In This Side of Night (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), J. Todd Scott wraps a Drug Enforcement Agency procedural around a modernized Western, then rolls it in a batter of action-thriller and twenty-first century shootouts.

Scott uses the extensive knowledge gained from his twenty-year position as a DEA agent in the Southwest to construct a realistic tableau of life in a small West Texas town living in the backdrop of the Mexican drug cartel wars. He based a fictionalized ambush of Mexican teachers-in-training on a real 2014 attack near Iguala, Mexico, which left three students dead and 43 others abducted who were never found alive.

This is a crime novel about West Texas—The Big Bend country nestled against the Mexican border. The story begins in Mexico when a bus full of students is ambushed, some shot to death and others taken hostage.

Although no one takes responsibility for the heinous act, it appears the Nemesio drug cartel might be to blame. As the war with the Mexican cartels heats up, the mysterious leader of Nemesio, nicknamed Fox Uno, feels the grip on his organization slipping and knows he must make a move.

Across the border in the small West Texas town of Murfee, Sheriff Chris Cherry is distracted by his reelection campaign and questions whether he is cut out to be sheriff of Big Bend County. Meanwhile, damaged Deputy Danny Ford investigates local, small-time drug dealer Eddy Rabbit, who might be deeply involved in a Mexican cartel, while Deputy America Reynosa’s cartel-infested past—unknown to all but Cherry—resurfaces, and she must make the hardest choice of her life.

El Paso DEA Assistant Special-Agent-in-Charge Joe Garrison is fighting his own demons. After losing agents in a bust gone wrong, he was “promoted” to a desk job and has lingered on the fringe of field work the last few years.

But as his career winds down, the Nemesio cartel wields its power again, and Garrison knows he must investigate. He expects that Americans—maybe corrupt law enforcement—are aiding the cartels on this side of the border, but his superiors aren’t interested in listening to the paranoia of a washed-up agent.

As the Mexican cartels and American law enforcement collide, who will play by the rules and who will enact their own brand of justice? The answer might surprise you.

Scott’s backdrop of West Texas is almost a character unto itself, from the “dark striations of sandstone, quartz, and gypsum that changed color with the season and the sun,” to the blood-red ocotillo, white and purple Texas sage, yucca, and the sunset fruit of the prickly pear. We can almost feel ourselves standing in the middle of the West Texas desert, surrounded by the scarlet sunset or under a million stars lighting up the darkest of nights.

“That diffuse, improbable glow that heralded the day’s rising and setting sun. That only existed on the other side of night.”

If you’d love to immerse yourself in a modern-day Lonesome Dove that takes place in the iconic West Texas desert, you will be awake all night swiftly turning the pages of This Side of Night, now available for purchase.

Learn more about J. Todd Scott on his Author Profile page.

About J. Todd Scott:

J. Todd Scott was born in rural Kentucky and attended college and law school in Virginia, where he set aside an early ambition to write to pursue a career as a federal agent. His assignments have taken him all over the U.S and the world, but a badge and gun never replaced his passion for books and writing. He now resides in the American Southwest, and when he’s not hunting down very bad men, he’s hard at work on his next book. Find out more at his website.