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The six-time Spur Award-winning author of more than 30 novels now offers a story of betrayal and murder set in the American West of the 1880s. When 12-year-old Joey Shipman's beloved father dies under mysterious circumstances, he is forced to go and live with his stepmother Dulcie and her slick-talking, ingratiating live-in "cousin." 256 pp. Print ads. 50,000 print.
When Joey Shipman's father dies after a suspicious accident, leaving his farm to his 12-year-old child and thereby lighting the fuse of the boy's already mean-tempered stepmother, it's only a matter of time before the fireworks begin. Sure enough, Joey's last protector, the old family handyman, is found dead in his bunk; knowing that he's next on the list, Joey takes the first opportunity to run away, heading west to find his cousin Beau, a man he barely remembers but who is his only known kin. Beau proves to be a dedicated drunk, spending as much time in the county jail as in his own tumbledown shack. Taking reluctant responsibility for his orphaned cousin, Beau is only too happy to hand him over when Joey's new stepfather comes to take the runaway home. But when the man tries to drown the boy, Beau intervenes and, after a desperate struggle, the would-be killer is himself apparently killed. Running from the deed, the cousins fall in with a feared outlaw, who turns out to have a son Joey's age. The outlaw takes them to a hole-in- the-wall hideout, but bad blood between bandits soon has them on the run again, this time with a young ex-prostitute who was the cause of the ruckus. They join up with an old sheepherder taking his flock home for the winter, but ultimately Joey and Beau turn back toward home, determined to face the consequences of what they've done.
Adventure aplenty, and no lack of trademark historical detail, but plot and characters are a tad formulaic here, making this a less engrossing yarn than its predecessors.
"One of those rare, rare books that will find fans of all ages."—El Paso Herald-Post
"One of the best of a new breed of Western writers who have driven the genre into new territroy."—The New York Times
Excerpted from Cloudy in the West by Kelton, Elmer Copyright © 1999 by Kelton, Elmer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted July 25, 2013
SILVERPAWS POV///////////////////// <br>
Silverpaw gasped in shock. She ran for the nursery. Kindheart and Clawstrike along with Daisywind and Yellowheart were going down under the huge pack of dogs. Vinepaw and Fogpaw were already running towards them with Blossompaw and Adderclaw close behind. Silverpaw ran after them. Just then the dogs broke through into the nursery. "No!" Silverpaw yowled and ran inside. Kits were screaming and poor Sorrelwing was being attacked and all she could do was protect her kits. Silverpaw ran for the one ontop of Sorrelwing. She jumped ontop, Adderclaw on another. Fogpaw jumped up on the same as Silverpaw and clung on helplessly as the dog whipped him around. Silverpaw reached her paw down. Fogpaw clung on to it and Silverpaw pulled him up. "Thanks." He said breathlessly. "No time for chat now!" Silverpaw replied, and sunk her claws into the dogs pelt. It barked loudly and ran away from Sorrelwing into the main camp. Silverpaw and Fogpaw worked together to take down the dog, with help from Oceanfoot. The dog ran out of camp whining in pain. Most of the dogs had been led out to the main camp by then. Mapleleaf and Vinepaw were driving one out with hisses and occasional snaps at the dogs tails. The rest of the clan did the same. When the dogs were gone Everpaw ran around checking for injuries. Sorrelwing had been mauled by the dogs. When Silverpaw saw her she gasped. Just like the legend of Brightheart! She thought. Clawstrike had been killed and Kindheart was blaming Daisywind for his death. Finchstar and Dandilionstar didnt have a scratch. Silverpaw noticed with a shock. They werent even seen in battle! She thought. \\\\\\\\\\\\\MINTPAWS POV///////////// <br>
Mintpaw was a bit bothered by Flax and Rye, what did they know about the clans? They were loners and had no idea what Starclan was! Most of the time they sat in camp and demanded that Mintpaw and Ashpaw hunted for some food. Then they ate it all! And they took Finchstars den from them. And they decided to call Newclan Grainclan! They insisted on naming Ashpaw Wheat and Mintpaw Hay. They said nocat could have the name Barley. They said they knew him once! Mintpaw was seething with anger. Ashpaw didnt speak up in fear that she would get hit again. One day, there was a fox attack. Flax and Rye hid in Finchstars den and left Mintpaw and Ashpaw to fight to the death. For them! Mintpaw and Ashpaw ran away, with the knowledge that foxes could climb up to the highledge.
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