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Tonight MysteryPeople is pleased to present three of the Lone Star state’s finest crime writers: Reavis Wortham, Ben Rehder, and Bill Crider. Whether dealing with the changes of the 1960s; ghosts that may be more than figurative; or the eccentric denizens of Blanco County, the small town lawmen in these stories always get the big job done. Join us for a discussion about their characters, mystery writing, and how Texas crime is like no other crime.
ABOUT DARK PLACES
At the tail end of 1967, the Parker family once again finds it impossible to hide from a world spinning out of control. Fourteen-year-old Top still can't fit in with their Center Springs, Texas, community or forget recent, vicious crimes. His near-twin cousin Pepper, desperate to escape her own demons, rashly joins the Flower Children flocking to California just as two businessmen are kidnapped and murdered in the Red River bottoms on the same night a deadly hit and run kills a farmer. Constable Ned Parker wonders if these crimes are connected, but he goes after Pepper, leaving the investigation in the hands of Sheriff Cody Parker. Parker hires Deputy Anna Sloan, an investigator with an eye toward detail as everyone is eyeing her. Yet it is instinct that propels her after killers through a world nearly forgotten, the hunt's backdrop one of continuous rain, gloomy skies, and floods. When she's ambushed, the investigation accelerates into gunfire, chases, and hair-raising suspense. What of Pepper? Out on Route 66, the Mother Road to California, a man named Crow isn't what he seems. Lies, deceptions, and a band of outlaw motorcyclists proves to the Parkers that no matter where you turn, no matter what you do, the world is full of such darkness that even grandmothers are capable of unspeakable deeds.
ABOUT REAVIS WORTHAM
As a boy, award-winning writer Reavis Z. Wortham hunted and fished the river bottoms near Chicota, Texas, the inspiration for his fictional Center Springs. The author of Doreen s 24 HR Eat Gas Now Cafe as well as the acclaimed Red River mysteries, Reavis is humor editor and frequent contributor for Texas Fish and Game Magazine, writing on everything from fishing to deer hunting. His work has also appeared in American Cowboy, Texas Sporting Journal, and several other magazines. A retired educator of 35 years, he and wife Shana live in Frisco, Texas. www.reaviszwortham.com
ABOUT BUM STEER
After a young woman and a bull are found dead in a dark pasture, Blanco County game warden John Marlin is asked to assist with the investigation. Was it a case of rustling gone wrong? Or maybe a prank turned deadly? Marlin hopes the woman’s boyfriend can shed some light on the situation, but he’s nowhere to be found. Is he on the run or did the woman’s violent brother take matters into his own hands? Marlin and a special investigator—an old flame from his college days—join forces to see past the bull and discover the truth.
ABOUT BEN REHDER
Ben Rehder is a freelance writer and novelist who lives with his wife near Austin, where he was born and raised. His Blanco County mysteries featuring a Texas game warden have made best-of-the-year lists in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Field & Stream. Buck Fever, the first in the series, was nominated for the Edgar Award. Ben’s nonfiction articles and essays have appeared in Newsweek, Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine, Texas Co-op Power, and the San Antonio Express-News.
ABOUT BETWEEN THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
Life is never easy for Texas Sheriff Dan Rhodes. When he is called in the middle of the night to investigate gunshots at a haunted house, Rhodes finds the body of meth dealer Neil Foshee. Recently released from jail, Foshee has his fair share of potential murderers, including former girlfriend Vicki, her new boyfriend, the nephew of Clearview's mayor, and Foshee's criminal cousins Earl and Louie.
Complicating matters is Seepy Benton, the community college math professor who has a new summer job. He's founded Clearview Paranormal Investigations and wants to solve the murder by communing with Foshee's ghost. But when Benton connects with something else instead and a second body is found, Rhodes is left with more questions than ever. Who's the dead person? How long has the body been hidden? Is Benton really able to communicate with ghosts? And, most important, what, if anything, does the body have to do with Neil Foshee's death?
ABOUT BILL CRIDER
BILL CRIDER is the author of more than fifty published novels and numerous short stories. He won the Anthony Award for best first mystery novel in 1987 for Too Late to Die and was nominated for the Shamus Award for best first private eye novel for Dead on the Island. He won the Golden Duck award for “best juvenile science fiction novel” for Mike Gonzo and the UFO Terror. He and his wife, Judy, won the best short story Anthony in 2002 for their story “Chocolate Moose.” His story “Cranked” from Damn Near Dead (Busted Flush Press) was nominated for the Edgar award for best short story. His latest novel, Between the Living and the Dead (St. Martin’s Press), is the 22 homepage at www.billcrider.com, or take a look at his peculiar blog at http://billcrider.blogspot.com.