Winter Shakers and the Wolf in the Fold by Eleanor Kuhns

               Will Rees, the traveling weaver who serves as the detective in my historical murder mysteries, has a strong connection to the Shakers. In my first mystery (A Simple Murder) Rees is drawn in to an investigation at the Shaker village of Zion and develops strong bonds with them. Additionally, his wife Lydia is a former Shaker from that community. After the events in A Devil’s Cold Dish, Rees and his family seek refuge with the Shakers in Zion once again.

The Shaker Murders begins with Rees’s arrival at the village. The very next day Brother Jabez, a Shaker who had been away working with the current leader Mother Lucy Wright, is found murdered in a washtub. Several other murders quickly follow, terrifying the village and setting Rees on the hunt for the murderer.

Surely he cannot be one of the Shakers! They are a non-violent pacifist faith.

Officially named The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, the name ‘Shakers’ is a contraction of Shaking Quakers. They were so-called because of their enthusiastic services with wild dancing, speaking in tongues and other manifestations of the Holy Spirit occurred. The faith was brought to the colonies in 1774 by Mother Ann Lee and still exists today although only three of the once many thousands remain.

They believed in the simple life and because every action honors God they strove for perfection in everything they did. A well-known Shaker saying is “Hearts to God, Hands to work.” In an era with no safety net, and a time when families could be expelled from villages to the dangers of the open road at the whim of the Selectmen (a practice I explore in Cradle to Grave) the Shakers provided a refuge for many. They adopted orphans as well as taking in children whose parents could not care for them. Some were ‘contract apprentices’ but the Shakers made no distinction in the treatment of the children. Both boys and girls were educated, (girls in the summer, boys in the winter) and by adulthood could read and write and ‘figure’ as well as run a farm. Although the Shakers hoped the children would ‘make a Shaker’ – and many did, it was not required and most children married out of the community. Quite a few of these children wrote about their experiences and it is clear the bonds between the Sisters and the children remained both affectionate and strong.

The Shakers also took in adults. Anyone who made it to a community and expressed an interest in joining was welcomed. As a consequence people who were down on their luck would join in the fall – and enjoy three meals a day and a bed to sleep in all winter – but leave again in the Spring. These temporary converts were so common the Shakers had a name for them – Winter Shakers.

So I asked myself what happens if one of these converts is a criminal on the run? Or even a murderer? They would be hiding among gentle peaceful folk who would suspect nothing. Since unnecessary speech was discouraged questions about one’s past would not have been asked. And, in the days before fingerprints, DNA and nationwide databases, detecting these wolves would be difficult if not impossible.

With the regular influx of people, some criminal, there could be any number of secrets that a person would try to hide. Since the Shakers are a celibate faith, sexual transgressions are treated harshly, usually with expulsion. Keeping that a secret would be important. Converts were – and are – required to surrender their assets. The community owns everything. What if one of these new Shakers is hiding property or jewelry?  Would that be a secret worth killing for? And those fleeing the consequences of past crimes would certainly want to keep their pasts secret.

Blackmail, in other words, would be a strong motive for murder, especially if the secrets were in direct opposition to the Shakers’s core values.

The Shaker community might prove to be a refuge for some but in The Shaker Murders it is another dangerous situation for Will Rees and his family. The murderer has a lot to lose and will stop at nothing.  It is up to Rees to find the wolf hiding among the sheep before another murder, this time maybe of himself or one of his family, occurs.


Eleanor Kuhns is the 2011 winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel. A lifelong librarian, she received her Masters from Columbia University and is currently the Assistant Director of the Goshen Public Library in Orange County New York.


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Thinking Outside the Box Unique Ideas for Promoting Your Book(s) By Ron Corbin

