"Some people just need killing."
-Ned Parker, The Rock Hole
Vengeance Is Mine, the fourth Red River Mystery by Reavis Z. Wortham, will be available in July from Poisoned Pen Press.
In October of 1967, The Summer of Love is history, rock and roll is dark and revolutionary, and people in the small east Texas community of Center Springs simply want to live their lives as quietly as possible. But a handsome darkness in the form of Las Vegas gangster Anthony Agrioli has left the business to hide out in the tiny backwater settlement with his blond bombshell girlfriend.
Two years earlier, Agrioli met newlyweds Cody and Norma Faye Parker in a Vegas casino and heard their enthusiastic descriptions of the perfect place to settle down and raise a family. At least it was perfect, before their peaceful world found itself directly in the crosshairs of a coming confrontation.
Back in Center Springs, thirteen-year-old Top Parker has what his grandmother, Miss Becky, calls a Poisoned Gift. His dreams, though random and disconnected, always seem to come true. This time Top dreams he’s a wagon hub with spokes converging from all directions. To him, the spokes symbolize that something is coming, but he doesn’t know their quiet community will soon be a combat zone when the gangsters arrive, but they’re after something else and not Agrioli... yet.
A sheriff crooked as a dog’s hind leg, an unsolved murder in the river bottoms, counterfeit money and a bank robbery all wrapped in a country Shakespearian comedy once again brings together Constable Ned Parker, Constable Cody Parker, Deputy John Washington, Judge O.C. Rains, and the rest of Wortham’s real and sometimes wacky cast of characters.
The Right Side of Wrong, the third Red River Mystery by Reavis Z. Wortham, is available from Poisoned Pen Press.
Burrows ended as 1965 drew to a close with Constable Cody Parker's frightening precognition of gathering storm clouds for the tight-knit Parker family from Center Springs, Texas. The dreams proved accurate. Cody is ambushed and nearly killed on a lonely country road during an unusually heavy snowfall. With that attack, the locals begin to worry that The Skinner, from The Rock Hole, has returned.
Constable Ned Parker struggles to connect a seemingly unrelated series of murders as his nephew recovers. As the summer of 1966 approaches, rock and roll evolves to reflect the increasing unrest in this country, and the people of northeast Texas wonder why their once peaceful community has suddenly become a dangerous place to live.
Humor, suspense, horror, precognition, and life in the tumultuous 60s are examined with an unflinching eye by the author of the Red River series.
"A sleeper that deserves wider attention."
—The New York Times
"Wortham’s third entry in his addictive Texas procedural set in the 1960s is a deceptively meandering tale of family and country life bookended by a dramatic opening and conclusion. C.J. Box fans would like this title."
—Starred Review, The Library Journal
"Folksy neighbors, good old boys, and Bible-thumping grandmas all speak with a twang so thick it could only be cut with a chainsaw. Two preteen cousins, Top and Pepper, a tomboy, give new meaning to the term 'reckless endangerment.' Readers will want to see a lot more of the (mostly) law-abiding Parker clan."
Wortham "moves into the territory of Cormac McCarthy." This third book in the Red River Mystery series "is so involved with its time and place, it transcends it. The books have grown darker and the characters confront more ambiguous themes, which amps up the atmosphere and fun."
"If you like mystery tales set deep in the heart of rural Texas, you may relish The Right Side of Wrong."
—The Dallas Morning News
Discover the whole Red River Mystery series on the Books page.
As a boy, award-winning writer Reavis Z. Wortham hunted and fished the river bottoms near Chicota, Texas, the inspiration for Center Springs. He is the author of Doreen's 24 HR Eat Gas Now Café. Humor editor and frequent contributor for Texas Fish and Game Magazine, he writes on everything from fishing to deer hunting. In addition to several other magazines, his work has appeared in American Cowboy and Texas Sporting Journal. A retired educator of 35 years, he and wife Shana live in Frisco, Texas. More about Reavis