Redemption in the Dust (Preview)

Chapter One

Jack McQueen took a deep breath of the crisp winter breeze. The weather had been merciful that season, the worst of the snows having passed in the previous December. Like everything in the Black Hills, the weather was mysterious and dangerous. The trail itself was winding and treacherous and looked to be finally ending.

Jack glanced around the boxelder maple and bitter-berry on each side of trail still caked with snow. Any of them could be hiding road agents, Sioux, cougar, or bear. It had been a mean ride from Deadwood, and Jack was eager to spend a few nights in a warm bed with a stove-cooked meal.

“Custer,” Lawrence Hoffman said from the paint walking next to Jack’s speckled stallion, called simply Horse. “He should’a known. What were his scouts thinking?”

“Can’t say,” Jack said, keeping his eyes on the trail.

“I mean, Benteen and all those men? Cut down to the last? Somebody had to know something.” Jack nodded, and they kept riding. “I figure his scouts did him dirty. He wasn’t well-liked, Custer.”

“No,” Jack said.

They rode on for a few minutes more before Lawrence said, “Comes to it, it’s our country now. Whoever was here first, that don’t matter; it’s not about that.” Jack said nothing, and Lawrence went on, “We’re here now; that’s what counts.”

“Sure,” Jack said.

Lawrence huffed. “May the Devil admire me if I can shut you up for ten minutes.” They shared a little chuckle. Jack didn’t mind Lawrence’s conversive nature. A little levity could make the trail easier, especially as the days rolled on. And Lawrence’s ballads made the nights more pleasant, even amusing.

But it could be dangerous too, and distracting. But Jack was keeping an eye out, and his instincts told him that this wasn’t the time for Lawrence’s witticisms. As much as he liked to talk, Lawrence also liked to go on breathing. He seemed to pick up on Jack’s caution, silence overtaking him as they rode up around a bend.

The camp was still a day’s ride away on the road from Deadwood, where Wild Bill Hickok had been shot in the back of the head by the coward Jack McCall. Word of the legendary gunfighter’s fate had spread far and white, putting both a pall and a shine on the place.

But like every place else in the country, it seemed, Jack and Lawrence would have to leave Deadwood behind. There seemed like there’d be no settling down, no home, no family, no happiness.

There would be work in Cutthroat; Jack was sure of it. Not miners, he and Lawrence had other skills. They were more adept at putting things into the ground than taking them out, most of those were human bodies.

Blood was a stable currency then, as it always seemed to be. It struck Jack odd that so many men were so eager to kill so many others, but it hardly seemed unnatural. And it was what both Jack and Lawrence did best.

“Say, Jack,” Lawrence said, “did I tell you what happened to me?”

The two had been riding a good while together, so Jack already knew the ruse his friend was pulling. “Sure didn’t,” Jack answered.

“My uncle died; God bless him.”

Jack took a second, then answered, “Oh, that’s too bad.”

“No, that’s good,” Lawrence responded. “He left me a big fortune, fifty thousand dollars.”

“Oh,” Jack said, “Well, that’s … that’s good.”

Lawrence answered, “No, that’s bad. By the time I paid off my debts, I only had five thousand dollars left.”

“Oh,” Jack said, unable to suppress the smile growing on his face, “that’s bad.”

“No,” Lawrence responded, “that’s good. Five thousand was just what I needed to buy a new house.”

“Well, that’s good.”

“No, that’s bad. The house caught fire and burned down.”

“Oh,” Jack said with faux sympathy, “that’s too bad.”

“No, that’s good,” Lawrence answered. “I decided to leave the land and set sail to see the world.”

“Oh, that’s good.”

“No, that’s bad. My ship sank, and I nearly drowned.”

Without skipping a beat, Jack answered, “Oh, that’s too bad.”

“No, that’s good. A mermaid came to my rescue, and we fell in love!”

“Oh, well, that’s good.”

“No, that’s bad. Because since she was a mermaid and I was a landlubber, we could never be together.”

Jack huffed, “Oh, that’s too bad.”

“No, that’s good … her father would have been a real pain in the fin!” The two men burst out in a shared chuckle, carrying them further along the road to Cutthroat.

The tension seemed to pass as they rode around the bend, no danger lurching out at them, no ambush by Sioux, no flash of tan and black or that screaming cry of the cougar’s pounce.

“Get to that camp,” Lawrence said, “first thing, a nice, hot bath, then a good meal.”

“Yeah.”

They rode a bit further, Lawrence chuckling. “For work, I thought we’d talk to the local law, get deputized.”

