Authors: Frederick H. Christian
Tags: #texas, #old west, #western fiction, #zane grey, #louis lamour, #william w johnstone, #ben bridges, #mike stotter, #piccadilly publishing, #max brand, #neil hunter, #hank j kirby, #james w marvin, #frederick h christian, #the wild west, #frank angel
Reissuing classic series fiction from the 1970s, 80s, 90s and
deadly and merciless were the raiders who hit the Kansas ranch and
when they rode out they left behind two men dead and a woman who
wouldn’t make it through the night. With a stolen Army payroll in
their saddlebags they ran for the border and although they covered
their back-trail well, someone was on it. He was a man with a gun,
determined to hunt every one of them down. His name was Angel and
the name of his game was sudden death.
the Justice Department put their best man into the field with one
simple instruction. Before he kills every one of them – find
Frederick Nolan 1973,
image © 2012 by Westworld Designs
is a Piccadilly Publishing Book
Published by Piccadilly Publishing at Smashwords: July
characters and incidents in this book are fictional, and any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons
living or dead is purely coincidental.
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Published by Arrangement with the Author.
Record Group 60 of the National Archives in Washington DC there is
abundant documentary evidence to the effect that for a number of
years the United States Department of Justice employed a Special
Investigator named Frank Angel, who was directly responsible to the
Attorney-General of the United States. There is no record that the
events portrayed in this book took place, or that Frank Angel took
part in them. Equally, there is no record that he did
were seven of them.
days earlier they had ambushed a paymaster’s wagon on its way to
Fort Riley, killing the four troopers riding escort and a civilian
teamster, a Swede named Soderstrom. Then they headed out hard and
fast across the flat empty Kansas plain, quartering south and west,
keeping away from the settlements and the Army posts where the
telegraph would have already chattered with the news of the
robbery, moving steadily towards the Colorado border.
they crested a bluff about ten miles beyond Fort Dodge, skirting
along its northern side down into a broad valley. Below them they
could see smoke rising from the chimney of a ranch standing shaded
in a grove of stunted cottonwoods. In the sturdily-built corrals,
horses stood hip-shot in the flat morning sun.
many miles to the border?’ the leader said.
Bout forty miles to the Cimarron,’ someone
need fresh horses,’ the leader said.
seven men moved down the side of the valley and came up to the
ranch. They were shaggy and unkempt after three days’ hard riding,
and the horses were just about finished.
came out of the house and stood in the yard, shading his eyes
against the sunlight with his hand. He looked to be about thirty,
but you couldn’t tell in this country.
Howdy, all,’ he said as the riders bunched up before him in
boys look like you come a far piece.’
we have,’ said the leader of the riders. As he dismounted it became
clear that his huge shoulders, thick neck and barrel chest were
oddly out of proportion with the rest of his body, for he was a
short man who walked with an almost nautical roll. He slapped the
dust from his clothes with his Stetson and extended a
Cravetts is my name,’ he said. He had a good smile. ‘Me an’
the boys here are on our way back to Farmington in New Mex. just
delivered us a herd in Sedalia and happy to be done with her. Can’t
get back to the little woman fast enough.’
how you feel,’ the rancher said. ‘Glad to know you, Cravetts. My
name’s John Gibbons. Run this place with m’wife, couple o’
spread,’ nodded Cravetts. ‘You run many head?’
hundred,’ Gibbons replied. ‘Mostly it’s horses. We got a good deal
goin’ with the sojer boys, over at Dodge an’ Larned. Take all the
animals we can give ’em.’
Cravetts exchanged a glance with his men, who had dismounted
too and were standing in almost posed indolence in a half circle
many horses you got here now?’ he asked.
Twenty, mebbe,’ Gibbons said. ‘But listen; let’s get in out
of this sun. I guess you men wouldn’t say no to some
That’s raht frien’ly o’ you, mister,’ said one of the men, a
tall tow—haired fellow of maybe twenty-three or -four. ‘We`d sure
boys can take your coffee out here,’ Cravetts said. ‘We’re
travelling pretty light, Mr. Gibbons, an’ as fast as we can. Don’t
want the boys dirtying up your missus’ house.’
that moment, Mrs. Gibbons came to the door, a clutch of tin cups
and a coffeepot in her hands. Cravetts hastened to help her, and
she smiled her thanks. She was a young woman, her blonde hair tied
back with a piece of checkered gingham, and there were dimples in
gentlemen come on up here and get your coffee,’ she said, and
nodded to each one as Cravetts introduced them.
