Laying Bones: A Texas Red River Mystery

Reavis Z. Wortham. Poisoned Pen, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1436-3
When the lifeless body of Constable Ned Parker’s Vietnam vet nephew, R.B., is discovered in his pickup one snowy day in 1969, the death is deemed an accident, but Ned suspects murder, in Wortham’s captivating eighth mystery set in Center Springs, Tex. (after 2018’s Gold Dust). Ned follows clues to the Starlight Club, a honky-tonk on the border of Texas and Oklahoma, and his suspicions are reinforced when other local men turn up dead. Meanwhile, Top, Ned’s 14-year-old grandson, the wise child observer in previous books, has to deal with the newfangled drug culture that’s seeping into small-town Texas life, as well as becoming aware of the complications of love and sex. Sharply defined characters include cocaine smugglers, gangsters at the Starlight, and the new preacher’s nasty children and alcoholic wife. Wortham adroitly balances richly nuanced human drama with two-fisted action, and displays a knack for the striking phrase (“R.B. was the best drunk driver in the county, and I don’t believe he run off in here on his own”). This entry is sure to win the author new fans. Agent: Anne Hawkins, John Hawkins & Assoc. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/02/2020
Release date: 01/01/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-4642-1437-0
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