“The law?”

Lawrence shrugged. “Might as well do it under color of the law.”

“No,” Jack said.

“It’d be good money,” Lawrence said. “Not as good as bounty hunting, but … we could settle down, get off the trail, get in from being out in the open.”

Jack didn’t have to think about it for long. “No law,” he said.

“I know how you feel, Jack,” Lawrence said, “I really do. That sheriff killed yer wife; that shouldn’a happened, Jack.”

“Yeah,” was all Jack could stand to say. Even thinking about it was more than he was interested in, the sound of her screams, the look on her face.

“It was a long time ago, though,” Lawrence said, “five years, with a lot of miles on them.” Jack just kept riding, eyes on the Eastern black walnut and the American elm on each side of the trail. “New camp, new start. Lawmen don’t have to be all bad.”

“I won’t work for one,” Jack said. “Makes a man corrupt.”

Lawrence huffed. “Most any job with good pay does that.”

“Most any,” Jack repeated. “We work for ourselves.”

“That’s how it’s always been,” Lawrence said, “you and me, straight down the …”

Bang! Bang-b-bang!

Jack drew his Colts and returned fire, one in each hand.

Bang-bang-b-bang-bang!

Lawrence drew, but he’d already been struck in the ambush. Jack focused on his adversaries, triangulating their locations by the wafts of smoke. They’d been hiding, but they’d also been overconfident. They’d assumed the ambush would be enough, and it might have been. But they weren’t counting on Jack McQueen.

Bang-b-bang-bang!

Jack took one of them out, falling out from behind a Black Hills spruce. Another was already felled, brought down in the first few shots. That left two others, and Jack would take them both at once. His two guns erupted with simultaneous fire until both men were gut-shot and bleeding out.

The violence ended just as quickly and ferociously as it had begun. Four men lay dead in front of Jack, one dead by his side. The paint stood nearby, spooked but not scared off. Lawrence stirred on the ground, and another man was still alive as well. He’d hung back; he looked to be a smaller man. He rode a chestnut mare with a diamond-shaped white mark on its forehead. Like the others, the man wore a hat on his head and a bandana over his face to prevent being identified by any lucky survivors. This time he was the lucky one, and he rode off into the hills, clearly having seen enough.

Dirty coward, Jack thought, go ahead and run off. You won’t escape me unless you kill me first. Whoever you are, I’ll see your face before I kill you. You’ll know my name, and then you’ll die.

Jack was compelled to follow, but Lawrence was still alive, and he had to be the priority. Jack holstered his guns and knelt to his old friend. Lawrence was already drained of blood and color. He looked up, coughing, flecks of blood on his chin.

“Did we get ’em, Jack?”

“Not all,” Jack said. “One man got away. But I’ll get him; don’t you worry about that.”

Lawrence nodded with a smile, and then he winced in pain. “Jack, Jack …”

“I’m right here, Lawrence.”

“Jack, don’t … don’t leave me behind. Give me a proper burial in town.”

“Sure I will, Lawrence.”

“Don’t leave me out here to get eaten.”

“I wouldn’t, Lawrence.”

Lawrence nodded, coughing and wincing in pain. “You’re a good man, Jack, always were a … a good man, a good friend.” Jack looked down at his friend, unable to fashion an answer. “I was proud to ride alongside you.”

“And I was lucky,” Jack said.

Lawrence coughed and winched again, gagging on a mouthful of blood. “Thank you, Jack, thank you … for everything.” He winced again. “God, it hurts … it hurts so much …”

“I know, Lawrence, I know.”

“It … I ain’t gonna make it, but … I could be slow dyin’.”

Jack knew his friend was right on both counts. But there was nothing he could do and nothing he could say. Jack looked around at the massacre surrounding them. “I’m gonna gather up these men, put ’em on their horses, bring ’em back with us, find out who the hell they were, find their friend, put him in the ground with ’em.”

Lawrence nodded. “Yeah, you … you do that, Jack.” Lawrence rolled back, his body quivered with a last gasp, and he slipped over to the other side and whatever awaited him there.

Jack had business in Cutthroat now, promises to keep, and at least one man to kill.

Chapter Two

The cold draft blew through the wooden structure housing the office of The Cutthroat Herald. Jeremy Jarvis read through the copy of The Cutthroat Herald, a single sheet of newsprint with ads and articles on both sides. He paced and sat on the corner of his wooden desk, spectacles on his nose, a ring of hair around his bald head.

