cover image This Side of Night

This Side of Night

J. Todd Scott. Putnam, $26 (464p) ISBN 978-0-7352-1291-6

The stellar third volume in Scott’s epic Texas border series (after 2018’s High White Sun) draws its inspiration from a real-life tragedy, the 2014 massacre of a busload of Mexican students, which the author attributes to the fictional Nemesio cartel. Things get complicated for Sheriff Chris Cherry of Big Bend County when five bodies are found in a remote West Texas stretch of the Rio Grande. The DEA suspects law enforcement complicity in a neighboring county, a lingering remnant of the corrupt reign of Cherry’s predecessor. There’s also the fact that America Reynosa, Cherry’s brilliant young deputy, is related to the notorious Nemesio cartel leader, Fox Uno, who has escaped from an attempted coup in Mexico and seeks temporary asylum with Reynosa. With Mexican sicarios and rogue American cops seemingly working together to bring down the fugitive cartel boss, it’s up to Cherry, Reynosa, and Deputy Danny Ford, an Iraq War combat vet with demons of his own, to preserve some semblance of law and order in the Big Bend. Scott, a veteran federal agent, writes with authority and gravitas about complex border issues. Fans of Don Winslow and Cormac McCarthy won’t want to miss this one. [em]Agent: Carlie Webber, CK Webber Associates. (July) [/em]