has a long line of being involved in law enforcement … her father, a cop, and her grandfather, Leroy… once a cop and for a short time the county sheriff, and now almost retired but working with his old partner, Mary-Pat Zimmerman in a private investigation firm. She was approached about working with the firm , doing part-time secretarial work, but she envisions a possible role as an apprentice to learn the business. The morning after the bonfire, she learns that last night a bad accident occurred on the highway near their party. A man leaving a nearby club was walking home instead of driving and was struck by a vehicle, which sped away. And now, Victoria is missing. Several days later, Victoria’s body is found by law enforcement in a shallow grave, on Leroy’s land, and near the same highway. Coincidence?Two violent deaths in the same small town - a few miles apart, on the same night. Shortly after, Fernando is arrested for Victoria’s murder. His grandmother hires Mary-Pat and Leroy’s firm to investigate and prove Fernando’s innocence. He adamantly provides an alibi with a young women at a bar …. doesn’t remember her name, but provides a description that rings bells in Annie’s memory. Suddenly Annie is actively investigating on her own … following up leads that result in actually verifying his alibi. However, the woman is an illegal alien and will not come forward, for fear of being deported. As Annie continues to dig, she becomes enraptured with her need to seek justice and search for the truth. Someone paints on her car’s back window: “ U R NEXT “ …. she knows she’s close and won’t stop. Samantha Jayne Allen crafts a slow burn mystery, with many twists and reveals, while providing a host of possible suspects. The strength of her writing is in her almost lyrical prose and the depth of her characterization of Annie, that provides a multi-dimensional picture that sticks indelibly in the reader’s mind. Explored are the themes of self-discovery, and the challenges and hardships encountered in small town life, especially for young women. Thanks to NetGalley and St.Martin’s Press / Minotaur Books for providing an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review.


May 13, 2022

3.5/5 (rounded up)Pay Dirt Road: A Novel is Samantha Jayne Allen's debut novel, and while I haven't watched Friday Night Lights, I definitely agree with the sentiment that it has strong Mare of Easttown vibes. That was also a very slow burn as well as being more character-driven, which is exactly how I felt about this book. There is a mystery of course, but there is also a lot of focus on Annie as a character and how she interacts with the other people in this story. I really enjoyed how Allen brought small-town Texas to life, and at times, it reminded me a lot of watching the movie Erin Brockovich. The audiobook is narrated by Sandy Rustin, and I was really impressed with her voicing for this book. She was perfect for Annie and did a great job enhancing the story for me. She really pulled me in and helped keep my attention on what was going on. Pay Dirt Road could easily be the first of a series, and I would be interested to see more of Annie as I think her character has a lot of potential for growth. I don't know if the end totally shocked me, but one part was pretty surprising, and I really enjoyed the road taken to get there. I would recommend this to fans of slower burns and character-driven mysteries. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


March 18, 2022

In a nutshell: Annie, a recent college graduate, moves back to her small town and takes a waitressing job while trying to figure out what she wants to do. When her friend/co-worker goes missing after a bonfire, Annie finds herself lured into the family’s private investigation firm. While trying to piece together what happened that night, Annie is forced to confront the similarities to her own past.I really enjoyed this book. It’s a slow burn mystery with atmospheric small town vibes and characters as well as the added element of political/environmental issues when an oil company becomes involved. Along with the disappearance, you also get glimpses into parts of Annies past that she is struggling to remember and come to terms with. Keep in mind that if you’re looking for a fast paced edge of your seat read, you won’t find it here. This is a classic rural character driven mystery, with familial ties incased in a mystery. If this turns into a series I will definitely check out the next book.3.5 ⭐️


April 19, 2022

Enjoyable debut, rich in local rural Texas color and colorful complications. The main character, too, is refreshingly and realistically complicated: college-aged but adrift, living mostly on distractions and dishwater tips and dealing with men who aren't quite right for her even if she can't quite see it clearly. She doesn't make for a particularly convincing detective, but her dogged pursuit of the truth and her determination to do justice by those who have been wronged, even as she struggles to get out of her own distracted way, are not just admirable but admirably human. It's nice to see a crime-solver who's a hot mess without being a hyper-stylized, hyper-sexualized hot mess ala Stephanie Plum. Looking forward to seeing Annie McIntyre grow in further adventures, though hopefully in stories with more plausible climactic scenes (the one in PAY DIRT ROAD will make readers sprain their eyeballs while rolling them, it’s so slapdash and implausible) and perhaps a few fewer peripheral characters.