“It’s good, Lila, very good.”

Lila rolled her green eyes, brushing away a red curl from her forehead. “If you think so.”

“Certainly, I do,” Jeremy said. “This is the kind of thing that will really help sell papers.”

“Household tips?”

“Naturally,” Jeremy said. “How else are women going to be able to stay up on the latest techniques for laundry and cooking and the like. There are new machines to try out; explain their use.”

“Yes, and that’s all well and good, but … it’s not news.”

“Not all news is bad news, Lila. This is a publishing business, like any other business. There’s plenty of blood and gore to report on out there. I need you to present … the lighter side of life.”

“Gardening tips and recipes.”

“Women need to cook for their families,” Jeremy said with a shrug. “Gardens will beautify the camp … or they will come the spring.”

“While miners are turning up dead, one after another.”

Jeremy sighed and rolled his eyes, closing the paper and setting it down on the desk. “Mining is dangerous; they die.”

“In the mines,” Lila said. “I hear one was killed behind the Lucky Strike Saloon, one of Enid Jenkins’ men.”

“Where’d you hear that?”

Lila shrugged. “Just … around.”

Jeremy stood up from the corner of his desk and stepped toward her. “What did I tell you about snooping around like that, Lila?”

“I just heard somebody’s conversation on the street, that’s all.”

“Lila, I’m on crime; that’s my beat, okay? You stick to the puff pieces! That’s your purview.”

“My place as a woman.”

“That’s right,” Jeremy was quick to answer, walking toward a tin coffee pot and pouring himself a cup. “News is a man’s game; it always has been and always will be.”

“Why? A woman can’t write as well as a man?”

“Because readers don’t trust women in the same way they trust men,” Jeremy said, “and that’s just a fact! Sources don’t trust women either. And some of these people, witnesses, you don’t want to be chasing them down. And you don’t want them chasing you down, believe me.”

“I can take care of myself,” Lila said. “I have for all these years, haven’t I?”

“You’re very … resourceful, yes.”

“And I’m grateful for the help I’ve gotten from you especially. Without this job, I … I’d only have the family home and no way to maintain it.”

Jeremy smiled. “Then be happy,” Jeremy said. “Maybe … just maybe, instead of trying to find some big news story … you should find a husband?”

“Find a husband,” Lila repeated. “Talk about a missing person’s case! This whole country is filled with cutthroats and conmen.”

“Well, there’s always …”

“Don’t even say it, Jeremy.”

Jeremy shrugged. “I think he’d be amenable. And he is the most eligible man in Cutthroat.”

“I’m not interested,” Lila said.

“He’s a very wealthy man, Lila. You could give up all this ink under your fingernails, start having children, and raise them comfortably.”

“Matthew Bellamy is a monster,” Lila said. “You know he killed my parents.”

“I don’t know of any such thing,” Jeremy answered calmly, “and I’m warning you again not to go around saying such things. That could be very dangerous for both of us.”

“Oh, don’t worry,”  Lila said, “I won’t try to publish anything I can’t prove.”

“And you shouldn’t try to prove something we can’t publish. Lila, road agents killed your parents. You’re lucky they didn’t get you too.”

“Bellamy runs the road agents around here; you know that.”

“I do not know that,” Jeremy said.

“And he’s killing his own miners because they’re organizing. He’s a cold-blooded murderer!”

“He’s the wealthiest man in these hills right now, Lila. And if he finds out what you’re saying, he’ll … he’ll hurt you, Lila.”

Lila stood there, a chill running up her spine. “I intend to find out what happened to my parents, Jeremy. Whether I publish it or not, I will find out.”

Jeremy shook his head. “You did find out. The men got away; that happens.”

“Because that sheriff is in on it,” Lila said.

“You don’t know that either.” A tense silence filled the newspaper office. “And again, Lila, you have to … suppress expressions of that sort.” He looked over the bridge of his nose at his young apprentice. “I … I don’t want to think you’re here just to go with your crusade against Matthew Bellamy.”

“I just want to find the truth! Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing? Isn’t that what a newspaper is for?”

“Well, of course, it is.”

“Then what are we doing?”

“We pursue the truth,” Jeremy said, “to the utmost of our ability. And as for the miners, well, murderers don’t just go around trumpeting their intentions or bandying their secrets! It’s not easy what we do. And we’re not the law either.”

“Around here? What law?”

Jeremy looked deep into Lila’s eyes. “The truth is that road agents got your parents. That’s what the sheriff said.”

