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Authors: Michael McGarrity

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Genre Fiction, #Family Saga, #Historical, #Westerns, #United States, #Sagas, #Historical Fiction

Hard Country

 

 

Hard Country
McGarrity, Michael
Penguin Group (2012)

After his wife dies in childbirth and his brother is killed on the West Texas plains, John Kerney must give up his ranch and go hunt for the killers—and a place where he and his newborn son can start over. Along the way, he’s offered work on a cattle drive heading to New Mexico Territory that changes everything. A plain-spoken novel that will appeal to readers interested in historical fiction and fiction about the American West.

HARD COUNTRY

 

ALSO BY MICHAEL MCGARRITY

 

Tularosa

Mexican Hat

Serpent Gate

Hermit’s Peak

The Judas Judge

Under the Color of the Law

The Big Gamble

Everyone Dies

Slow Kill

Nothing But Trouble

Death Song

Dead or Alive

HARD
COUNTRY

 

A NOVEL

M
ICHAEL
M
C
G
ARRITY

 

Dutton

DUTTON

Published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.); Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL,
England; Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books
Ltd); Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd); Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community
Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India; Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive,
Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd); Penguin Books
(South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Published by Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First printing, May 2012

1   3   5   7   9   10   8   6   4   2

Copyright © 2012 by Michael McGarrity

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA

McGarrity, Michael.

Hard country: a novel / Michael McGarrity.

p. cm.

ISBN: 978-1-101-58551-1

1. Western stories. I. Title.

PS3563.C36359H37 2012

813′.54—dc23

2011041881

Printed in the United States of America

Set in ITC New Baskerville Std.

Designed by Leonard Telesca

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously; and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

ALWAYS LEARNING

PEARSON

For Mimi

Table of Contents

 

One: John Kerney

 

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18

Two: Patrick Kerney

 

19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47

Three: Emma Kerney

 

48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70

Author’s Note

 

About the Author

 

1

 

M
ary Alice Kerney spent the late afternoon hours of a dry September day cleaning the one-room cabin her husband, John, had built upon their arrival in West Texas. They had settled on the land soon after the U.S. Army had defeated the Indians in the Red River War and the buffalo herds that once roamed the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation had been mostly wiped out.

It wasn’t much of a place: half cabin, half dugout, with a low ceiling, a sod roof, a hard-packed dirt floor, and no windows—just slat openings on both sides of the door wide enough to aim a long gun through. The only sunshine that penetrated the cabin came when the door was open during warm daylight hours. Even then, without the kerosene lamp lit and a fire going in the fireplace, the light inside was always dim. It felt more like a dungeon than a home.

Keeping it clean took hours out of her day. Dust from the packed-earth floor, wind-blown sand from the West Texas plains, dirt that seeped down from the sod roof, and fireplace soot coated every crack and cranny. She dusted constantly; otherwise an inch of grit covered everything within hours. She hated the dirt, the dust, and the never-ending wind.

She had little furniture in the cabin. A rough plank table with four stools sat in front of the squat stone fireplace. Opposite the fireplace against the sloped wall stood a sturdy cupboard traded to her husband by a family traveling west. It protected her foodstuffs from the mice and rats that found their way inside the cabin no matter how many tiny holes in the walls she plugged with mud. That cupboard was one of the few things in her life that made her work easier, and she was grateful to have it.

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