People who don’t know me that well seem a little surprised when they discover I have a PhD. Most likely because they don’t see me as the “typical” erudite that a Doctorate of Philosophy usually invokes … whatever that may be.
However, for friends who know me “up close and personal,” they aren’t surprised at all that I don’t portray the image of a college professor. Probably because, since there is already too much drama and seriousness in the world, I like to tease, joke, make puns, and use humor in daily activities. Thus, it is likely that some of the suggestions below for promoting my book may seem a little bit unusual, quirky, or out of the norm.
Poker Chips — Being from Las Vegas, rather than just having the personalized business cards and book marks promoting my book like most authors, I had customized poker chips made up. One side of the chip displayed the cover of my book, and the flip side had a photo of an LAPD helicopter.
These chips can be used as part of the “buy-in” to your weekly “Guy’s Night Poker Game.” Sometimes, one of the poker players will cash-in these poker chips to buy one of your books.
The chips can also be used as a challenge coin to exchange with your military and public safety friends who collect these kind of mementos.
Doctor and Dentist Office — Having the same family doctor and dentist for years, these professionals know about some of my family business, including my endeavors in writing and publishing a book. As a Christmas gift to them, I gave them one of my books. I then asked them that, if they are willing, I’d appreciate them allowing me to place one of my books in their office waiting rooms…with a sticker or handwritten note saying, “Please Don’t Remove – Leave in Office.”
I think that this is a perfect way for exposure to great numbers of people; patients who might start reading a chapter or two and, if interested, will copy the book title for future self-purchase. As a bonus of doing this, I even found that one of my doctors is an author herself, and we were able to exchange books.
Contests — I have held contests at writer’s conferences, with the winning prize being one of my books. Use your imagination and make twists to the old version of “guessing how many jelly beans in a jar” game.
One contest was where I took one of my wife’s sewing projects. She had made a basket from material-hand-wrapped cotton corded clothesline. I had conference attendees guess how many feet of clothesline was involved in the basket construction.
Another contest was to guess what this object was used for. Hints included:
·       They are made of plastic and come in pairs.
·       They come in four basic colors (i.e., red, green, blue, yellow).
·       They are from the 1950s.
·       They use one AA battery to make a small light and illuminate the plastic’s color.
Do you know what they are? Take a guess. (Answer at the bottom of this article.)
Cruise Ship Libraries — My wife and I like to take cruises. Generally, every cruise ship has a game room and/or library. I take one of my books on each cruise trip and leave it in with the other books in the ship’s library. Even if the ship’s staff monitor this and remove my book as being unauthorized, I feel confident that it won’t simply be thrown away, and maybe taken to the crew quarters for their use. In any case, I figure that this is a way to expose it to hundreds, if not thousands, of passengers.
So, these have been some of the ways I have promoted my book. They may seem quirky, but then again, I told you that I had a PhD. I like to say that it’s “thinking outside the box.” Honestly, though, I don’t know how successful these unique ideas are. But you may want to try them.
Oh, and the answer to those green plastic light thingies is … they are lights that attach to the bottom of roller shoe skates. When the roller rink lights are turned down, and a waltz or couple’s skate is called, guys and gals would turn on their shoe skate lights. If a boy had a girlfriend, then they each would swap one light from their pair, so they had a different color on each foot, but were seen matching as a “couple.”
Ron Corbin
Ron Corbin is a decorated Vietnam veteran, having served two tours as a combat helicopter pilot. After a crash in 1976 with LAPD’s Air Support Division, he was forced to seek other careers, including school teacher and principal, counter-terrorism and security trainer, body guard, corporate security director, and manager of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept’s (Metro) Police Training Academy. His specialty is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), and he attended training in this domain at The National Crime Prevention Institute, at the University of Louisville. On behalf of Metro, he has served the community by providing expert advice and hundreds of security surveys or vulnerability assessments for commercial and residential customers; including such notables as the Fremont Street Experience architectural team, Ch-3 and Ch-10 television studios, Las Vegas and Clark County Housing Authorities, Desert Springs Hospital, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ron’s CPTED credentials and experience has led to him being interviewed as a subject matter expert in articles published nationally in “Reader’s Digest,” “Sunset Magazine,” “PetroMart Business,” Las Vegas Life”, “The SIREN (Municipal Motorcycle Officers of California)”, “Vegas Life”, “Las Vegas NOW”, “Around Your Home”, the “Crime Reporter” (Ventura, CA PD),  and “PORAC-LE News” magazines. He was the Editor of Training Publications for LVMPD. He has been a contributing author and columnist to “Avista” magazine. He currently writes a safety column for the “PSWA Newsletter.” He is also a 10-time award-winning writer for short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. BEYOND RECOGNITION, Ron’s award winning book (Public Safety Writer’s Assn- 1st Place, 2013) was written as a means of closure and dealing with survivor’s guilt, a form of PTSD. It’s his memoir of a tragic helicopter crash he had as an LAPD pilot; one which killed his student pilot trainee, and put Ron in a burn ward for 70% burns. It’s a story of how he overcame his physical, mental, and emotional pain, and provides a recommendation for others who suffer from tragedy.
Ron Corbin, PhD