“Yeah, the great Sheriff Carl Thom, like he’d be any help.”

“He’s also single, my dear.”

“Is that all a woman is worth to you, Jeremy, just … just to be some man’s wife? Just to raise some man’s kids?”

“What’s wrong with that? Without kids, how are we going to hand down what we know, and to whom? It’s perfectly natural.”

After a tense silence passed, Lila went on, “I know you’re a good man, Jeremy, you … you’re like an uncle to me. I know that The Cutthroat Herald is an instrument of the First Amendment.”

“It is.”

“And that you’re an honest man, that you wouldn’t allow yourself to be … to be used by such a man that would turn this noble profession into a … into a murder weapon.”

“A murder weapon? Lila, come-come, your flair for the dramatic.  Let us men take care of all this … political nonsense. Keep your mind on God.”

“Well, that would be fine, Jeremy, if we were printing Bibles.”

“We’re printing newspapers, Lila. And as tragic as the death of your parents was, it was years ago. It’s not news.”

“It will be when I can identify who killed them and why.”

“Let God find your parents’ killers if He hasn’t already.” A tense silence filled the newspaper office. Jeremy went on, “God put the parts of the body where it pleased Him. It’s a holy thing to know your place, Lila. A servile wife, dutiful mother, that’s a woman’s place.”

“Then why am I here?”

Jeremy shrugged. “Well, I’m a man of God, but I’m also a businessman. These things you’re writing are proving quite popular. It turns out as many women as men can read nowadays, so … it only makes good business sense.” He cracked a little smile and set one hand on each of Lila’s arms. “Don’t strain yourself, Lila. You’re a lovely young woman. And still just twenty-five, there’s still time.”

Lila nodded. She knew there was no more chance of her earning Jeremy’s respect than there was of putting Matthew Bellamy behind bars for the murder of her parents, however certain she was of the man’s guilt.

Chapter Three

A steady line of wagons and horse riders led into the camp from various directions, most of them funneled into two main roads heading into the camp. Jack led a train of four customers, one having been shot in the battle. The others carried their riders, Lawrence draped over his paint directly behind Jack. The camp sat in a cloud of stench, feces, and urine of different sorts; body odor, rotting teeth, and broken dreams created a rancid humidity swirling with the smoke from dozens of fires.

The first stop would be to the sheriff’s office for various reasons. He didn’t know the man and was ready to assume that he couldn’t be trusted. But that didn’t mean he didn’t deserve the courtesy of a visit. It would also help keep Jack’s neck out of a noose if complications from the deaths arose.

Nobody in the crowded streets paid Jack any notice, as if seeing a train of dead men on horseback was a daily occurrence in the little mining camp. Life in places like this was cheap and death commonplace, but it was just another bad sign of where the country was headed. It seemed to be a nation predicated upon death, a place forged by flesh and built upon the bones of those who came before.

The sheriff turned as Jack stepped into the little office of the wood-and-brick building. Lean, his head shaved bald, the man had a skeletal appearance.

“Afternoon,” he said.

Jack tipped his hat. “Sheriff?”

The bald man nodded. “Carl Thom.”

“Jack McQueen, in from Deadwood.” Jack blanched at giving the sheriff his real name, as he knew he could be in his enemy’s midst even then. But lying to the sheriff could impeach his word later, which could get him accused of and then hanged for the five murders, as a matter of convenience, if nothing else. Still, it was information to be coveted and held in confidence, though there was no point in asking the sheriff for that. His promise would be meaningless, whatever he said.

And what the sheriff did say was, “All right, Mr. McQueen. How can I help you?”

“We were bushwacked coming in,” Jack said. “Five men, four of ’em dead, plus my partner.”

The sheriff looked Jack over. “Partner in what?”

“Hunting bounties, mostly, lotta travelin’ ’round. Wound up volunteering once or twice.”

“Volunteering?”

Jack shrugged. “Things come up.”

Carl glanced around the office. “They sure do, pard,’ they sure do.”

Jack looked the sheriff up and down, marking the man’s physical strengths and weaknesses in case they had to be exploited later. The man seemed to be past his fortieth year, so his knees were likely to be nearly collapse, and failing eyesight might be limiting his effectiveness with a gun.

But he was still the law and still had to be cautiously treated, especially if he was as corrupted as Jack was always ready to assume any lawman was.

“Thought you’d come out,” Jack said, “take a look at these men.”

“I ain’t the sawbones, Pard’.”

“I thought you could tell me if you recognized them,” Jack said. “One got away; I figure he’s in this camp now.”