May 02, 2022

Pay Dirt Road by @samallenwrites has the perfect small town, middle of nowhere, scrappy lead female character whose life is a little in shambles, missing person mystery vibe that I just freaking love. It completely reminded me of the movie Wind River (which I frigging LOVE that movie) - tensions between a town and incoming oil developers. Small town folk who’ve never left. Secrets and drama and history that threatens to erupt at every turn. I devoured it, it’s a weekend reading date you’ll love.


May 16, 2022

3.5 rounded up…so I guessed the murderer pretty early on, but that isn’t the author’s fault. It is my mother’s! She and I watched and read way too many true crime and murder shows for anything to surprise me now. What set this one apart from the countless murder books that I have read, are the well drawn characters. It’s intended to be a series, and I am definitely interested to see how these characters develop, so count me in!


January 26, 2022

** spoiler alert ** Small town Garnett Texas, has its's history of secrets.Annie's grandfather owns a private investigating firm, which Annie seemed to gravitate to. Annie's friend Victoria worked as a waitress at a local cafe. One night Victoria goes missing, she has some property her grandmother left her and now someone wants that property.Annie finds evidence that will uncover the disappearance of Victoria. The author rough the feel of Texas through out this book.I won this free book form Minotaur Books.

Sue Em

September 02, 2021

Totally evocative debut mystery -- its sense of place so revved up the dusty wind burns your eyes. After finishing college, Annie McIntyre returns to her small Texas town to regroup before deciding whether to go to law school and incur more student loan debt. Jobs don't come easy there, even with a degree and she ends up waitressing. When her co-worker ends up dead after a big bonfire party, Annie is compelled to search for the killer. Fueled by guilt of not giving her a ride home, the search forces Annie to face some past incidents she had tried to suppress. An original take on an origin story of a private investigator. Highly recommended! Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


March 16, 2022

Rural noir has found a stunning new voice in Samantha Jayne Allen's Pay Dirt Road, a pitch-perfect literary mystery as beautiful and thrilling as a summer storm. Channeling Veronica Mars by way of Mare of Easttown, waitress Annie McIntyre investigates the murder of a girl everyone wants to forget in her hometown of Garnett, Texas. With its haunted setting and uncompromising voice, Allen's debut invokes the restless, melancholy backroads of the Lone Star State, ranking her with Kathleen Kent, Attica Locke, and the best of the new generation of Texas writers.


August 01, 2022

Pub : April 29, 2022Thank you @minotaur_books for the ARC to read and review !When a book is described as Friday Night Lights meets Mare of Easttown, you know I have to read it!This year has been all about discovering debut or new -to -me authors that have immediately grabbed a spot on my permanent reading list.Samantha Jayne Allen is no exception. With her debut novel Pay Dirt Road, she’s laid her claim as one to watch with her character- driven small town mysteries.Annie returns home to Garnett, Texas after college. She’s waitressing and trying to figure out what’s next. When one of her colleagues disappears, she’s quickly drawn into the investigation and teams up her supposed-to-be-retired grandfather Leroy, a local P.I. and former Sheriff.I love small town mysteries where the town is just as much of a character as any player in the story. Allen’s atmospheric writing style really shines in this type of book.I could feel the dust and smell the bonfire smoke as Allen brings Garnett to life and brings the reader into its world in a multi- sensory way.Annie is a strong lead. Her character is well- developed and you see her learn and grow throughout the book. Her relationship with her grandfather Leroy was a highlight for me.I look forward to reading Hard Rain, the next book is the series! It’s set to pub April 2023.


