The stakes don't get much higher than murder…
It's January 1969 in the small rural community of Center Springs, Texas. Constable Ned Parker suspects a larger mystery behind the seemingly accidental death of his nephew, R .B., who was found in his overturned pickup near Sanders Creek bridge. It appears that R. B. drowned in the shallow water, but something doesn't add up for Ned, who begins turning over stones in search of what really happened the night R. B. died.
The mystery leads Ned to the Starlite Club, a dangerous honky-tonk recently constructed in a no-man's land on the Lone Star side of the Red River. His investigations there uncover suspicious characters, drugs, and gambling, but even more troubling are a series of murders that seem designed to eliminate anyone who might know what really happened to R. B. on that cold January night.
As he works his way through the cover-up, Ned lands himself in a high-stakes game of consequences with no good end in sight. Are the good citizens of Center Springs conspiring against Constable Parker in his search for the truth?
In this thrilling addition to the historical Texas Red River Mystery Series, Constable Ned Parker bets big, but only time will tell if he'll win justice or a grave of his own.
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.