The Rock Hole
The Rock Hole
Red River Mystery
Poisoned Pen Press, Hardcover, 9781590588840, 250pp.
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
In 1964, farmer and part-time Constable Ned Parker combine forces with John Washington, the almost mythical black deputy sheriff from nearby Paris, to track down a disturbed individual who is rapidly becoming a threat to the entire small Texas community of Center Springs.When Ned is summoned to a hot cornfield one morning to examine the remains of a tortured bird dog, he finds a dark presence in their quiet community. A farmer by trade, Ned is usually confident when it comes to handling moonshiners, drunks and domestic disputes.But the animal atrocities turn to murder, and the investigation spins beyond his abilities.After a dizzying series of twists, eccentric characters and dead-ends, Ned's friend, cranky Judge O.C. Rains, is forced to contact the FBI.Worse, sinister warnings that his family has been targeted by the killer lead Ned to the startling discovery that he knows the murderer very well. After the failed abduction of his precocious grandchildren Top and Pepper, the old lawman becomes judge and jury to end the murder spree in the Red River bottomlands.With a heart-pounding pace, country humor and a stunning climax speaks to the darkness in us all.In bald-headed pot-bellied Ned Parker, Wortham has created an authentic American hero who will put you in mind of the best heroes and antiheroes you ve ever experienced.The year 1964 was the end of an era in Center Springs, and the climax may well shock your civilized sensibilities.
"Not just scary but funny too, as Wortham nails time and place in a sure-handed, captivating way. There’s a lot of good stuff in this unpretentious gem. Don’t miss it." —Kirkus Reviews
"Throughout, scenes of hunting, farming, and family life sizzle with detail and immediacy. The dialog is spicy with country humor and color, and Wortham knows how to keep his story moving. The Rock Hole is an unnerving but fascinating read." —Historical Novels Review
"Solid characters and a vivid depiction of a vanishing period make this a series to watch." —Publishers Weekly