The Killing Desert: A Western Novel


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In , the brutal murder of the farmer John Hossack galvanized Iowa — especially after it appeared that his wife, Margaret, had been the one to bludgeon him to death. Soon after, her body was found with two bullets in her brain and a stocking so ambitiously wound around her neck that her head was nearly severed. Like other Americans, they were swept up in the tornado of social and economic change in American agriculture.


  • The New Accountability: Environmental Responsibility Across Borders.
  • Tales of the Wild West Series Books by Rick Steber.
  • Writing the West.

Supposed motive: Mr. Barrett had hired him to do. But the situation was so full of unanswered questions that it brought out Mr. In an area of the Ozarks blighted by poverty and crime, a local Vietnam vet went on a killing spree. Cuneo decided to find out why.

Wild West Book Review: War of a Thousand Deserts

Eli Stutzman was a respected Amish farmer. He was also, as it turns out, a murderer. He had killed a judge, a priest and an unknown but large number of other people. He may have been the most prolific serial killer in history. They became so desperate that Raffi Kodikian stabbed David Coughlin in the heart, purportedly as an act of mercy killing. It was a gothic whodunit for the internet age, replete with prostitutes, drugs, family dysfunction, investigative incompetence, not to mention a strange, insular beach community and, of course, the websites of Craigslist and Backpage, where the women had advertised for customers.

Homicides are rare in North Dakota, so when three people from the same small town were killed, everyone in the state paid attention. Here is a woman viewing the aftermath of her attempted killing through the smeary haze of her own blood. Carroll proceeds from these haunting twin plot points through a patchwork of vignettes, reportage and reflection that reaches after her absent parents with sensitive longing. After a half-century this case is revisited, and this time those involved in the shooting tell all the graphic details of what happened, why it happened and what has played out in the aftermath.

And you, the reader, have the opportunity, and perhaps the responsibility and obligation, to examine the testimony and facts of the case and come to a decision on whether a guilty man was allowed to walk free, or was the man who pulled the trigger acting within his constitutional rights when he stood his ground and took the life of another man. The final decision will be up to you, the 13th juror. What happened that September day, the judges' decision and the reaction of the crowd in the aftermath, forever changed the sport of rodeo, and the way the emerging West was to look at itself.

He returned to the United States as a fugitive, and eventually, at age 53, Sundown whipped the cowboy at his own game and became the first man of color to win the All-Around title at the Pendleton Round-Up.

Rick Steber

John Spain was from white pioneering stock. When Buffalo Bill brought his Wild West show to Oregon in , John and his brother were inspired to form a show of their own. They traveled the Northwest with a string of bucking horses and put on riding exhibitions. After a roping accident cost John his right hand, he had to learn to ride with his off-hand and made a comeback at the Pendleton Round-Up. George Fletcher, an African American, tried to join, but Jim Crow, the strict segregation of the races, was the law of the land and George was not allowed to join his peers.

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He was drafted into the segregated Army, served in France, was wounded and never again was able to compete in the sport of rodeo. A true story of a remarkable love, a promise given, and of bluebirds A Promise Given is a nonfiction book dealing with the many diverse issues each of us must face at various points during our lifetimes: love, loss, the complexities of growing old, and how each of us has the opportunity to directly effect the environment in which we live. This fast-paced narrative quickly pulls the reader into a Northwest setting and the time period surrounding World War II.

Trevor Russell enlists in the service, returns home to attend college, and becomes an elementary school teacher. He falls in love, they marry and through a lasting marriage spanning nearly six decades, the couple is forced to meet the challenge of having to remove their son from life support, one of them battles a terrible disease and finally they escape to live on a remote ranch 60 miles from the nearest town.

On the last day of summer in , while cowboy Phil Brooks was riding in the hills of Eastern Oregon, he was struck through the heart by a bullet fired from a high-powered rifle. Although an intensive police investigation was launched, nobody has ever stood trial for that murder. Some locals speculate a woman was involved, or the young cowboy happened upon a drug drop, while others are convinced Phil's death had something to do with the trophy bull elk that inhabit the sprawling Fopiano Ranch where his body was found by Native American trackers. Caught in the Crosshairs is a story full of intrigue, deception and of justice gone terribly wrong.

Big Frank Battle leaned an elbow against the hood of his battered, flatbed truck and gazed with arrogant pride over his empire: his secluded valley, his sprawling ranch, his livestock.

He had not the slightest inkling that before this particular morning played itself out, his body would fail him, the power he loved to wield so fiercely would crumble to dust and all the ugly secrets he had managed to keep hidden these many years would be laid bare to the world. A blood clot, a puny thing smaller than a BB, was about to kick loose, pump through his blood stream and wedge itself tight as a tick at the base of his brain.

Book Review: The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh, Plus Praise of the Modern Western

Frank felt an odd sensation in his neck, automatically assumed he had slept wrong and rolled his massive shoulders side-to-side the way an old range bull will do, trying to work loose that bothersome kink. The soreness persisted, slowly intensified, and Frank stepped to the cab of his ranch truck, flung open the door , dug around under the seat and produced a whiskey bottle. He unscrewed the lid and tipped the cold glass to his lips. Alcohol traced a coarse passage, and for the moment, that seemed to soothe, or at least to mask, the first shallow evidence of the physical pain that would soon kill him.

After a day spent working cattle, Waddy Wilder sits in a small town bar on Oregon's dry side contemplating his forty years of buckarooing. He is trying to decide if he should keep rolling along like a tumbleweed, or settle down with that divorced gal on her five-acre ranchette and play husband and daddy to her two kids. Then a woman on the prowl comes along, and they run off to Alaska where the red-hot romance soon cools.

Forty Candles on a Cowboy Cake is an entertaining contemporary western novel by award-winning author Rick Steber. This story, set on the High Desert of Central Oregon, is irreverent, sinful and as unpredictable as a bunch of drovers hitting town after a long cattle drive. For a few weeks every fall, at ranches scattered throughout the great American West, cowboys come together to ride the open range. This gathering of man and beast is called Roundup.

In the federal government terminated the Klamath Indians of southern Oregon. For those inclined to be wild and reckless, the party was on.

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Stories made the rounds of Indians buying one, two, three new cars, sometimes an extra for a friend. Others walked into local bars with paper sacks stuffed with cash. Today, most Klamath Indians view termination as the worst disaster that ever befell them. They say the federal government tricked them into selling.

Western Desert Book

They want their former reservation lands returned to them. Buy The Chief A Cadillac is a novel set during the chaotic and turbulent time of termination. This fictional story, by well-known eastern Oregon author Rick Steber, is written without pulling any punches. A cowboy and the love of his life. Herman Vowell grew up on an Oregon homestead dreaming of being a cowboy.

The Killing Desert: A Western Novel The Killing Desert: A Western Novel
The Killing Desert: A Western Novel The Killing Desert: A Western Novel
The Killing Desert: A Western Novel The Killing Desert: A Western Novel
The Killing Desert: A Western Novel The Killing Desert: A Western Novel
The Killing Desert: A Western Novel The Killing Desert: A Western Novel

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