Vietnam Veteran (1966-67, 69 – Army Helicopter Pilot)
Member of the Public Safety Writers Association
Member of the Wednesday Warrior Writers 

Author of “Beyond Recognition”

First Place Award Winner

All aboard for adventure by Janet Dawson

Now arriving on platform three, the California Zephyr—historical mystery series, that is. All aboard for adventure! Also mystery, murder and a touch of the supernatural.


The Ghost in Roomette Four, the third book in the series, features strange shimmering lights, an unearthly chill and tapping sounds that may mean someone—or something—is trying to communicate with my protagonist, Jill McLeod.


Jill is a Zephyrette, a train hostess, the only female member of the onboard crew for the streamliner known as the California Zephyr. The train was often called the CZ or the Silver Lady, because of its silvery stainless steel cars. It ran from 1949 until 1970, jointly operated by three railroad companies—the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, the Denver & Rio Grande Western, and the Western Pacific.


The first book in the California Zephyr series is called Death Rides the Zephyr. It takes place in December 1952, while the second, Death Deals a Hand, happens a few months later, in April 1953. By the time The Ghost in Roomette Four leaves the station, summer has rolled around and it’s July 1953.


The series features a specific historic train linked with a female protagonist who is a train crew member rather than a passenger—at time when working for the railroad was primarily a man’s job and a man’s world. That’s what first attracted me. When I found out about Zephyrettes, I knew I had to write a book with a Zephyrette sleuthing on the train and solving crimes.


I am having fun with the early 1950s setting, researching fashions, hair styles, figuring out what movies were showing at the local picture palace, the music my characters enjoyed, and what books and magazines they would read. I’m also looking at the cars my characters would drive and what was in the newspapers of the time, whether news of international and national importance, or something local.


It’s a time when memories of the Korean War, World War II and the Great Depression are still fresh in people’s memories. It’s the era of postwar prosperity in the United States, yet a time when casual racism directed at the mostly African American porters was common. In the 1950s, women married young and it was unusual for young women like Jill to have careers. In fact, in the third book, Jill is feeling the subtle pressure to get married—and she finds she doesn’t like it. She enjoys riding the rails and she’s not yet ready to settle down.


For the mystery reader who enjoys transportation linked with murder, there are lots of train books out there. Certainly we think of Agatha Christie, Jill’s favorite mystery writer. Murder on the Orient Express and The Mystery of the Blue Train both feature Hercule Poirot. And 4:50 from Paddington involves Miss Marple in a murder aboard a train. There’s also Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, the movie version released in 1951.


Here’s a link to a blog post about mysteries set on trains, though it’s several years out of date.


It lists a great many train books. Since the list provided on this blog is several years old, I’m sure readers could add more. My latest discovery is Barbara Nickless, whose series, set in contemporary Denver, features a railroad special agent, Sydney Rose Parnell and a K9 partner named Clyde. The books are Blood on the Tracks and Dead Stop. Her website is at


Here’s hoping you’ll buy a ticket on the California Zephyr, my fictional version, and enjoy the adventures of my sleuthing Zephyrette.

Marilyn Monroe singing Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which opened in July 195. Jill and her boyfriend are planning to see this movie.

Percy Faith Orchestra playing Where is Your Heart, the popular song from the 1952 move Moulin Rouge. This is the song playing at the restaurant where Jill has lunch with her friend Tidsy.

Fifties fashions and hairdos:

The poodle cut, called the style that defined the 1950s:

Some illustrations of the popular full skirt and pencil skirt:

Good clothing photos here:

Some of the clothes that Jill might have worn:

profile of Zephyrette Nellie O’Grady from the Saturday Evening Post in 1955 has some good photos of a working Zephyrette:

This is part of the website called the Virtual California Zephyr Museum, which has lots of photos and advertising brochures.



Branded (Not a ’60s TV Show) by Peg Herring

Before I was published, I learned a successful author has to have a brand. The term is a little difficult to pin down to A or B or A+B, but basically it’s something that stops a reader’s eye as she wades through the thousands of new books offered every month. A brand connects synapses, whether it’s the author’s name, the series name, the topic, the title, or even cover art. “Oh!” the book shopper thinks joyfully. “Here’s something I’ll like.”

