Cover image for
The far empty
Scott, J. Todd,

Personal Author:
Physical Description:
432 pages ; 24 cm
Chris Cherry, a newly minted sheriff's deputy in a small Texas border town, and seventeen-year-old Caleb Ross form an unlikely partnership as they investigate growing suspicions about the disappearance of Caleb's mother.
Geographic Term:
Pub Date:
G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2016]


Home Location
Material Type
Shelf Number
Central - Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book SCOTT
Central - Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book SCOTT
Heights - Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book SCOTT
Meyer - Houston Public Library (Closed for Repair) Adult Fiction Book SCOTT
Freed-Montrose -- Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book SCOTT
Looscan - Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book SCOTT
Carnegie - Houston Public Library Adult Fiction Book SCOTT

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17 year-old Caleb Ross is adrift in the wake of the sudden disappearance of his mother 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's 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 Ross.

Author Notes

J. Todd Scott has been a federal agent with the DEA for more than twenty years, working cases investigating international maritime smuggling, domestic meth labs, and Mexican cartels. He has a law degree from George Mason University and is a father of three. A Kentucky native, he now resides in the Southwest, which provided the backdrop for The Far Empty .

Reviews 3

Booklist 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. Strange lights appear, and a distant roaring is heard. The characters have similar creepy edges. Sheriff Stanford Ross rules his tiny border town like a despot and suppresses hints that there's something odd about his wife's disappearance. Anne Hart, a young schoolteacher, flees a past darkened by stalking and murder. The language enhances the spookiness: Ross, under a bright sun, might cast two shadows instead of one. Suddenly, the present, in the form of a big SUV, rolls in bearing two people who do not share the locals' love of mythology. Hell, as they say, follows after. 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 the mysteries? Not all of them, but some should stay mysterious. That's their power and part of this edgy novel's appeal.--Crinklaw, Don Copyright 2016 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Federal agent Scott's knowledge of the border country of West Texas is on fine display in his outstanding debut. Deputy Sheriff Chris Cherry, a former high school football hero who's recently returned to his hometown of Murfee, Tex., is sure that the skeletal remains found in the desert are the result of murder, and that the victim isn't just another anonymous illegal immigrant. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Caleb Ross struggles to make sense of his mother's disappearance a year earlier. His only friend at school is America Reynosa, whose older brother, Rodolfo, has also recently vanished. Caleb is convinced that his father, Sheriff Stanford "Judge" Ross, whose reputation for brutality and ruthlessness are legendary, is behind it all. Judge has run the town of Murfee for years, but his new deputy's discovery opens the lid on a whole mess of trouble that, for the first time, he might not be able to contain. 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. Agent: Carlie Webber, CK Webber Associates. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

[DEBUT] Seventeen-year-old Caleb Ross seeks answers to his mother's disappearance more than a year ago. When Chris Cherry, an ex-football star from Baylor University, reluctantly returns home to Murfee, TX, Caleb's father, Sheriff Stanford "Judge" Ross, hires Chris as his deputy. During a routine investigation, Chris unearths skeletal remains in the surrounding badlands. Caleb and Chris are then inexorably drawn to the same conclusion: the charismatic Sheriff Ross is the prime suspect. Verdict Scott's masterly debut delivers a complex, suspenseful entry in the Western noir genre. Devotees of Tony Hillerman (Leaphorn/Chee series) and Craig Johnson (Longmire series) will enjoy the intricate plot. Fans of Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian; "Border" trilogy) will appreciate the evocative rural Texas setting and the gritty depiction of the characters. [See Prepub Alert, 12/21/15.]-Russell Michalak, Goldey-Beacom Coll. Lib., Wilmington, DE © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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