printed copy

Thunder Of Eagles #13

J.A. Johnstone, William W. Johnstone

ISBN 9780786028474
Publish Date 11/6/2012
Format Paperback
Categories Western, Pinnacle, Eagles, Johnstone Series

The Greatest Western Writer Of The 21st Century

USA Today bestselling novelists William W. Johnstone and J.A. Johnstone unleash the saga of Falcon MacCallister—wanderer, lawman, heir to a Western family that raised him on courage, vigilance, and gunsmoke.

Fast Track To The Gallows

Higbee, Colorado, population 147, is about to become a boomtown. The visionary General Wade Garrison is building a railroad to connect Higbee to the renowned Santa Fe Rail. But a rancher named Ike Clinton has his own selfish reasons for making sure these bands of steel go nowhere—and he’ll go to any lengths to derail Garrison’s plans.

Falcon MacCallister owes a war-time debt to the General, and answers the call to aid the man in his fight with the Clinton brood. Before the last gunsmoke clears, Falcon will come face to face with the Clintons’ hired gunman, an outlaw known as the fastest gun in the West: Jefferson Tyree.

Falcon knows that the fastest way to the end of a tragedy is straight through the blood and tears—behind the light of a blazing gun...

Chapter One

Jefferson Tyree lay on top of a flat rock, looking back along the trail over which they had just come. He saw the single rider unerringly following them.

“Is he still there?” Luke Bacca asked.

“Yeah, he’s still there,” Tyree answered. Tyree was a short man, lean as rawhide, with a thin face and a hawklike nose.

Jefferson Tyree and Luke and John Bacca were on the run. Just over a week earlier, they had raided a ranch just outside MacCallister, Colorado. Waiting outside the house until sunup, they surprised the Poindexters at breakfast, killing Sam Poindexter and his sixteen-year-old-son, Mort. They also raped, then killed Poindexter’s wife, Edna.

They took particular pleasure in raping Poindexter’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Cindy, leaving her alive, though not through any act of compassion. They stabbed her, then rode off, leaving her lying in a pool of her own blood, thinking that she was dead.

Before they left the Poindexter ranch, they stole fifty head of prime beef and moved them up to the railhead at Platte Summit, where the cattle were sold at thirty dollars a head for shipment back East.

“Who’d you say that fella was that’s trailin’ us?” Luke asked.

“His name is MacCallister. Falcon MacCallister,” Tyree said.

“Damn!” John Bacca said, his face showing his fright. “Are you sure it’s Falcon MacCallister?”

Tyree got up from the rock, knocked the dust off his pants leg, then worked up a spit before he answered. “Yeah,” he said. “I’m sure.”

“Son of a bitch! Why did he get involved?”

“Who is Falcon MacCallister?” Luke asked.

“You mean you ain’t never heard of him?” John asked.

“No.”

“Well, that’s ’cause you been in prison for the last ten years. But he’s—”

“Nobody,” Tyree interrupted. “He ain’t nobody.”

“The hell he ain’t nobody. They write books about him, is all,” John Bacca replied. “I don’t think they’d be writin’ books about nobody.”

“They ain’t real books,” Tyree said. “They’re dime novels. Hell, they make near ’bout all that stuff up.”

“You ain’t never had one wrote about you, have you?” John challenged.

“What are you, some kind of idiot?” Tyree challenged. “Why the hell would I want books wrote about me? I ain’t exactly in the kind of business where it’s good to have ever’body know who you are.”

Luke pointed back down the trail. “This here MacCallister may be nobody, but I’ll say this for the son of a bitch. Once he gets his teeth into you, he don’t give up. We’ve tried ever’ trick in the book to shake him off our tail and he’s still there.”

Jefferson Tyree knew who Falcon MacCallister was, but what he did not realize was that the Poindexters had lived very close to Falcon MacCallister’s ranch, which meant that Falcon had considered them friends as well as neighbors. And though Falcon was not a lawman, nor a bounty hunter, he’d taken a personal interest in this case. Having himself deputized, he’d made it his personal mission to track down the perpetrators.

“So, what are we goin’ to do about that son of a bitch? We can’t shake him off,” John Bacca growled.

“We’re goin’ to kill ’im,” Tyree said.

“All right. How are we goin’ to do that?”

Tyree looked around. “We’re goin’ to ambush him,” he said. He pointed to a draw that cut through the mountain range. “Let’s go up through this draw. It’s got two or three good places in there where we can hide. All we got to do is let him follow us in there, then ambush him.”

“What if he don’t come in?” John asked.

“He’s after us, ain’t he? He has to come in, or figure we went on out the other side.”

“Tyree’s right,” Luke said. “Seems to me like the thing to do is just kill this MacCallister fella and get it over with.”