Branding means a second or twelfth or thirty-first book is noticed, even awaited, by fans. Readers need a reason to pay money for a book, to sign up for a newsletter, to pre-order (and boost Amazon ratings), and to tell their friends they should give an author’s work a try.

How does one get a brand? Start with the questions of information: Who? What? Where? When? and Why? The Who? makes some brands easy. When the author is well-known, her brand is already established. We’ve all seen movie stars and politicians try their hand at publishing, and it often works. I’ve been literally pushed aside at Barnes & Noble so someone could get to the title with a famous name/face on the cover. (If I only had a nickel for every reader who ignored my table of attractively-displayed books and asked if Nathan Fillion “really” wrote the Castle books!) However talented celebrities-turned-writers might be, I want to shout, “I spent thirty years of my life studying the language and its greatest writers. Then I worked for a year alone in my garret (okay, it’s an office, but it’s upstairs) to produce this new release. Isn’t that better than some comedian who paid a ghost writer to do the hard stuff?

You’ve probably figured out by now that I had no qualifications as a Who? Telling an agent or editor I’d taught high school English for decades was no doubt yawn-inducing. I wasn’t as interesting as the guy who climbed Mt. Everest one stormy year and was one of only a few who lived to tell about it. Now that’s a brand, though I can’t say I’d go that far to get one. I don’t have an interesting accent, I never worked for the CIA, I’m way past being pin-up cute, and I refuse to wear costumes that relate to my work. (Okay, I did that a few times, but it was always in the best of taste.) So Who? Was a difficult question for me—and often still is.

What? Often this one is answered by what came before. An author who writes a book that’s well-received writes another in the same vein (your agent will tell you to get busy on it as before the ink is dry on the contract). Cover art is likely to be similar and connected to the theme, whether it’s a coffee shop mystery or another installment in the saga of a strange world. Series titles might co-ordinate, like Dean Koontz’ Odd series or my historicals, which make reference to Elizabeth Tudor’s official titles over her lifetime. That builds the brand, which readers need, since they tend to forget they read and liked an author’s work until those synapses connect. So What? is an ongoing question, answered as an author builds a repertoire and readers grow to expect certain things from her.

Where? can be helpful, since readers like certain locations. My home area, though beautiful, is of little help. I live in northern Michigan, in a community so rural I point to a spot on the palm of my hand to show where it is. Besides making travel to hubs of publishing poshness difficult, it doesn’t make a gritty setting, like L.A. or Chicago, nor a trendy one like Taos or Seattle, nor is it exotic like Bangkok or Sao Paulo.

I began my writing career with no unique background, no track record, no intriguing locale. No Who? No What? No Where?

With When? I got a little lucky. I began with Tudor era mysteries that have lots of period detail, which appeals to a large chunk of readers. The Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries sold well, and reviewers took note. Then my publisher, after a bankruptcy and a lot of upheaval, decided to eliminate the mystery genre from its lists.

I sort of had a brand. For a while.

To be honest, these days my biggest branding problem is me. I write what I find interesting, and I can’t simply keep repeating my successes. After four historicals I became fascinated with the idea of a homeless detective and invented Loser (Killing Silence), but after three books, her story was told. Despite my (new) publisher’s suggesting it continue, I went on to a fun, mildly paranormal series (The Dead Detective Agency). Again, the arc came to a satisfying conclusion in four books and I saw no need for further exploration. My most popular series of late is written under a pseudonym (The Sleuth Sisters-Maggie Pill). So far it’s been a hoot, but a new idea took over in 2017, pushing the sisters aside for a gang of oddball vigilantes ( It’s hard to have a brand when your series are so different, so varied, and so short-lived.

That brings me to the last question: Why? Why would a person want to read what I write? That’s best answered by the motto I devised to pull my widely scattered titles together: Strong Women, Great Stories. My goal is to tell tales that are fun, interesting, and filled with characters who triumph over whatever bad things happen to them. That’s my brand, and while it isn’t unique, I think many readers want that very thing. I can guarantee the next story won’t take place in N.Y.C. or Shanghai–but I have been to Chicago a few times.


