cover image Gold Dust: A Red River Mystery

Gold Dust: A Red River Mystery

Reavis Z. Wortham. Poisoned Pen, $26.95 (364p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0963-5

In Wortham’s entertaining, well-crafted seventh Red River mystery set in late 1960s Center Springs, Tex. (after 2016’s Unravelled), two CIA agents persuade a local crop duster to spray an unknown substance that they call Gold Dust. They claim it’s to test weather patterns, but Constable Ned Parker and his old friend Tom Bell, a retired Texas Ranger, believe the spray may be spreading illness. Meanwhile, Sheriff Cody Parker and his deputies investigate a rancher’s murder that could be related. And Ned’s 14-year-old granddaughter, Pepper Parker, starts a rumor about buried treasure that sparks a gold rush in the area. Ned and Tom pursue the CIA operatives to Washington, D.C., in their quest for justice. Their triumph may be farfetched, but it’s a pleasure to watch them deal with orneriness as well as just plain evil. Readers nostalgic for this period—songs by the Monkees and Tommy James and the Shondells blast from transistor radios—will find plenty to like. Agent: Anne Hawkins, John Hawkins & Assoc. (Sept.)