Books

High White Sun

“This hot blast of desert wind is by turns ruthless and heartfelt, lyrical and violent, and, like all great stories, feels utterly true. J. Todd Scott knows borderland Texas like nobody else, and it shows.”

—Nick Petrie, author of Light It Up

In this fiery and violent new sequel to The Far Empty, even though Sheriff Ross is dead and gone, outlaws still walk free, peace comes at a price, and redemption remains hard to find. Some things in the Big Bend never change.

Sometimes we have to be wolves . . .

In the wake of Sheriff Stanford Ross’s death, former deputy Chris Cherry—now Sheriff Cherry—is the new “law” in Big Bend County, yet he still struggles to escape the long, dark shadow of that infamous lawman. As Chris tries to remake and modernize his corrupt department, bringing in new deputies, including young America Reynosa and Ben Harper—a hard-edged veteran homicide detective now lured out of retirement—he finds himself constantly staring down a town unwilling to change, friends and enemies unable to let go of the past, and the harsh limits of his badge.

But it’s only when a local Rio Grande guide is brutally and inexplicably murdered, and America and Ben’s ongoing investigation is swept aside by a secretive federal agent, that the novice sheriff truly understands just how tenuous his hold on that badge really is. And as other new threats rise right along with the unforgiving West Texas sun, nothing can prepare Chris for the high cost of crossing dangerous men such as John Wesley Earl, a high-ranking member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas and the patriarch of a murderous clan that’s descended on Chris’s hometown of Murfee; or Thurman Flowers, a part-time pastor and full-time white supremacist hell-bent on founding his violent Church of Purity in the very heart of the Big Bend.

Before long, Chris, America, and Ben are outmaneuvered, outnumbered, and outgunned—inexorably drawn into a nearly twenty-year vendetta that began with a murdered Texas Ranger on a dusty highway outside of Sweetwater, and that can only end with fire, blood, and bullets in Murfee’s own sun-scorched streets . . .

Welcome back to the Big Bend . . .

 

Praise for High White Sun

“The best cop novel I’ve read in years.”

— John Sandford

 
“High White Sun is a striking novel from one of the most formidable crime writers working today. J. Todd Scott captures the rough beauty of Big Bend, Texas, and the even rougher men and women living on both sides of the law. Whispers of Winslow and McCarthy sound across these pages, but the determining voice is all Scott’s – specific, lyrical and keen to time and place. This is an authentic contemporary Western in the best sense of the words.”

—T. Jefferson Parker, author of The Room of White Fire


The Far Empty

“J. Todd Scott’s The Far Empty is so good I wish I’d written it. The poetic and bloody ground of west Texas has given birth to a powerful new voice in contemporary western crime fiction.”

—Craig Johnson, NYT bestselling author of the Walt Longmire series

 

In this gritty crime debut set in the stark Texas borderlands, an unearthed skeleton will throw a small town into violent turmoil.

Seventeen-year-old Caleb Ross is adrift in the wake of the sudden disappearance of his mother more than a year ago, and is struggling to find his way out of the small Texas border town of Murfee. Chris Cherry is a newly minted sheriff’s deputy, a high school football hero who has reluctantly returned to his hometown. When skeletal remains are discovered in the surrounding badlands, the two are inexorably drawn together as their efforts to uncover Murfee’s darkest secrets lead them to the same terrifying suspect: Caleb’s father and Chris’s boss, the charismatic and feared Sheriff Standford “Judge” Ross. Dark, elegiac, and violent, The Far Empty is a modern Western, a story of loss and escape set along the sharp edge of the Texas border. Told by a longtime federal agent who knows the region, it’s a debut novel you won’t soon forget.

 

Praise for The Far Empty

“J. Todd Scott’s The Far Empty is so good I wish I’d written it. The poetic and bloody ground of west Texas has given birth to a powerful new voice in contemporary western crime fiction.”

—Craig Johnson, NYT bestselling author of the Walt Longmire series

 
“Federal agent Scott’s knowledge of the border country of West Texas is on fine display in his outstanding debut… Scott’s skills as a storyteller are impressive, and his tale of an ambitious young lawman has echoes of the movie Shane and the books of Cormac McCarthy.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 
“This thriller sprawls like the West Texas land of its setting, and, like all those arid miles, it’s fraught with mystery and echoes of a violent past. . . . Scott tells his story in a style placid on the surface and churning underneath, like water about to boil, and, when it does so, it erupts into a series of fine, violent action scenes. Does the finale really clear up all the mysteries?  Not all of them, but some should stay mysterious. That’s their power—and part of this edgy novel’s appeal.”

Booklist