"Some people just need killing."
—Ned Parker, The Rock Hole
The small, rural Northeast Texas community of Center Springs has seen its share of troubles during the 1960s, everything from kidnapping, murder, and bank robbery. By 1968, the residents think life has finally quieted down, but they find their peaceful way of life is quickly spinning out of control as a decades-long family feud between the Clays and Mayfields once again flares to life.
Fourteen-year-old Top Parker, who lives with his grandparents Constable Ned Parker and Miss Becky in a little farmhouse near the Red River, finds himself caught up in another adult situation sparked by a mysterious fatal single car accident involving the white mayor of Chisum and his black female assistant. Questions and accusations arise about their relationship as the families wreak vengeance on each other.
But what is the significance of a man calling himself the Wraith, who moves through region at will, invading homes and watching the Parkers? What is Maggie Clay’s secret? That she’s half white and married to a black man with a long criminal past? And was Mayor Frank Clay, the only bright spot in a dark and cruel family, really what everything thinks he is?
It’s a busy time for Sheriff Cody Parker, who finds himself a possible suspect in the murder of several residents. He takes the advice from his Deputy John Washington and removes himself from the investigation, giving free reign to both John and Deputy Anna Sloan as they try and unravel the answers by following different paths.
Reavis was listed by MysteryPeople as one of the Top 5 Texas Authors for 2015
Dark Places was named one of the 12 Top Books for 2015 by Strand Magazine and one of the Best Small Fictions of 2015 by the Dallas Morning News
"A well-written, multifaceted tale of murder and cultural discontent in a small, northeast Texas town near the Oklahoma border in 1967."
—Dallas Morning News
"Wortham nails the time period, the hardscrabble town, and the people, for whom family loyalties are paramount."
"Wortham is a masterful and entertaining storyteller... equal parts Joe R. Lansdale and Harper Lee, with a touch of Elmore Leonard."
—Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
"Authentic... the novel’s short chapters fit both the fast pace and the deftly spare actions and details."
—Historical Novel Society
"Reavis Z. Wortham is the real thing: a literary voice that's gut-bucket Americana delivered with a warm and knowing Texas twang."
—C.J. Box, New York Times bestselling author of Endangered
"With each new book, Reavis Wortham again proves that his is one of the most engaging voices to hit the bookshelves in years. Dark Places takes us exactly there: the darkest corners of society and of the soul; but Wortham shows so much heart and delivers so much suspense that readers will happily accompany him every step of the way. A top-notch read!"
—John Gilstrap, author of the Jonathan Grave thriller series
"This’s one helluva book! The story lines in Dark Places grab you from the git-go and simply don't let go. Populated with richly drawn characters, good and (deliciously) evil, and propelled by some of the best dialogue you’ll find in thriller writing today, the novel delivers on all levels. Think: Elmore Leonard meets James Lee Burke. A true winner!"
—Jeffery Deaver, International Bestselling Author
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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