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by Lincoln Crisler
Description: When Colonel Albert Waters, a controversial Civil War veteran, and his thirteen-year-old son Henry disappear from their El Paso, Texas home, Deputy Sheriff Kurt Kearney calls upon Matthias Jacoby, a strange newcomer, to help with his investigation. Word is, Jacoby's handled a few cases like this before. Kearney and Jacoby form an uneasy alliance with Black Tom Catch, an infamous New Mexico rancher, cattle rustler and outlaw, and take off after the bandits they suspect kidnapped Waters. Could the gunfighters have bitten off more than they can chew, however, when their search for the colonel reveals strong ties to black magic and blood sacrifice? Excerpt: We smelled our attackers before we saw them. "What's that--" Matt whirled about, and then they were on us. Ten men shambled out of the hills, dressed more in dirt than in actual clothing; what little they wore was tattered and stained. Some were even barefoot. They howled when they saw us. "Sheriff's deputy! Stop where you are," Kurt cried, pointing his gleaming badge at the men. They were unarmed, but I could sense the threat rolling off them like fog in the breeze. Matt drew his guns and yelled at them once more to halt. They kept coming, as slowly as before, howling softly and reaching for us. "Screw this," Black Tom said, and pulled out his guns. He fired two shots as soon as he cleared leather, catching two of the ragged men in the chest. Clouds of flesh burst free of each, but little blood. They didn't stop coming. They didn't even slow down.
eBook Publisher: Eternal Press/Damnation Books LLC/Damnation Books, 2011 2011
eBookwise Release Date: May 2011
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [117 KB]
Reading time: 55-78 min.
1886, El Paso, Texas
The knocking woke Matthias up; loud and impatient-sounding, it was. He kicked back his rough linen sheet and rolled over and out. Boy must have been standing out there for a minute, he thought as he reached for the door handle. Good to see he's worked a bit of the shyness out after a week of running my wash water and coffee in the mornings.
"Sorry about the wait," Matthias muttered as he opened the door. He squinted against the harsh El Paso sunrise. Instead of the baker's boy, he lit upon a brightly-polished brass star, which bounced the light right into his eyes. It was pinned to the shirt of a tall and lanky man with freshly shaven cheeks and chin and a fierce, bristling mustache. Sheriff's deputy, according to the engraving. Matthias took a step back into the healing dim of his small room.
"I really need to negotiate a discount on this place," he said, motioning the deputy to join him. "Damned inhospitable of the man, keeping the western-facing rooms to himself. You're not here with my hot water and coffee, are you?"
"No, can't say that I am," the deputy said, holding out his empty hands and sitting down in the rough-hewn chair beside Matthias' bed. "Sorry about that, too. This would go over easier after a cup or two."
"We'll just have to go with the next best thing, then." Matthias reached under a pile of clothes on the floor and dug up a half-full glass bottle. He tipped back a gulp of amber-colored liquid, coughed, and held the bottle out. The deputy waved it off.
"Too early, Mister Jacoby. I'm Deputy Kearney, by the way. Call me Kurt." The deputy held out his hand.
"Seems like you already know me," Matthias said, shaking Kearney's hand. "Call me Matt."
"Your reputation precedes you, Matt. It's why I'm here, actually."
Matt reached for his shirt and pulled two thick cigarettes and matches from the breast pocket. "Smoke?"
"Now that I will accept," Kearney said, taking one of the cigarettes. Matt struck a match against his thumbnail, lit the deputy's cigarette and then his own.
"So what do you think you know about me?"
"I know you solved the Holcomb train robbery after the local law gave the whole thing up," Kearney said, "and you caught the fellas that robbed that bank in Chicago. No one really seems to know much else."