September 18, 2021

Small Town Texas. A young woman trying to find herself, wading through her past, the people, place and things that make up who she is becoming. She's done with school and waitressing.An oil company is moving in buying up or taking land from the people around the town. With the oil company comes harder men, pollution and the politics of a big company.Part of Annie's family has been in law enforcement and the P.I. business forever. Her grandfather and his business partner have asked her to apprentice with them. Vividly aware of the danger and her immediate family's disapproval she accepts.When one of her co workers is murdered after a wild party Annie's determined to find the killer.This is a good mystery. Annie makes some really dangerous moves when she drinks to much, which she does often. It's a very reflective story of a young woman's life in small Town Texas. Definitely a nail biter. If this was a movie I would have been sitting on the edge of my seat cussing at the screen!!!Actually this book would make a great movie.I'd like to thank St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the review copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


November 30, 2021

I liked Pay Dirt Road. Was it a little predictable? Yes. Was it base thriller/mystery writing? Yes. Was it worth my time? 100%, and it will be worth your time as well. A warning for those suffering from PTSD related to sexual assault, however, as the book deals with this at various points. I realize some may feel that bleeds into spoiler territory, but I am withholding much more than I divulge, I promise.The plot is fairly straight forward and easy to follow. I found that rather refreshing compared to some thriller plots that have so many twists you need a flow chart to follow them. There is a murder (or two) and there are suspects. All revolve around a protagonist who deals with her own wounds throughout the book. I will say that the second murder isn’t as well-handled as the primary murder. It gets kind of forgotten in the melee. Setting is really well done. I’m from a small community in Kansas and married a Texas woman. This is just really on the nose as far as how this is all done. The author does a really good job of capturing small town flavor, the good and the bad of it (a lot is admittedly bad). Characters were OK bordering good. The protagonist is really good. The bad guy is off a little in my opinion, but they fulfill the intended goal. The mentor is good-ish. The victim, interestingly enough, is really well done. Overall, 4 stars because, for a debut novel, this is really quite good and worth my time as a reader/reviewer. I look forward to what comes next from this author.


September 12, 2021

A story of a reluctant private investigator — Annie is back home in small town Texas after college graduation without many life plans. When a fellow waitress goes missing, instead of considering law school, Annie gets drawn into her grandfather’s “family business” of private investigation. The plot is classic “ordinary person gets entangles in a murder mystery” story, but it’s told with such atmospheric detail that you truly feel the dust swirling around you and see the endless roads to nowhere. Annie grows as a character and it’s hard to not root for her success. The plot is well structured and realistic and Ms. Jayne has a future as a storyteller. 4 solid stars. Thanks to Net Galley and Minotaur for the advance copy. Watch for its publication in April 2022.Literary Pet Peeve Checklist:Green Eyes (only 2% of the real world, yet it seems like 90% of all fictional females): NO human beings. There is a coyote, but….in real life coyotes have golden brown eyes.Horticultural Faux Pas (plants out of season or growing zones, like daffodils in autumn or bougainvillea in Alaska): NO.it’s September, the time when trumpet vines would be blooming.


November 02, 2021

Pay Dirt Road is the debut novel from the 2019 Tony Hillerman Prize recipient Samantha Jayne Allen.The novel is focused upon small town Garnett, Texas - a place Annie McIntyre hoped to leave forever when she started college. Unfortunately she is back following graduation, waitressing at the town cafe looking for direction for her future and hoping to find a "real job." Much of the start of the novel is focused upon developing main characters and the interesting complexity of this small town. It's not until one third of the way into the novel when the murder of her waitressing friend that the mystery is introduced and Annie finds herself attracted to investigation work.The novel is pitched as a country noir and I don't disagree. It is a very slow burn. The premise is well written and the mystery is interesting. I highly recommend to those that enjoy a literary mystery and writing similar to the great Damnation Spring. There is beauty in the writing and an uncurrent of ecological disaster and danger throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it highly and look forward to Samantha Jayne Allen's next!

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