The sheriff looked at Jack, and Jack returned the cold glare before the sheriff said, “Let’s take a look.”

Jack led the man outside and to the chain of horses. The sheriff looked at Lawrence first, but Jack explained, “That’s my partner.” Carl nodded and made his way further down the chain. He looked at the other men, raising their hats to examine their faces. He seemed to give the matter considerable thought before stepping back to Jack.

“They look … vaguely familiar, but I can’t say for sure. A lot of people coming in through the hills.”

“Yeah,” Jack said, trying not to reveal too much of his doubt. He knew liars and the lies they told, and the sheriff’s inability to identify the men sounded like a lie to Jack, though everything any sheriff ever said sounded like a lie to Jack McQueen.

“You say there was another fella with ’em? Can you tell me what he looked like?”

“Wore a hat, bandana over his face. I can’t say. But he had a chestnut mare, diamond-shaped white mark on its forehead.”

The sheriff shrugged. “Common horse. Not sure what I can tell you about that. But I reckon you’d better get these fellas to the preacher, get ’em buried ’fore they stink up the joint even worse than it already is.”

Jack nodded and turned to step out of the office. He didn’t leave Jack with a good impression, but Jack hardly expected one. His worry was that their fifth man had seen the bodies, that he knew Jack was in Cutthroat. That could drive him underground or force his hand in a defensive move.

But the next move was the preacher; the sheriff had been right about that. Lawrence had requested a good Christian burial, and Jack was going to see that the promises he made were kept, all of them.

Pastor Neil van Dyke greeted Jack at the First Baptist Church of Cutthroat, a small, wooden building with a steeple, the only one of its kind in the camp. Jack left the bodies with him and paid for the coffins, and the burial services, for Lawrence and the men both had killed.

The five graves would take two days to dig, so they scheduled the services for several days thereafter, at which time the pastor would notify Jack so he could attend his friend’s funeral.

Poor Lawrence, Jack couldn’t help thinking, good man, good friend. Should be here now. Have to find that bastard who ran off into the hills, the coward, find him and kill him.

Jack left him with Lawrence’s paint for the church’s general use before taking the other horses to the livery. He sold them for five hundred for the lot, plus free board for the gray-speckled stallion Horse, and walked down the streets of Cutthroat toward the biggest hotel on the thoroughfare, the Cutthroat Arms Hotel.

The lobby was crowded, and the little restaurant was filled with a line of hungry customers. Cigar smoke hung heavy in the air, and conversations were loud and brackish. For all Jack’s anticipation about returning to a camp, any place where there were civilized people and not murderous savages or natural predators, his return only brought regret. It was hard not to see the ugliness of people, the sorrows and greed which motivated them and pushed them through their sorrowful lives.

The hotelier was a large man, brawny, and Jack knew immediately that the man had murder in his past. Whatever his life was like in Cutthroat, there were skeletons in the man’s closets and probably in his hotel rooms too.

Jack took a room on the third floor to keep away from the noise of the lobby and the lower rooms and turned to get in line for the restaurant, eager to get some bacon into his belly.

Chapter Four

Jeremy dismissed Lila and went about locking up the office. The next morning editions were printed, the last batch still drying while the others were already scored and stacked. He put out the whale oil lamps, locked the doors, and went across town, virtually fading into the darkness.

The wind cut through his coat, but it wasn’t the only thing sending a chill up his spine.

He didn’t like making those reports, but it couldn’t be helped. Little else in Cutthroat could be either in the final analysis. Jeremy couldn’t get Lila’s words out of his memory or her position out of his mind.

Lila was becoming harder to wrangle. She’d always been as stubborn and spirited as she was pretty. But the distractions he’d offered her were wearing thin, grinding down her patience and Jeremy’s own.

Bellamy was becoming impatient, too; Jeremy knew that. He’d tried to keep a distance between the two, each with their own ambitions and desires, but a collision between them seemed inevitable. And it had to be done with some delicacy, and delicacy was not Matthew Bellamy’s strong suit.

Jeremy had little need for a horse, so he weaved through the streets on the elevated sidewalks among the other pedestrians. The traffic prevented snow or ice from collecting, and the moderate temperatures had made the thoroughfare passable if barely that. He knew the shops and the shopkeepers. He knew most of the drunks and whores, though they stayed in the saloons, where they belonged.

