for the elusive killer forces him to relive his own troubled and bloody past. Kilgore has struggled to leave his memories as a soldier in Viet Nam and as a sheriff in rural West Texas behind—along with his life as a stone cold killer. Within seven days of his boss’s death, Kilgore and his buddy, a cop that doesn’t always play by the rules, find that two other victims have been brutally murdered—an employee of the attorney general and a young prostitute. In a harrowing race against time—across the desolate plains of Texas to the perilous Mexican border—on the heels of a killer, Kilgore is up against forces more evil than any he has faced in the line of fire. Knowing he is walking into a madman’s trap of almost certain death, Kilgore must call upon a few loyal—and often disreputable—friends, to help him find the killer and survive to see another Texas sunset.
I was brought up in Carlsbad, New Mexico. It was, when I was a boy, a thriving community on the banks of the Pecos River. In the 1950’s and 60’s it was a fun place for a kid with an active imagination to make friends and memories. Ours was a family of four with my parents, my older brother and me. The years of my life I spent in school were tough. I struggled a lot in my studies and thus devoted my life to having fun, and getting in trouble. Because I wasn’t a successful student, education for education’s sake never interested me. I can’t imagine that anyone who knew me as a teenager through my late twenties would ever guess that I could or would ever try to write anything, much less a novel.
My early work life was not very fulfilling or productive. At twenty-eight years of age I was at the frustrating end of a long pursued career in country music. It was them that my new life began. I met the woman I would marry and have been happily married to for thirty-six years. At age twenty-nine I quit music and started college. I earned a BA and am MA in Communication Studies. My first job out of college was as an instructor at Texas A&M University and after two years there, I moved into Texas state government in Austin where I would spend the remainder of my career. The first of my government service came with Texas political legend, Bob Bullock, state Comptroller and later Lieutenant Governor. It was his larger than life persona that formed my vision of Robert Bailey, the murdered AG in my novel. The rest of my time in Texas government was with the Texas Youth Commission, the state’s juvenile corrections agency. I retired in 2003 and began teaching as an adjunct professor at Texas State University. My plunge into fiction writing began in 2001. Most of the characters and the plot for my first novel had been stomping around in my mind for several years. When I started trying to get my characters and their lives onto the written page I found I had the life experience to make their world real, the imagination to create unique problems and settings. I had always been a good story teller and now I had to learn to translate that story onto the printed page. Today, I am happy with my life and enjoy it to the fullest. I look forward the times when I can slip into the world of my characters and help the solve mysteries and face their hardships. I have two other mystery novels in process and a growing collection of short stories all dealing with murders in Texas.
Much of the book is set in Austin, and I often drive by the location of an especially memorable scene. When I do, I look for the sheriff walking up to the door. Haven’t seen him yet, but I know he’s been around.
The descriptions, dialog, detail, and characters feel authentic, and the author’s knowledge of politics, Austin bars, West Texas small towns, and — well — firearms is apparent. Both the structure and pace of the novel make it difficult to put down. I think I read it in two or three sittings. Perfect summer reading. Goes well with either beer or bourbon.
When reading the book, I frequently imagined a movie based on it. Something like “No Country for Old Men” or maybe “Blood Simple”. I guess the book’s characters, who are all engaging in their own ways, seem appropriate for a Cohen brothers’ production. Anyway, the visual descriptions and dialog are vivid. I’m looking forward to the sequel.