Peg Herring is the author of the critically acclaimed Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries, the award-winning Dead Detective Mysteries, the intriguing Loser Mysteries, and several stand-alone novels. Maggie Pill, who writes the cozy Sleuth Sisters mysteries, is Peg’s alter ego, younger and much cooler.

List? A writer don’t need no stinkin’ list! by Bill Hopkins

I’ve attended many writing conferences in my lifetime, enough to have several lists of things a writer (especially a fiction writer) must do to have a successful story.

First, let me tell you where you can find a real-life example of the list I’m about to share. My selection of books is wide-ranging. I read The Kon-Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas when I was in high school. I read every one of the books in The Mushroom Planet series when I was in the sixth-grade. Robin Hood books were my favorite when I was even younger.

However, the book that has affected me and my writing the most is one I finished recently. Stephen King’s 11/22/63 tells the story of a man trying to change the past by stopping the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It’s pure science fiction (flavored only the way King can do it) and it adds a new twist to the canon of time-travel stories. (I think I’ve read every time travel story available; trust me on this.)

That’s only part of what makes this book great. Things that King shows are elements that each scene of a successful story must have. A lot of these items are obvious, yet I’ve read books by high-powered authors who don’t include some, making for confusion.

(1)   Source of light. Every scene must explain the time of day and, if the scene takes place inside, show the reader where the light comes from. Are we outside in the middle of the night? Full moon? New moon? Starlight? Clouds?

(2)   Participants. Every scene must also tell the reader who is there and where “there” is. One novel I read recently started a new chapter that ran for over a page before I knew the who and the where. This is frustrating and irritating to readers (who are, after all, your main audience).

(3)   Senses. Every scene should deliver the six senses. Six? That’s right. Not only smell, sight, hearing, touch, and taste, but the emotional state of the character needs to be explored. Briefly and surreptitiously, of course, unless you want to have a list at the beginning of every scene. (Not advisable.)

(4)   Resolution. In every scene, somebody must want something, somebody must oppose that want, and there’s a clear winner and loser. Otherwise, what you’ve written is a lecture on morality. A good exercise is to write a scene about what Jack and Jill do with that pail of water. Each needs it and there can be no compromise.

The best book I’ve found on how to set up scenes is Naked Playwriting:


There are tons of lists. One is by Kurt Vonnegut, which can be found at this site:

And, to paraphrase Vonnegut, if you’re a great writer, you can ignore any list!


Bill Hopkins is retired after beginning his legal career in 1971 and serving as a private attorney, prosecuting attorney, an administrative law judge, and a trial court judge, all in Missouri. His poems, short stories, and non-fiction have appeared in many different publications. He’s had several short plays produced.

Bill and his wife, Sharon Woods Hopkins (a mystery writer!), live in Marble Hill, Missouri.

COURTING MURDER was his first novel and his second novel RIVER MOURN won first place in the Missouri Writers’ Guild Show-Me Best Book Awards in 2014. All of his novels can be viewed on his Amazon Author Page:

Visit Bill and Sharon on Facebook:


