cover image The Far Empty

The Far Empty

J. Todd Scott. Putnam, $27 (448p) ISBN 978-0-399-17634-0

Federal agent Scott’s knowledge of the border country of West Texas is on fine display in his outstanding debut. Deputy Sheriff Chris Cherry, a former high school football hero who’s recently returned to his hometown of Murfee, Tex., is sure that the skeletal remains found in the desert are the result of murder, and that the victim isn’t just another anonymous illegal immigrant. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Caleb Ross struggles to make sense of his mother’s disappearance a year earlier. His only friend at school is America Reynosa, whose older brother, Rodolfo, has also recently vanished. Caleb is convinced that his father, Sheriff Stanford “Judge” Ross, whose reputation for brutality and ruthlessness are legendary, is behind it all. Judge has run the town of Murfee for years, but his new deputy’s discovery opens the lid on a whole mess of trouble that, for the first time, he might not be able to contain. Scott’s skills as a storyteller are impressive, and his tale of an ambitious young lawman has echoes of the movie Shane and the books of Cormac McCarthy. [em]Agent: Carlie Webber, CK Webber Associates. (June) [/em]