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Seven stories and a novella from a master author of the American WestDolores and her mother have not seen Dolores's daddy for five days. Dolores--whom daddy calls Sugargirl--leaps to greet him when she hears his heavy steps on the front porch. Daddy is drunk, battered, and smells of cheap perfume; his return is cut short when Momma chases him out of the house with a hot iron. A few years later, when Momma is dead and Daddy is serving a thirty-to-life stint in the state penitentiary, Dolores gets a letter addressed to Sugargirl. She is sixteen, on her own, and life will not get easier from here. This novella and the seven accompanying stories represent the finest short fiction of celebrated western author James Carlos Blake. These tales span centuries and continents, but the characters share a common trait: They are citizens of the borderlands, from whence death is the only escape.
A page-turning epic about the making of a borderland crime family, Country of the Bad Wolfes will appeal both to aficionados of family sagas and to fans of hard-knuckled crime novels by the likes of Donald Pollack, Elmore Leonard, James Lee Burke and James Ellroy. Basing the novel partly on his own ancestors, Blake presents the story of the Wolfe family - spanning three generations, centering on two sets of identical twins and the women they love, and ranging from New England to the heart of Mexico before arriving at its powerful climax at the Rio Grande. Begat by an Irish-English pirate in New Hampshire in 1828, the Wolfe family follows its manifest destiny into war-torn Mexico. There, through the connection of a mysterious American named Edward Little, their fortunes intertwine with those of Porfirio Díaz, who will rule the country for more than thirty years before his overthrow by the Revolution of 1910. In the course of those tumultuous chapters in American and Mexican history, as Díaz grows in power, the Wolfes grow rich and forge a violent history of their own, spawning a fearsome legacy that will pursue them to a climactic reckoning at the Río Grande.
With "In The Rogue Blood", James Carlos Blake reinvents the American historical novel. His writing talent and execution of detail make reading this novel a cinematic experience. By imagining Cormac McCarthy's interpretation of Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, one would have the grand scope of Blake's canvas. Set in the world that was the American West, this is the story of the ties of family and the outside forces and circumstances that tear brother from brother. Fleeing a shattered family, two young brothers set out into the land of Texas. In 1845 Edward Little leaves behind in Pensacola a murdered sister and an alcoholic father. Journeying through New Orleans into the Mexican bordertowns of eastern Texas, Edward and his brother John discover that not everyone places the same value upon human life. When the brothers join opposing armies, they find that even the ties of brotherhood cannot span across the Rio Grande during the raging Mexican-American War. This novel is at once a masterful tale of the West that once was and a view of the families that attempted to overcome the vast wilderness that became America. Blake has created a portrait of the American West as it once appeared -- beautiful, barren and deadly.
A stunning snapshot of the life of one of Texas's most notorious outlawsFor his forty-two years on this earth, John Wesley Hardin's name was synonymous with outlaw. A killer at fifteen, in the next few years he became skilled enough with his pistols to back down Wild Bill Hickok in the street. By the time the law caught up with Hardin when he was twenty-five, he had killed as many as forty men and been shot so many times that, it was said, he carried a pound of lead in his flesh. In jail he became a scholar, studying law books until he won himself freedom, and afterwards he tried to lead an upright life. It was not to be. By the time he was killed in 1895, Hardin was an anachronism--the last true gunfighter of the Old West. In this volume, western master James Carlos Blake retells Hardin's life, exposing the many different sides of the man who became a legend.
James Carlos Blake is a masterful chronicler of the restless, outcast, the lawless, and the lonelyheart. His previous novel, In the Rogue Blood, was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. Now he has written a powerful and rousing historical saga of family loyalties, blood feuds, and betrayed friendships; of bank robberies and bootlegging; and of a passionate love as wild at heart as the Everglades. It is the story of sworn enemies: John Ashley, a criminal and folk hero, the brightest star in a family destined to become the most notorious in south Florida; and Bobby Baker, a lawman born of lawmen, a violent, hard-hearted man driven by the searing memory of past affronts and the enduring hatreds the engendered. Ashley and Maker will clash many times over many decades. And as the twentieth century encroaches on their world-and the wildlands give grudging way to the rising boomtown of Miami-a feral, sensual mating will place one man in gravest peril...while his adversary contrives a dark, personal vengeance that could leave countless lives-his own included-in ruin.
James Rudolph Youngblood, aka Jimmy the Kid, is an enforcer, a "ghost rider" for the Maceo brothers, Rosario and Sam, rulers of "the Free State of Galveston," who are prospering through illicit pleasures in the midst of the Great Depression. Raised on an isolated West Texas ranch that he was forced to flee at age eighteen following the violent breakup of his foster family, Jimmy has found a home and a profession in Galveston -- and a mentor in Rose Maceo. Looming over Jimmy's story like an ancient curse is the specter of his fearsome father. Their ties of blood, evident since Jimmy's boyhood, have been drawn tighter over time. Then a strange and beautiful girl enters his life and a swift and terrifying sequence of events is set in motion. Jimmy must cross the border and go deep into the brutal and merciless country of his ancestors -- where the story's harrowing climax closes a circle of destiny many years in the making.
From the raw clay of historical fact, James Carlos Blake has sculpted a powerful novel of both a man and an America at war with themselves. Here is the brutally honest story of free-spirit William Anderson, who is pulled into a savage conflict of state against state in the years leading up to the Civil War. When Bill suffers a catastrophic loss, a fury is unleashed in his anguished soul. He becomes the most fearsome guerrilla captain and earns a name that becomes whispered with reverence and terror: "Bloody Bill."
In 1928 New Orleans, eighteen-year-old Sonny LaSalle is a top prep student and champion amateur boxer -- and he venerates his fraternal twin uncles, Buck and Russell, armed robbers who love their profession. Sonny secretly believes that he, too, is a natural outlaw and persuades his uncles to take him on as a partner. But when a bank job goes bad, Sonny is sent to jail, where he unintentionally kills a policeman who is the son of the most feared lawman in Louisiana, widely known as "John Bones." After nine months in the infamous Angola penitentiary, Sonny makes a harrowing escape and manages to reunite with Buck and Russell. The carefree trio head out for the boomtowns of west Texas, where the money flows as freely as the oil, unaware that vengeance follows close behind, as the cool, calculating John Bones begins a relentless campaign to hunt down Sonny ... no matter what.
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