I have a confession to make: This is not the blog post I thought I was going to write.
When I agreed to do this, months ago, I thought I would have news to report about my next novel.
Well, as we head into the homestretch of 2017, my news is this: I’m still working on the book.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I even have a nifty pitch line for the thing — it’s a murder mystery set in two vastly different cities: the New York of the 1970s, and the New York of today.
Of course, the pitch is one thing. The writing is something entirely different.
About a year ago I sent an early version of the manuscript to a number of agents. In response, I received mostly indifference and rejections, but I did get one interesting reply. An agent with a reputable house said he liked the first half of the book, but he felt that the second half fell flat. He then recommended a change that immediately caused me to ask myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
I like working with people like that.
As it turns out, that one seemingly simple suggestion has led to a total reworking of the book’s second half — kind of like deciding to paint the living room walls a different color and ending up with a gut renovation. I keep working at it and thinking I’m getting close to the finish line, but then something changes and I go back and rework some other chapters and pretty soon I have the feeling that I’ve been driving all day and have traveled about a mile.
So I plug away and, despite my whining (let’s face it — this is totally a First World Problem), I believe that the manuscript is getting significantly better. Right now, my latest self-imposed deadline for the book’s completion is early next year, but I now understand why the Big Dig in Boston lasted more than a decade.
In the meantime, the agent I talked to has switched employers. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. We are connected through LinkedIn.
Nothing that has happened while I write the book, tentatively titled PUBLIC MORALS, is all that unusual for a writer who is not yet at the Grownups Table where powerhouses like James Patterson and Sue Grafton graze. In my younger days, I used to think the process would get easier once I gained more experience. I now realize that it won’t.
While I remain focused on the writing, once the book is complete I will have to consider the twin devils of Selling and Marketing. My last book, BRIGHT MORNING STAR, was published in 2015 by an independent operation. The book was a real departure for me and I was happy to get it out in any form, but the D.I.Y./entrepreneurial aspects of independent publishing are a bit daunting for somebody as Old School as myself. My first three books were handled by traditional publishers; I candidly admit that I’d like to make a little money from my efforts. My daughter starts college next year and, well, everybody knows what that means.
And yet … I’ve heard about a well-regarded independent publisher who specializes in crime and mystery novels, and I know people who are happy with that publisher, and if I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s this: I am highly unlikely to get rich from my books.
When it’s all done — and I do believe it will be done, eventually, somehow — I’ll be tempted to say something about the importance of The Process, and how The Journey is way more significant than The Destination, and talk about how much I have learned and grown and matured as An Artist.
 Actually, I don’t think I’m going to feel that way at all. I’m fifty-nine years old. How much learning and growing and maturing do I have left?
Well, that’s about it from the trenches of Novel-in-Progress Land. But I do have one final thing to add.
I intend to write a sequel.
Tom Coffey graduated from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and attended film school at the University of Southern California. He has worked as a reporter and editor for some of the leading newspapers in the country, including The Miami Herald and Newsday. Since 1997, he has been an editor at The New York Times. Tom is also a member of Mystery Writers of America. His first novel, THE SERPENT CLUB, was published in 1999 by Pocket Books and earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Pocket Books published his second novel, MIAMI TWILIGHT, two years later. In 2008 Toby Press printed BLOOD ALLEY, which also earned a starred review from PW. In 2015 his latest novel, BRIGHT MORNING STAR, was published by Oak Tree Press.

Where do you get your ideas? by John Lindermuth

That’s one of the most common question writers hear. The simple answer is ideas are everywhere–in overheard snatches of conversation, in dreams, in what you read, in the sight of a woman standing on a pier.

What those asking the question fail to understand is an idea is not a novel or even a short story. An idea is merely a starting point. It must be nurtured like a seed to achieve maturity and become something more. It’s like turning up the heat under a pot of water.

Some ideas fizzle out before making that transition to something else. The best, the ones that reach maturity, are nourished by imagination, experience and lengthy periods of consideration. Sometimes ideas are rejected when we realize all we’ve done is mimic something that already exists; unless you can put a stamp of originality on it, it may not be worth pursuing. They shine when you realize you have something unique.

The best ideas take time to evolve. John Fowles recorded how the genesis of his French Lieutenant’s Woman began with nightmares and images of a haunted woman which persisted until he had to know her story.

Seldom do such stories arrive complete in a single flash of inspiration.

An idea of mine led to The Tithing Herd, a new Western, released July 25 by Sundown Press. Here’s the blurb:

When an ex-lawman Lute Donnelly sets out on the trail of the ruthless gang of outlaws who murdered his brother, revenge is his only desire. But when he stumbles upon Tom Baskin, a youngster who has been duped into helping the outlaws and then left behind, Lute reluctantly takes the boy under his wing–and begins to find his humanity again.

United in a common cause, the pair travel a dangerous trail in search of revenge and redemption. But when Serene McCullough, the widow Donnelly loves, begs him to help her son move the cattle herd gathered by cash-strapped Mormons as their church tithe, he can’t refuse her.

When the cutthroat gang kidnaps Serene to bargain for The Tithing Herd, Lute and Tom find themselves pitted against insurmountable odds–with unexpected help coming from an old friend.

Lute’s desire for vengeance is trumped by his desperation to save the woman he loves at all costs–if he can live long enough to do it…

Bio: A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth is the author of 15 novels and a non-fiction regional history. Since retiring, he has served as librarian of his county historical society where he assists patrons with genealogy and research. He lives and writes in a house built by a man who rode with Buffalo Bill Cody. His short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society, where he served a term as vice president. You are invited to visit his website at:


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