Vengeance Is Mine

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Product Details
$24.95  $23.20
Poisoned Pen Press
Publish Date
5.73 X 8.71 X 1.01 inches | 1.02 pounds

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About the Author
Reavis Z. Wortham is the critically acclaimed author of the Red River Mysteries set in rural Northeast Texas in the 1960s. As a boy, he hunted and fished the river bottoms near Chicota, the inspiration for the fictional location. He is also the author of a thriller series featuring Texas Ranger Sonny Hawke. He teaches writing at a wide variety of venues including local libraries and writers' conferences. Wortham has been a newspaper columnist and magazine writer since 1988, and has been the Humor Editor for Texas Fish and Game Magazine for the past twenty-two years. He and his wife, Shana, live in Northeast Texas. Check out his website at
"Reavis Wortham is the new voice to be reckoned with in suspense fiction. His sense of place and character is second to none. Clear the calendar after you open the cover of Vengeance is Mine, because ain't nothin' else gonna get done once you start reading."--John Gilstrap, author of End Game and the Jonathan Grave series
"...a winning and unusual book. Equal parts small-town tale and thriller, the combination is both entertaining and emotionally engaging. The small-town characters carry the day but Wortham hits his thriller marks too, and the result is a solid and humane story."--T. Jefferson Parker, New York Times bestselling author of The Famous and the Dead
1967. Thimble-sized Center Springs, Texas, misses out on the Summer of Love but not, evidently, on one single other incident in this overstuffed shoot'em-up. Top Parker and his cousin Pepper, both 13, sense that life is passing them by. Pepper especially would love to get out of Center Springs for someplace more exciting. Little does she know that excitement is headed her way. Tony Agrioli, an enforcer for Vegas mobster Malachi Best, abruptly decides to retire to the country when Best orders him to execute not only a rival casino owner, but his whole family. Along with his brand-new pickup, Samantha Chesterfield and a safe they've liberated from Best's home, he makes a beeline for Center Springs because his pal Cody Parker always spoke so highly of it. Tony's arrival comes as quite a surprise to Cody, now the town's top lawman (Burrows, 2012, etc.), and an even bigger surprise to Lamar County Sheriff Donald Griffin. The sheriff, who'd double-crossed Best himself in a deal to launder drug money by slipping into the mix some counterfeit currency he'd promised to pass for Best, naturally assumes that Tony has come looking for him, just as Tony assumes that Griffin in turn is gunning for him. In other hands, this mutual misunderstanding might serve as the engine for an extended comedy of crime. But Wortham is so busy investigating the murder of Tommy Lee Stark, keeping tabs on the many lovers of Karen Ann Reidel, and touching base, it seems, with every citizen of Center Springs that the only plot strand that holds his attention is the one that drives every able-bodied cast member with a firearm, including some imports from Kansas City and Dallas, to unload on everyone else. More wacky characters, complications, scandals and fatalities than a year's run of your favorite tabloid.--Kirkus Reviews
"One part suspense story and one part coming-of-age novel, Vengeance Is Mine is all parts entertaining. With crackling dialogue and colorful descriptions, Reavis Wortham makes rural Texas of the 1960s roar to life. Vengeance Is Mine is a page-turning novel with multi-layered characters and plot twists that will leave the reader guessing until the very end. It is not to be missed."--Michael Morris, author of Man in the Blue Moon
"Loaded with healthy doses of humor, adventure and intrigue, populated by a remarkable cast of characters both good and bad, and featuring one heck of an electrifying climax, Vengeance is Mine is a throwback to the pulp era in the best possible sense. A fantastic read!"--Owen Laukkanen, bestselling author of The Professionals and Kill Fee
"Reavis Wortham doubles down in Vengeance is Mine, the fourth in his Red River Series, and for mystery readers it's a Full House when Las Vegas intrigue invades Center Springs, Texas. Aces High, Constables Ned, Cody Parker and company are terrific riding and reading partners."--Craig Johnson, the Walt Longmire Mysteries, the basis for A&E's hit series Longmire
Mob enforcer Anthony Agrioli's latest assignment is to rub out some Cuban casino owners in Las Vegas--and their young children. He takes care of the adults without trouble but has some problems killing the kids. He takes it on the lam, beating it out of Vegas before his boss can track him down, but not before hooking up with a beautiful blonde (who will turn out to be a handful of a different sort than he had hoped). Hiding out in Center Springs, Texas, Anthony soon finds out this seemingly peaceful town is like a beacon for violence and corruption, most of which has nothing directly to do with him, but all of which soon ensnares him. This very entertaining novel, set in 1967, is reminiscent of Donald E. Westlake's Mob comedies The Fugitive Pigeon (1965) and The Busy Body (1966), which, like this book, feature offbeat characters getting themselves into offbeat situations--although this book also has a more serious side, too. Those who have read the author's earlier books, including The Right Side of Wrong (2013), will be familiar with Center Springs and its rather unusual denizens, but knowledge of those earlier volumes is not required. This is a fully self-contained story, and it's real corker. (starred review)--David Pitt "Booklist "
Big city excitement and violence come to quiet Center Springs, Tex., in Wortham's homespun fourth Red River mystery (after 2013's The Right Side of Wrong). In the fall of 1967, Las Vegas hit man Tony Agrioli and his new girlfriend, Samantha Chesterfield, decide Center Springs is "the perfect place to settle down and start a family." Two years earlier in Vegas, Tony met honeymooners Cody Parker, a Center Springs constable, and his bride, Norma Faye Parker, who spoke highly of their hometown. Unfortunately for almost everyone, one of Center Spring's leading citizens also has ties to Las Vegas, and Constable Ned Parker, Cody's uncle, is soon dealing with an unsolved murder, counterfeit money, and a bank robbery. The appealing cast includes 13-year-old Top, Ned's grandson, and Top's cousin, Pepper (also 13), who chafes at life in the country. Wortham pays homage to a disappearing way of life in this thoughtful series.--Publishers Weekly