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About J. Todd Scott
J. Todd Scott was born in rural Kentucky and attended college and law school in Virginia, where he set aside an early ambition to write to pursue a career as a federal agent. His assignments have taken him all over the U.S and the world, but a gun and a badge never replaced his passion for stories and writing.
His previous books include The Far Empty, High White Sun, and This Side of Night in the Chris Cherry/Big Bend Series, as well as the Appalachian crime novel, Lost River.
When he’s not hunting down very bad men, he’s hard at work on his next book. Find Todd at jtoddscott.com
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In this gritty crime debut set in the stark Texas borderlands, an unearthed skeleton will throw a small town into violent turmoil.
Seventeen-year-old Caleb Ross is adrift in the wake of the sudden disappearance of his mother more than a year ago, and is struggling to find his way out of the small Texas border town of Murfee. Chris Cherry is a newly minted sheriff’s deputy, a high school football hero who has reluctantly returned to his hometown. When skeletal remains are discovered in the surrounding badlands, the two are inexorably drawn together as their efforts to uncover Murfee’s darkest secrets lead them to the same terrifying suspect: Caleb’s father and Chris’s boss, the charismatic and feared Sheriff Standford “Judge” Ross.
Dark, elegiac, and violent, The Far Empty is a modern Western, a story of loss and escape set along the sharp edge of the Texas border. Told by a longtime federal agent who knows the region, it’s a debut novel you won’t soon forget.
Angel, Kentucky: Just another one of America's forgotten places, where opportunities vanished long ago, and the opioid crisis has reached a fever pitch. When this small town is rocked by the vicious killing of an entire infamous local crime family, the bloody aftermath brings together three people already struggling with Angel's drug epidemic: Trey, a young medic-in-training with secrets to hide; Special Agent Casey Alexander, a DEA agent who won't let the local law or small-town way of doing things stand in her way; and Paul Mayfield, a former police chief who's had to watch his own young wife succumb to addiction.
Over the course of twenty-four hours, loyalties are tested, the corrupt are exposed, and the horrible truth of the largest drug operation in the region is revealed. And though Angel will never be the same again, a lucky few may still find hope.
Sometimes we have to be wolves...
In the wake of Sheriff Stanford Ross's death, former deputy Chris Cherry--now Sheriff Cherry--is the new "law" in Big Bend County, yet he still struggles to escape the long, dark shadow of that infamous lawman. As Chris tries to remake and modernize his corrupt department, bringing in new deputies, including young America Reynosa and Ben Harper--a hard-edged veteran homicide detective now lured out of retirement--he finds himself constantly staring down a town unwilling to change, friends and enemies unable to let go of the past, and the harsh limits of his badge.
But it's only when a local Rio Grande guide is brutally and inexplicably murdered, and America and Ben's ongoing investigation is swept aside by a secretive federal agent, that the novice sheriff truly understands just how tenuous his hold on that badge really is. And as other new threats rise right along with the unforgiving West Texas sun, nothing can prepare Chris for the high cost of crossing dangerous men such as John Wesley Earl, a high-ranking member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas and the patriarch of a murderous clan that's descended on Chris's hometown of Murfee; or Thurman Flowers, a part-time pastor and full-time white supremacist hell-bent on founding his violent Church of Purity in the very heart of the Big Bend.
Before long, Chris, America, and Ben are outmaneuvered, outnumbered, and outgunned--inexorably drawn into a nearly twenty-year vendetta that began with a murdered Texas Ranger on a dusty highway outside of Sweetwater, and that can only end with fire, blood, and bullets in Murfee's own sun-scorched streets...
Welcome back to the Big Bend...
In the Mexican borderlands, a busload of student protesters is gunned down in broad daylight, a violent act blamed on the Nemesio cartel. But its aging leader, Fox Uno, sees the attack for what it is: another salvo in the long-running battle for control of Nemesio itself; perhaps by a rival cartel, or maybe someone closer to home...
Across the Rio Grande, Sheriff Chris Cherry and his deputies America Reynosa and Danny Ford find themselves caught in Fox Uno's escalating war with the recent discovery of five dead men at the river's edge. But when El Paso DEA agent Joe Garrison's own Nemesio investigation leads him into the heart of the Big Bend, he's not ready to accept the cartel leader's retreat or defeat. Not only does he suspect a high-profile drug task force in a neighboring county is corrupt, he can't shake lingering doubts about the loyalty and motives of the young deputy, Ame Reynosa. And he won't let Sheriff Cherry ignore them either.
In this pitiless land it's kill or be killed, where everyone will make one final bloody stand to decide the fate of Nemesio, the law in the Big Bend, and most of all, the future of America Reynosa.