Thursday, March 25, 2021

Burrows - Reavis Wortham


Burrows
(2012) is the second book in Reavis Wortham’s Red River Mystery series. That series grew to eight books earlier this year with the addition of Laying Bones, ending a more-than-two-year wait for fans eager to get back to Constable Ned Parker and the goings-on in little Center Springs, Texas. 


Fans of the books will recall that The Rock Hole, the first book in the series, ended with Ned’s retirement and the election of his nephew Cody to Ned’s old constable position. Try as he might to stay out of things, though, Ned’s neighbors and friends still find it impossible to break the habit of calling him with their concerns. And if he were to admit it to himself, Ned is kind of tickled by that despite all the grumbling he does out loud about it. Little does he know, however, that both he and Cody are about to be tested by one of the strangest cases and criminals imaginable - and that it will take both of them to get the job done if either is to survive the chase. 


Someone is killing people and collecting heads - and they’ve come back to Ned’s little north Texas border town to do it. That’s crazy enough, but after what they discover in the huge, abandoned Cotton Exchange warehouse in a nearby town, Ned and Cody are about to redefine the word “crazy.” The five-story warehouse is literally stuffed with every kind of garbage and castaway imaginable: old furniture, stacks of newspapers and magazines, bales of rotting cotton, books, tools, tires; you name it, it’s there in abundance. Unfortunately for Cody and John (the black deputy from the “wrong side of the tracks”) that includes thousands of rats, roaches, and bats that call the warehouse home. But that’s not even the crazy part.


Whoever is responsible for dragging everything inside the warehouse has packed it so tightly that there’s no way into around the interior of the building other than crawling through all the tunnels and mazes that run through the trash - mazes that are booby-trapped to the extent that they bring back the nightmares that haunt Cody from his recent experience as a Viet Nam War tunnel rat. But the killer is hiding in there somewhere, and somebody is going to have to flush him out. Guess who?


Bottom Line: Burrows is one heck of a thriller, definitely the most atmospheric one I’ve read in a few years. Just be prepared, because the bulk of the book takes place with Cody and Deputy John crawling through the kind of filth and danger that truly is a lawman’s worst nightmare. If you are a little claustrophobic already, this one will scare you to death; if you are not claustrophobic, you may be after reading Burrows. All the regulars, including Ned’s granddaughter Pepper (who still has a mouth on her), his grandson Top, his best friend Judge O.C, and his Choctaw wife Miss Becky, are back - and they are half the fun of any Red River Mystery. 


Reavis Z. Wortham

6 comments:

  1. This does sound like claustrophobia may be a problem for readers! Rats and roaches, too? I'm going to have to think about taking this one, Sam. I'm already feeling a bit creeped out. Still this author is on my list, and I have the first one in the series.

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    1. And it goes on for page, after page, after page, too. Oh, and don't forget the bats. I found myself feeling anxious for them to get me out there. Wortham is a great storyteller.

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  2. This sounds awesome! That crazy maze through all the trash in the warehouse...wow. Do you think I could start with this one? or would I be lost not having read the first book in this series?

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    1. You could jump in on this second book and enjoy it as a standalone, but without the complete backstory from the first book, you might not understand why Ned, Cody, and the two kids react the way they do to what happens to them in this one. Both books read pretty quickly, so I would suggest reading them in order if you can.

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  3. It sounds like I ought to give this author a try (but my TBR piles are really overcrowded right now). I don't think the claustrophobia would bother me but collecting heads might.

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    1. ...especially since he meant to mount them on his walls somehow, somewhere, someday, Tracy.

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