“He ain’t goin’ to be that easy to kill,” John protested.

“You think if we shoot him, the bullets will just bounce off of him?” Tyree asked.

“Well, no, but—”

“No, but nothin’,” Tyree said, interrupting John. “Come on, I know a perfect spot.”

The man called Falcon MacCallister stopped at the mouth of the canyon to take a drink from his canteen as he studied the terrain. Falcon had a weathered face and hair the color of dried oak. But it was his eyes that people noticed. Deeply lined from hard years, they opened onto a soul that was stoked by experiences that would fill the lifetimes of three men.

Falcon MacCallister had been here before, and he knew this would be a perfect spot to set up an ambush. The question was, had the outlaws done that, or had they gone on through?

Pulling his long gun out of the saddle holster, Falcon started walking into the canyon, leading his horse. The horse’s hooves fell sharply on the stone floor and echoed loudly back from the canyon walls. The canyon made a forty-five-degree turn to the left just in front of him, so he stopped. Right before he got to the turn, he slapped his horse on the rump and sent it on through.

The canyon exploded with the sound of gunfire as the outlaws opened up on what they thought would be their pursuer. Instead, their bullets whizzed harmlessly over the empty saddle of the riderless horse, raised sparks as they hit the rocky ground, then sped off into empty space, echoing and reechoing in a cacophony of whines and shrieks.

Falcon chuckled. “I guess that answers my question,” he said aloud.

From his position just around the corner from the turn, Falcon located two of his ambushers. They were about a third of the way up the north wall of the canyon, squeezed in between the wall itself and a rock outcropping that provided them with a natural cover. Or, so they thought.

The firing stopped and, after a few seconds of dying echoes, the canyon grew silent.

“Tyree, do you see him? Where the hell is he?” one of the ambushers yelled, and Falcon could hear the last two words repeated in echo down through the canyon. “. . . is he, is he, is he?”

Falcon studied the rock face of the wall just behind the spot where he had located two of them; then he began firing. His rifle boomed loudly, the thunder of the detonating cartridges picking up resonance through the canyon and doubling and redoubling in intensity. Falcon wasn’t even trying to aim at the two men, but was instead taking advantage of the position in which they had placed themselves. He fired several rounds, knowing that the bullets were splattering against the rock wall behind the two men, fragmenting into whizzing, flying missiles. It had the effect that he wanted, because the two men who had thought they had the perfect cover were exposed. Yelling and cursing, they began firing back at Falcon.

It took but two more shots from Falcon to silence both of them.

For a long moment, the canyon was in silence.

“Luke, John?” Tyree called.

“They’re dead, Tyree,” Falcon replied. “Both of them.”

Tyree’s voice had come from the other side of the narrow draw, halfway up on the opposite wall.

“How do you know they’re dead?”

“Because I killed them,” Falcon said. “Just like I aim to kill you.”

About J.A. Johnstone:

Being the all around assistant, typist, researcher, and fact checker to one of the most popular western authors of all time, J.A. Johnstone learned from the master, Uncle William W. Johnstone.

Bill, as he preferred to be called, began tutoring J.A. at an early age. After-school hours were often spent retyping manuscripts or researching his massive American Western History library as well as the more modern wars and conflicts. J.A. worked hard—and learned.

“Every day with Bill was an adventure story in itself. Bill taught me all he could about the art of storytelling and creating believable characters. ‘Keep the historical facts accurate,’ he would say. ‘Remember the readers, and as your grandfather once told me, I am telling you now: be the best J.A. Johnstone you can be.’”


About William W. Johnstone:

Just to give you a brief rundown on who William W. Johnstone is, here are the basic facts. He was born in Southern Missouri, the youngest of four kids. His father was a minister and his mother was a schoolteacher.

He quit school when he was fifteen and joined a carnival after getting kicked out of the FFL (for being underage), but he went back and finished high school in 1957. After that he worked as a deputy sheriff, did a hitch in the army, came back and went into radio broadcasting, where he worked for sixteen years.

Johnstone started writing in 1970, but he didn't get published until late 1979. He has written almost a hundred books including the best-selling Ashes series and the Mountain Man series. He began writing full-time in the early 1980s and hasn't stopped since. His first published book was THE DEVIL'S KISS and his favorite, so far, is THE LAST OF THE DOG TEAM.


Ashes
Blood Bond
Code Name
Dog Team
Eagles
Family Jensen
First Mountain Man
Last Gunfighter
Last Mountain Man
Loner
Luke Jensen, Bounty Hunter
MacCallister
Matt Jensen
Phoenix Rising
Savage Texas
Sidewinders
Town Called Fury
Trail West


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