The most renowned American authors in Western fiction are brought together in one bang 'em-up, shoot-it-out collection! Including titles by Louis L'Amour, Brian Garfield, Marcia Muller, Bill Pronzini, Thomas Thompson, John M. Cunningham, Chad Oliver, Donald Hamilton, Loren D. Estleman and Owen Wister.
"Not what I expected"
What do you do when murderers have killed your wife and destroyed your daughter? Until that awful moment Paul Benjamin was an ordinary man - but the unspeakable violence that shattered his life turned him into someone quite different. Someone destiny was shaping into a bizarre instrument of vengeance. This is the novel that spawned the classic movie starring Charles Bronson.
Since being forced into retirement by the CIA, Miles Kendig had tried everything in an effort to satisfy his hunger for excitement. But he could not recreate the ultimate conflict of life or death with no rules, the experience of pitting himself against the enemy with no holds barred. Despite his bitterness at being shelved by the CIA, Miles was still scrupulously American--so when he found himself tempted by an offer from the Russians, he realized the time had come for him to put up or give up.
Few bother to separate the myth of Colonel Hugh Cardiff from his real life. The nation knows him as a sharpshooter, buffalo hunter, moving pictures pioneer, and one-time proprietor of the greatest Wild West show the nation has ever seen. Some of the stories are true, some exaggerated, and some rank among the wildest of tall tales. But for a man who has lived like Colonel Cardiff, the facts trump the myth.
When rain falls on the mental hospital, Calvin Duggai knows it’s time to leave. Institutionalized after he abandoned five men to die in the Mojave Desert, he has spent years planning escape and revenge. For months he has tunneled through the asylum’s bathroom wall, waiting for a night when rain will cover his tracks.
Fred Mathieson was not an ordinary witness against the mob. He was never in the organization, and didn't testify against gangster Frank Pastor to save his own skin. Mathieson is a lawyer, and took the stand simply from a desire to do the right thing. His conscience destroyed his life, but he built a new one. Now his long-ago testimony is about to put him and his family in mortal danger. For nearly nine years, Mathieson has been safe in the Witness Security Program, working as an entertainment attorney in California. But Frank Pastor is a few days away from parole, and he has decided to take revenge.
Paul Benjamin was an ordinary New Yorker until a gang of drug addicts killed his wife and raped his daughter. When the police proved helpless, Benjamin bought a gun and found his own vengeance, methodically tracking the addicts and killing them one by one. Now he is in Chicago, and the cycle of violence is about to begin anew. On his first night in the city, he stumbles out of a bar in a bad part of town, pretending to be drunk. When two thugs set upon him, they find their quarry sober and armed. He kills them both, escaping before the police arrive.
Since the great upheaval of November 1917, Alex Denilov has known nothing but war. In the civil war that followed the Bolshevik Revolution, he fought for the old imperial order. When the Reds won out, he fled west, finding work in every war that followed. Now, in 1941, he trains paratroopers in the American Southwest, helping the US Army prepare for the coming war. But Uncle Sam has bigger plans for him.
In 1884, Teddy Roosevelt’s political career is dead in the water. A New York state assemblyman with eyes on national office, he finds his ambitions thwarted just months after his wife and infant daughter pass away. Frustrated by politics, he retires to the American West to ride, ranch, and hunt buffalo in the Dakota Badlands. Nobody tells him that the buffalo are gone. He arrives in Dakota a greenhorn, awkward in the saddle and unused to Western clothes. But his aristocratic charm, natural intelligence, and love of nature impress the hardened frontiersmen, forming a bond that lasts the rest of their lives.
At the end of the Cold War, a brutal murder in a Moscow alley forces two rival agents together in a mission to catch a serial killer - before it’s too late. Moscow is a bad place for an American to walk alone, particularly a woman as beautiful as Ann Harris. An economist in the American embassy, she thinks she knows the town. She thinks she is safe. She’s wrong. Colonel Dimitri Danilov is irritated that Harris had to die on his watch. The peculiarities of the murder promise an interesting case, but American involvement will make everything needlessly complicated.
