Silk and Steel
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by M. J. Sullivan
Description: In the depths of a Rocky Mountain winter, a lovely young actress is murdered in her father's home. Frank Cooper, a rancher who loved her, and Dimitri Kells, her former teacher, team up to find out who did it and why. Was it because of the theft of her father's Japanese swords, one of which is the notorious Fijiwara Tachi, an evil, "bloodthirsty" sword, or a question of who will inherit? Real estate money gone sour, or the sick sexual practices of a hypnotic psychologist? Kells goes to Japan to try to trace the swords, while Cooper stirs up the conflicted society of a small mountain community, where cowboys confront commuters, psychology vies with herbology, and real estate dominates the economy. To end a chilling game of cat and mouse, Cooper must kill for the first time, and none of the survivors' lives will ever be the same.
eBook Publisher: Zumaya Publications/Zumaya Publications, 2003 USA
eBookwise Release Date: October 2003
3 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [259 KB]
Reading time: 175-245 min.
It was almost two in the afternoon before I got to the Kells'. Their house is a mile from the highway farther up Willow Creek than my gate, then a bit more on Stone Creek. Close as it is, it's actually across the line into Park County, protecting them from some of the worst incursions of suburbanization.
Their driveway dips steeply from the road, curving nastily halfway down. As I was about to turn into it and lower the plow, I noticed a row of stakes set up along its edge. Then Kells appeared, running uphill along the row of stakes. He was dressed in his Japanese swordsman's rig--a black gi and sort of long culottes. As he ran he drew his sword without breaking step, neatly cut a stake and re-sheathed the thing so fast I could hardly see the movement. He did the same thing with the next stake, and the next, seven of them up the hill without a slip, wrapped in powdery silver kicked out of the knee-deep snow.
When he got to the top he stood by the truck, taking me in through an oddly veiled expression. He didn't say anything for a long time. His chest was heaving. There were tears in the outer corners of his eyes, starting to freeze. I saw that he was barefoot.
"Cooper," he said, flatly. Then, more to himself, "I hate this."
He shook his head, wiped his eyes with the back of his right hand, a childlike gesture. Then he looked at me squarely, straightening a little.
"Maureen was killed last night. Murdered."