In 1965 Constable Cody Parker’s frightening dreams of gathering storm clouds for the tight-knit Parker family from Center Springs, Texas, proved accurate. Cody is ambushed and nearly killed on a lonely country road during an unusually heavy snowfall. With that attack, the locals fear that a disturbed murderer “the Skinner” has returned to their community.
While his nephew recovers, Constable Ned Parker struggles to connect a seemingly unrelated series of murders. As the summer of 1966 approaches, rock and roll evolves to reflect the increasing unrest in the country, and the people of northeast Texas wonder why their once-peaceful community has suddenly become a dangerous place to live. Ned’s preteen grandchildren, Top and Pepper, are underfoot at every turn. The two lawmen, along with the Deputy John Washington, cross paths with many colorful citizens, including cranky old Judge O. C. Rains; the jittery farmer Isaac Reader; and the Wilson boys, Ty Cobb and Jimmy Foxx. And then there’s the arrival in their small community of a mysterious old man named Tom Bell.
Now recovered, Cody decides to follow his main suspect across the Rio Grande and into Mexico. Ned understands that to save his nephew, he will have to cross more than a river - he will have to cross over to the right side of wrong.
Humor, suspense, horror, precognition, and life in the tumultuous 1960s all play a part in the solving of this mystery….
This third installment of the Red River mysteries is once again a good old fashioned, rip roaring, 1960's, Texas, western. The story combines more modern day western thrills with lawmakers and desperadoes, and great yarns narrated by a couple of pre-teen scalawags. You'll pardon my language, considering I just finished this thoroughly entertaining book!
Constable Cody Parker was shot at while driving down a backroad during an unusual Texas snow storm. Badly smashed within his car and a tree, Cody is rescued by a new elderly man in town, Tom Bell, just in time to save Cody's body from becoming food for a hungry pack of wild dogs. Constable Ned Parker begins the search for the shooter and finds himself caught in a new evil coming to his town. Tearing down illegal whiskey stills was easy work compared to the trouble caused by these new drug traders. Meanwhile, the kids, Top and Pepper, are satisfying their curiosity about, Ted Bell. Thus the adventures and goosebumps begin!!
Once again, Wortham combines, mystery, thrills, humor, and good old fashioned story telling as his characters get into, and barley out of, trouble. Red River is still a distinctly segregated place, but the main characters are a mix of whites, blacks, American Indians, and Mexicans who defy these boundaries within their communities to work and love together, as God intended. The misadventures of Top and Pepper add a rich element to the story as well. This book is not quit like any other book out there today, and is a greatly appreciated change. I thoroughly enjoyed this third installment, and am looking forward to many more books from Reavis Z Wortham.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Why, Mr. Wortham, I do believe you have hit your stride. I really believed in Book 1. I struggled with Book 2, for multiple reasons. But I was told to keep going,and I finally have. This one is a solid hit, the place and characters are coming alive!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Taking place in 1966, this is a good police procedural centered on suspicious murders and the introduction of marijuana into the North Texas area around Center Springs. In addition, the civil rights movement is finally coming to rural North Texas, which leads to some difficulties for the folks trying to adjust. With Constable Cody Parker laid up, first in the hospital, then undergoing physical therapy, his uncle Ned, former Constable, is brought out of retirement and deputized to help investigage the case. In the aftermath of being ambushed for no apparent reason, Cody was saved by a mysterious new neighbor, Tom Bell, who becomes a major figure in the unfolding story.
The omniscient narration changes abruptly at certain points to a first person point of view by Ned's grandson, Top, now age 10 or so. It doesn't always work so seamlessly, at least not for me. I also found the final chapter stretched the limit of my suspension of disbelief, but other than that, it was a exciting adventure and a glimpse into the degree of corruption among police south of the Rio Grande.
Traber Burns once again does a great job as reader/narrator, adding significantly to my enjoyment.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Thanks to Ronna for reviewing this book/series. This book starts with suspense from the first page with one of the main characters, "Cody" getting into a car accident after being shot at. He is very lucky that the new stranger in town happens along to save him from freezing to death and/or being eaten by wolves.
Cody is the constable and during his recuperation the Judge in town reappoints the former constable, his Uncle, " Ned Parker". Ned is grandfather to two young hooligans, "Top and Pepper", who are constantly trying to entertain themselves without getting into some kind of trouble. Top has a special gift and his fearless girl cousin Pepper is cantankerous and swears like a sailer.
Ned sets out to solve the mystery of who tried to kill Cody when he comes across some no good trouble makers who are suspected in a double murder and drug running. Between the unknown, curious new stranger in town who definitely has some secrets and more perplexing murders, Ned and Cody have their hands full.
The close knit Parker family lawmen make for a fantastic story. The characters are so matter of fact and real that I could not pull myself away from this great listen. The narrator does an excellent job of grasping each individuals personality and perfectly paces the rise and falls in the story. Very good combination, I would rank Wortham and Burns right up there with Johnson and Guidall in the Longmire series. I did not want it to end and will definitely be listening the the two books proceeding this one. I did not use a credit because of the price but I would if they were more. Two thumbs up.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Constable Cody Parker nearly dies after an early morning ambush. While he recovers, two bodies are found and a drug ring stakes a foothold in nearby Chisolm, Texas. Ned and Miss Becky get a new neighbor. There's something about him that peaks Ned's curiosity, but he can't put his finger on what. He likes the man, but there's no such thing as coincidence in a constable's mind.
The Red River mystery series continues with book three. I struggle for a way to express the shortcomings. This series focuses on the Parker family. There is a lot of day to day life in the sixties, which I like, that revolves around solving murders. This book lacked a cohesion between the clues coming to light that is hard describe.
It would have been satisfying to see the dirty cop get taken in and instead we have several chapters of a jail break in Mexico. That entire sequence didn't serve any purpose that I can see other than giving me chapters to read through. So the drugs were coming up from Mexico. Really, who cares? Tom Bell turns out to be someone far more than you were thinking. That's nothing but a couple lines at the end of the book. Seriously, that's all we get? The dirty cop we suspected, wasn't dirty alone. Again, a couple lines at the end of the book. They tell us the case gets solved.
This story revolved around a drug transport line being formed and the Parkers stopping it, and we really don't get to see that. The dreams Cody has don't fit into the events as tightly as I would have liked. Top's dream doesn't figure in that I can see. The book starting with the ambush on Cody even seems off now as we have to work backwards to figure out why he was even targeted, and the reason is pretty flimsy. I was disappointed in this installment compared to the other two books.
This author has become one of my very favorites. He tells a tale that reminds you of old timers sitting on a porch telling the young folk his it was.
With a fast paced ending that has a surprising little twist at the very end, I guarantee you will be entertained throughout the entire story and wanting more when it ends.
What did you love best about The Right Side of Wrong?
I loved the time frame - the 1960's, the narrator - often a 9-10 year old boy, the setting - Texas on the Oklahoma border and the author's skill as a story teller.
Any additional comments?
I really liked the people and how very real they all feel. I enjoyed discovering more about the characters as the story progressed. Way more depth and character than your average mystery.
this series is excellent, there is always an unexpected twist or two with in the stories.
I love this series! set in the 60's in Texas.
TOP is typical kid and pretty well rounded.
If you could sum up The Right Side of Wrong in three words, what would they be?
I loved The Rock Hole but not The Burrows. This book was a worthy follow-up to The Rock Hole. As a Texan, I can really appreciate the humor, the 'Texas speak' and the culture.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Nothing. A great performance! Only a true Texan can tell for sure.