By the time Carl Oakley gets to Soledad, the town is an empty shell. But the lawyer isn’t looking for the city; he wants to find Terry Conniston. A tire track proves that her sports car passed through not long ago, but Carl doubts Terry was driving. Likely it was Floyd Rymer behind the wheel. With his brother and two other drug-addled thugs, Floyd fronts a second-rate jazz combo whose chief accomplishment, up until now, was a string of steady gigs in fleabag venues up and down the West Coast.
During the Indian Wars, Boag and Wilstach rode with the Tenth Cavalry, the most feared outfit ever to gallop over the American plains. But now that things are relatively peaceful, the two soldiers wander the land, cloaking their once-spotless uniforms with dust. To be men again requires money, and they have no skills but riding, shooting, and waving sabers. Luckily, those are just the kind of men that Jed Pickett needs.
Zach Provo saw the dawn of the twentieth century from inside the walls of Yuma’s prison. After twenty-eight years on an Arizona chain gang, Provo seizes an opportunity to escape. He smashes one guard’s face with a rock, takes his shotgun, and blows the other guard away. Soon the twenty-eight men of the chain gang are on the loose.
Twenty-five million people died during the Russian Civil War. It was a clash between Tsarist loyalists and the new Soviet order, and when the imperialist forces saw defeat in sight, their thoughts turned to their future. Under the command of Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak, they loaded the entire Tsarist treasury onto a train, packing millions of worthless banknotes alongside platinum, jewels, and over 500 tons of gold bullion. As Kolchak retreated, the train disappeared, and the fortune vanished.
Her name is Jennifer Hartman, or perhaps Dorothy Holder. She has birth certificates that say both. She got the names from old obituary files, and then went to the county clerk to ask for new copies. Her real name doesn't matter, because her former life is gone. Since she went on the run, she has surprised herself with her ingenuity. She makes her way to Los Angeles and takes a room in an unassuming, out-of-the-way motel. She destroys her credit cards but keeps her old driver's license - she has one last use for it.
Although best known as an author of westerns and espionage fiction, Brian Garfield is at heart an observer of human behavior. While traveling, he sometimes writes short fiction, usually setting the story in whatever city or country he just left. The eight stories in this slim volume are fine examples of Garfield’s keen eye. Mostly tales of crime and criminals, they star men like Deke Allen, a long-haired building contractor arrested after a rat-shoot for driving with his father’s shotgun on the seat. There are women like Vicky, a desperate con artist who engineers one of history’s most outlandish scams.
Were it not for the copper mine, San Miguel wouldn’t exist. A hardscrabble town hewn out of the Arizona desert, it’s long on sand and short on excitement. For fun its citizens go to Las Vegas twice a month, just after picking up their paychecks. Because most of the miners take their pay in cash, every two weeks more than a million dollars moves through San Miguel’s little bank, watched over by heavy security from the sheriff’s department. This week, the security is not strong enough.
A Soviet spymaster launches an audacious plan against the American militaryThe KGB calls it Amergrad. Buried deep in Siberia, just a few hundred miles from the Chinese border, it’s the most tightly guarded secret in the Soviet Union. Away from the frigid tundra, behind wall after wall of barbed-wire fence, is a perfectly ordinary small American city. It has gas stations, diners, movie theaters, and more cars than all of Leningrad. The residents speak English at all times, observing every custom of American life until it becomes second nature. When they graduate, they move to Tucson.
Joe Threepersons is a killer, but that doesn’t bother most of the people on the Apache reservation. After all, killing a white man is not an unforgiveable crime. Sam Watchman, on the other hand, is paid to care. Though a proud Navajo, he’s also a state trooper, so tracking killers is his business. The sheriff sent him because of his familiarity with the reservation, but no man knows this territory like Threepersons. The killer has a rifle, a stolen horse, and thousands of friends willing to give him sanctuary.
The Sonorans hire Henry Crabb to protect them from Apaches. In the lawless days that followed the Mexican-American War, bands of Indians roamed the countryside, preying on the hard-working peasants of northern Mexico. Desperate for help, a farming community offers Crabb land to establish a colony in exchange for a year’s protection from the marauders. The Sonorans do not recognize that Crabb—a Californian with frustrated political ambition—is the greatest threat of all.