Amid the magnificent desolation of the American Southwest ran a river of hope, bringing life to the desert, and pioneers to a forbidding land. They gathered on the banks of the Purgatory...wandering souls on the run from the past...or in search of the future: Hernan Eduardo and his sister Elena, posing as husband and wife to hide her shame; Aaron, who has fled from danger his whole life, and who has to summon the courage to stand up for his rights; and Talks To Ghosts, a native on a vision quest.
Cowboy had been drifting ever since he left his home in Yellow House Creek, Texas, moving from ranch to ranch, following the work for nigh on 15 years. He had saved the pay he sweated so hard for. He looked into the Triple X Ranch, the one they called the Whiskey Brand. It was a bargain...or so it seemed.
Tenderfoot Harrison Wilke wondered about the three men: heavily armed, avoiding the town, carrying gold coin in their saddlebags. Alert. Surly. Arrogant. Robbers, Harrison concluded; they must have robbed a bank or a train.
Harrison Wilke is thoroughly sick of Redbluff, Kansas. The town is a boring dead end, filled with unlettered roughnecks. His uncle Stewart - from whom he stands to inherit the Running W Ranch - can't stand him. Harrison doesn't even have enough money to get to the big city, where he belongs. There are a few bright spots.
Out on the frontier, there are two kinds of men. There's the kind who's tough with a gun in his hand, who preys on anyone or anything weaker than himself. And then there's the kind like Stillwater Smith. Long and lean, Stillwater's a grizzled Civil War veteran. He doesn't take easily to killing, but he's always ready to fight for what he believes in. And you can only push him so far, as Asa Wheeler, wealthy cattle rancher, is about to find out.
Charlie Roy and pale, skinny Sir Arthur, an English gentleman, arrive at the Crown B ranch, north of Cheyenne, which is owned by the sir's sister, Elizabeth, who was widowed just the past winter and left with a ranch that lost nearly all its beef stock from the brutal '86-'87 winter freeze. Additionally, Elizabeth's dead husband's former partner, Justin Harper, is hell-bent on taking over her ranch. But what Harper and his boys don't figure on is interference by the likes of Charlie and the fierceness of the Sir.
Arnie Rasmussen was big, with the general build of a young ox, and he may not have known much, but he knew one thing: He loved Katherine Mulraney. Sure, she was too good for him; she was beautiful and fine, and he was, well, just Arnie. Just as he was steeling his nerve to talk to her, she disappeared. Folks said she up and ran off with a fancy traveling man, but Arnie couldn't believe that. So he set off after her. But the Wyoming Territory was a mighty tough place, and Arnie had never been off his father's ranch.
Tenderfoot Harrison Wilke leaves Colorado and heads for Nevada. Harrison's oldest and best friend, John J. Trohoe, has died in a mysterious accident, and John J.'s will names Harrison sole inheritor of the estate. The estate is a disputed mine called the Amelia One, which hasn't yet proved profitable. But a group of California investors who claim they hold the title think it might be very profitable indeed.
He did his killing behind a badge. He lived for the sudden bloodshed, the booze, and the women who made him feel whole again. And whenever the law-abiding hypocrites closed in around him, he always managed to slip away. But Joe Potter couldn’t outrun the demons that were chasing him – not even on the wide-open Dakota range.
Nobody was stopping Leon Moses from settling on the spread he had bought with his pay from long, hard years with the 10th Cavalry - not the slick lawyer who cheated him on the sale, not the rustlers who ran off his stock, not the law that turned its back on him, not the neighboring ranchers who turned their guns on him, not the attacking Apaches who turned the sea of grass red with blood. Leon Moses was black and had to show a lot of folks that courage knew no color, and that they’d stop his bullets before they could stop him from taking what was rightfully his.
Billy Ray, self-taught itinerant preacher, former hardworking miner and Saturday night brawler, faces his own temptations in the wilderness of the Old West. Called to be pastor of a divided flock in a frontier town held in the grip of a lawless cattle baron, Billy tries to bring his parishioners together and repair the abandoned little church in the middle of town. Billy must win his place in a community that doesn't want any preacher changing things.
