Sunday, July 6, 2014

"Vengeance is Mine"

Reavis Z. Wortham is the author of The Rock Hole, hailed by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Top 12 Mystery Novels of 2011. A finalist for the Benjamin Franklin Award, the second novel in this Red River Series, Burrows, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

The New York Times called The Right Side of Wrong, the third novel in the series, a "sleeper that deserves wider attention."

Wortham applied the Page 69 Test to Vengeance is Mine, the newly released fourth novel in the Red River Series, and reported the following:
The Page 69 test is always interesting, because for some reason, this brief glimpse gives a clear insight into this novel and its characters, even though only two players are engaged at this point in time.

In Vengeance is Mine, this time period (1967) was full of change as the country evolved from a primarily rural society to an urban environment. Though the U.S. race to the moon was well underway, a large part of the population still scratched a hard living from the ground. In the small northeast community of Center Springs simply want to live their lives and as quietly as possible.

In October of 1967, The Summer of Love is history, rock and roll is dark and revolutionary, and people in the small east Texas community of Center Springs simply want to live their lives as quietly as possible. But a handsome darkness in the form of Las Vegas gangster Anthony Agrioli has left the business to hide out in the tiny backwater settlement with his blond bombshell girlfriend.

Two years earlier, Agrioli met newlyweds Cody and Norma Faye Parker in a Vegas casino and heard their enthusiastic descriptions of the perfect place to settle down and raise a family. At least it was perfect, before their peaceful world found itself directly in the crosshairs of a coming confrontation.

Unfortunately, the local sheriff there is crooked as a dog’s hind leg and finds that he has connections to Agrioli, Vegas, counterfeit money, and the mob boss, Malachi Best. When Best sends a hit team to get Agrioli, the sheriff thinks they’re after him. It’s a Texas Shakespearean comedy with a bloody ending.

The following exchange between Isaac Reader and Constable Ned Parker comes at the end of a chapter, but the humor breaks up the horror experienced by Ike who has unfortunately found another dead body, which he seems to do in every Red River mystery. Ned feels his frustration, and wishes their little community could return to the nice, peaceful life they all worked for.
(Ike Reader) “Well, I mashed on his neck to see if I could feel his heart beating, but he was stone dead. Listen, I think I got a curse on me. I keep finding too many dead people. This here’s three times in the last three years.”



Ned sighed, removed his hat, and rubbed his bald head, a sure sign of exasperation. “One was Cody’s bird dog. That don’t count.”

“Well.” Isaac backed off. “It don’t make no difference now. I done found another one and Listen, I’m thinkin’ of moving to Chisum where things are a lot quieter. In fact, I believe I’m gonna move in my sister’s house on North Lamar.”

Ned stared off toward the river bottoms and thought about how peaceful it would be without Isaac always jabbering at him. “I wouldn’t blame you if you did.”
Learn more about the book and author at Reavis Z. Wortham's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Reavis Z. Wortham and Willie.

The Page 69 Test: The Rock Hole.

My Book, The Movie: The Rock Hole.

The Page 69 Test: Burrows.

The Page 69 Test: The Right Side of Wrong.

Writers Read: Reavis Z. Wortham.

--Marshal Zeringue