But that put him on foot to cross Cutthroat toward Bellamy’s house. It was on the far end of the camp, out of sight of the saloon. It was built in the current style of British houses, named for their Queen Victoria, with fancy trim along the balconies and railings. It was even grander than the mayor’s house, though the mayor was only a formality.

Armed guards patrolled the property, one man standing boldly in front of the house. Another man was visible in the rear of the property, and the footsteps of at least one more guard echoed from the upper floor of the house.

Matthew Bellamy made the rules in Cutthroat, and everybody knew it. And he was the kind of man who needed to know what was going on and control those things.

“Four of my men dead,” Bellamy said. “Those men were of value to me, Jeremy!”

“I appreciate that.”

“And who is this man, this gunslinger?”

Jeremy pushed his spectacles back up onto his nose. “I … I don’t know.”

Bellamy ran his fingers through his graying hair. “Why do you think I put you in business, you simpleton? Find out!”

“I will,” Jeremy was quick to answer, “I … I will, sir.”

“And bring that straight to me,” Bellamy said.

“Yes, I … yes.”

Bellamy went on pacing, staring off as he thought things through. “And what about the girl?”

“Who, Lila? Miss Malone?”

“That little snit,” Bellamy said, pacing around the living room of his fine house. “First of all, who does she think she is, taking no interest in me? She’s … she’s two steps shy of the brothel, for heaven’s sake!”

Jeremy held his hands out, palms flat to calm him.  “She’s clinging to the death of her parents, I’m afraid.”

“And that should have been that,” Bellamy snapped. He ran his fingers through his graying hair, barrel chest on his slowly-widening frame. Though aging through his forties, his body was still strong, as it certainly had been in his youth. He retained a good amount of his vigor and needed that to wield the kind of power he did.

“There are … other women in town, Mr. Bellamy. Or … you could have one sent from New York.”

“A mail-order bride? Don’t be a fool, Jeremy. Anyway, I’m not a man to be refused! I’m a man of position, Jeremy, power. But power without perception is nothing.”

“I know you value your reputation …”

“Value it? I live and die by it, Jeremy.” He leaned forward, his voice taking an even graver tone. “And so do you.”

“I … I know it, I understand.”

“You’re a good man, Jeremy, you know that the greater good is what matters.”

“Yes, sir, Mr. Bellamy.”

“And Jeremy … in Cutthroat, I am the greater good.”

Jeremy nodded. “I … I don’t know what more I can do about it. She … she values my opinion, but … I’m afraid she’s implacable.”

Bellamy shook his head. “The nerve. What makes her think she’s so wonderful? No husband, and she’s how old? Twenty-five?”

“Just that, I think.”

“She’ll be an old maid in a few months,” Bellamy said. “And here I am with all the money in the Black Hills, and still, she turns me away?”

“Not you … personally.”

“Because I’m not about to kneel at her feet and have her kick me in the face! I’m not going to be made to look foolish by some bratty little girl! And what does she know about her parents anyway?”

Jeremy waves him off. “Nothing, she only … she suspects, that’s all. There’s nothing she can prove, and you know nobody’s going to speak against you.”

“They’d better not!” Bellamy stared at Jeremy, and the newspaperman’s blood ran cold. “Like those damned miners, getting together, talking about organizing. High-graders!”

“It’s a problem,” Jeremy said. “But I’m keeping the story in the presses. Discouraging them at every turn.”


“Redemption in the Dust” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

Emerging from the shadows of revenge is Jack McQueen, a deft bounty hunter fueled by vengeance. His pursuit for justice draws him to Cutthroat, an isolated mining camp held in the vice of the very man who shattered his world. Jack’s time to act is dwindling as his enemy’s plots thicken. However, in this desolate land an unexpected ally crosses his path.

Will he succeed before the hourglass runs empty?

In the windswept wilds of the Black Hills resides Lila Malone, a spirited newspaper reporter bound by society’s restrictive expectations. Amidst the quaint tales of homemaking tips she pens, Lila harbors an unquenchable thirst for justice; a thirst sparked by a monstrous mining millionaire, whom she suspects ended her parents’ lives.

Can she unravel the twisted threads of the dark past?

When the paths of Lila and Jack entwine, a fragile bond takes root amidst the tumult. Together, they find themselves in a deadly race against time to expose the murderous millionaire. As their journey becomes fraught with peril, a tender love attempts to bloom. Will they bring justice to those wronged, or will they too fall victim to the ruthless tide of American progress?

“Redemption in the Dust” is a historical adventure novel of approximately 60,000 words. No cliffhangers, only pure unadulterated action.

Get your copy from Amazon!

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