Meet Carl Heller, a maverick son of the modern West. Heller's a man you can turn to when your life's in danger - if you can get him off his butt. Born in the Colorado high country, he's a part-time rancher who savors a laid-back approach to living. But Heller's also a law school dropout with a head for justice that's as hard as the Rockies and with a mile-wide stubborn streak. So he hires out to hopeless cases, hurtling into action when some big guy is putting the squeeze on a little guy - or gal. Heller fights hard and plays harder.
The Keystone Kid had come all the way from Pennsylvania to be a cowboy, and stepped off the train dressed to the teeth in an atrocious freshly bought Western outfit. It was no surprise to anyone when he almost instantly became the butt of some unpleasant jokes in the local bar. What was surprising was that he made no attempt to fight back against the bully who had decided to make a show of it. He gained two things that day - his name, the "Keystone Kid," and his reputation as a coward.
Heller is caught up in a dangerous crossfire as he cozies up to the local "coyote," a slimeball that takes desperate Mexicans across the river in the dead of night for a heavy fee and then sets them up to be robbed, beaten, and even raped by bandidos. The frightened prey are powerless, nobody cares, except Heller, and that ole mountain boy knows more than one way to skin a coyote.
Heller's friend is looking forward to a million dollars - his prize quarter horse is the overwhelming favorite to win the Liquid Gold Futurity. But someone has other ideas, sinister ideas, and that's where Heller comes in. He agrees to protect the horse, for a fat fee and any willing woman. Heller is a novice at the track, but the mountain boy learns fast. And if the "accident" happens, he's ready to spring into action, even if it involves taking on organized crime in the state of New Mexico.
Popular demand for the Heller series has prompted the author to bring out the eight book, the final encore of Carl Heller. In this book, Carl Heller goes undercover as a big time investor in the Snow King Ski Resort. The Snow King is the brain child of Harold King a polished and elusive con man. Heller is called into the case by Kat Sullivan, the girlfriend of a missing salesman hired to sell memberships in the Snow King Resort. Heller learns the resort's terrible secret and nearly loses his life in a desperate gunfight in the mountain snow.
They were young, not so innocent, but certainly unprepared for being "turned out" into the sleazy hell of a no-limits porno playground in Reno. There, tender flesh commanded the highest buck, but a young life was cheap. When a "clean" brothel owner hired Heller to wipe out those preying on the unsuspecting under-age, Heller willingly sunk himself into the dark, slimy underground. Whores, drugs, blood-soaked profits, the whole girl-trade pipeline made Heller sick. Trying to shut it down could get him snuffed.
Heller was just a big boy from the high country and he was having a rough time understanding all the fuss over protecting the secret development of a hot, new video game. Heller soon learned it wasn't a fun game, it was deadly trouble. The game could pay off in a fabulous fortune for G&C Electronics in Colorado Springs high-tech gulch and somebody was racing to steal the program. They were willing to destroy the company and anyone who got in their way. It was Heller's job to turn the tables and do some destroying.
Somebody was stealing the most precious survival resource in the dry grass country: water. These were no ordinary thieves, however: these rain rustlers were taking the water right out of the skies with a secret cloud seeding operation that threatened to wipe out everybody in the San Luis Valley. At first Heller thought it was all a joke, until a club-wielding pachuco ambushed him, reduced his bike to scrap and left him bruised and bleeding. Heller comes back with a Smith and Wesson and a loving lady pilot....
Billy Ray works hard all week to play even harder on payday - Saturday night. Whiskey, women, gambling, and a good fistfight are all Billy Ray thinks a man needs. That is until a keen-eyed little man faces him down with something greater than his fists or his guns. In that moment Billy's life changes forever, and he wants to share his discovery. Only how can he explain what he himself doesn't entirely understand? Saddle up for the hard-knock ride Billy takes that changes his life - and the entire town.