Monsher,’ he said, as the tow-haired youngster with the Southern
accent took his cup. ‘Howie Kamins, Frank Torelli, Johnnie Vister,
Milt Sharp, and Denny Juba.’
boys are some ways off the main trail,’ Gibbons
Monsher’s head came up at the words, but a glance from
Cravetts stilled the movement, and the wary look in Monsher’s eyes
was hooded quickly.
We’re carrying a fair piece of money, Mr. Gibbons,’ Cravetts
said. ‘I figured it was best to stay off the beaten path a
might be right at that,’ Gibbons said. He sipped his coffee and his
eyes touched the grouped men squatting drinking. Cravetts marked
how the rancher ticked off the fact that all of the men were
heavily armed, and he could see Gibbons trying to frame a question
that would satisfy his curiosity without appearing rude or
run this place with just two hands,’ he said. ‘Must keep you pretty
has its moments,’ Gibbons said.
boys around?’ Cravetts asked.
is in the barn,’ Gibbons said. ‘Frank — ’ His eyes
Cravetts saw it and knew that in that moment Gibbons had put
together all the questions he had asked and come up with the reason
for them and without another thought Cravetts shot the rancher
through the heart.
rancher reeled backwards, his chest smashed in by the heavy caliber
bullet, his shirt shouldering. Mrs. Gibbons screamed, whirling
around so that the coffee spewed from the pot in a steaming tan
arc, and her scream was still hanging in the air as a youngster
came out of the barn, running with his head up and a cocked six-gun
in his hand. Cravetts’ men were on their feet now and three of them
fired almost simultaneously, the bullets whipping the boy off his
feet and smashing him into the dirt of the yard, scattering the
chickens foraging there.
Check it out!’ snapped Cravetts, gesturing towards the house,
and Monsher and two of the others ran inside, guns drawn, as
Torelli and Vister grappled with Mrs. Gibbons, who was trying to
get at Cravetts, incomprehensible stutterings of outrage and agony
bursting from her mouth, streaming tears reddening her empty
her up!’ Cravetts told his men and turned as the tow-haired Monsher
came out of the house shaking his head.
Where’s the other man?’ Cravetts said, turning to the woman,
across whose mouth Torelli had clamped a grimy fist. She shook her
head. Cravetts drew back his hand and hit her across the face with
his open palm, flat and hard and mercilessly. Mrs. Gibbons’ head
rocked to one side and a cruel red welt flamed on her
Talk, damn you!’ snarled the raider.
not here,’ the woman sobbed. ‘Not here.’
went over to the Fort,’ she managed. Then her head came up and the
fire came back into her eyes. ‘You’ll hang for this!’ she
That’ll be the day,’ Cravetts said. ‘Denny! Milt! Get them
horses saddled up. Come on, come on, we don’t have all
of the raiders were out in the corral, throwing bridles over the
heads of the milling horses. Cravetts turned to Torelli.
her loose,’ he said. ‘Let her look after her man.’
Torelli nodded and released his hold on Mrs. Gibbons and
Vister followed suit. Without a second’s hesitation the woman went
straight for Cravetts’ eyes with her hands, her whole body arched
with the pent fury of her hatred. Her nails raked a set of tracks
down the man’s face that went quickly red with bright blood, and
Cravetts stood rigid for a moment in utter, astonished rage. Then
with a growl that started somewhere deep inside him he grabbed the
woman by the arms and threw her away from him. The bodice of her
dress tore away in his hands as she went backwards and she fell on
her back, her exposed breasts and body startlingly white in the
bright sunlight. Cravetts stood for a moment above her, the bright
blood staining his collar, his eyes wide with a sudden
then he fell upon her.
Angel saw the smoke from a long way off.
put the spurs to his horse and came over the crest of the bluff
going at a flat gallop, heading down towards the burning ranch. He
swung off the horse and ran towards the house, shying back from the
crackling flames that blasted tangible heat at him.