The Legend of Deputy Jim: Prequel to The Last Enemy Series

The Legend of Deputy Jim: Prequel to The Last Enemy Series

by Dan E. Hendrickson
The Legend of Deputy Jim: Prequel to The Last Enemy Series

The Legend of Deputy Jim: Prequel to The Last Enemy Series

by Dan E. Hendrickson

Paperback(Paberback/Hardback ed.)

    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Thursday, October 5
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


Jim Edwards always thought he'd join the military when he graduated from high school. But then he snuck off and married his high school sweetheart the middle of their senior year and his wife Linda got pregnant right away. Jim did not want to leave his new family and get deployed halfway around the world, but he still wanted to serve his country. That’s when he decided to go into law enforcement. He talked to his dad about it and he reached out to and old friend for his son. Sheriff George Manning of Sheridan County Wyoming told him that if Jim went to Junior College and got an associate’s degree in criminal justice he would give him a chance in his department. Jim worked nights and weekends for two years at a local restaurant to support his young family and also got his degree at Sheridan Community College. Jim was also a damn good heavy weight amateur boxer in Wyoming and even tied the State Champ in a local match before joining the department. Jim also rescued Sheriff Manning and a couple of civilians from a bunch of bikers that had them cornered on a mountain road just before he joined the Department. Later when one of them threatened his wife and child in retaliation Jim's temper got the best of him and he throws the biker a beating he won’t ever forget. That starts a series of events that pits Deputy Jim Edwards against the notorious Wild Wolves’ Biker Gang and its two leaders. Now Jim has a big problem and even though Sheriff Manning and his top Lt. Al Freeburger think that Jim is the best Deputy they've ever had they don't know if Jim can survive the Wolves vendetta against him. But this all happened back in 1974, and Jim Edwards is alive and well. He just got back from helping rescue his son Commander Jacob Edwards from Maximillian’s prison down in Central America. Captain Tommy Williams the leader of the rescue has known for a long time that there is something very interesting about Jims past service in the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Department. So he uses and opportunity to visit that town with the Edwards family to go there and find out for himself why some "old law dogs" around Sheridan still call it "The Legend of Deputy Jim".

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780578568324
Publisher: Dan E. Hendrickson
Publication date: 09/13/2019
Edition description: Paberback/Hardback ed.
Pages: 218
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt


Little About Jim

1972, Sheridan, Wyoming

They didn't call them smokers for nothing. Somehow, even when held in a school gym, all the old cowboys felt like it was their constitutional right to smoke their cigars as they watched all the boys beat the hell out of each other for three rounds. The gymnasium of Sheridan Central Middle School was not Madison Square Garden, but it was where all the best boxing "smokers" took place on Saturday afternoons in that part of northern Wyoming. The school district allowed it because most of the revenue from the ticket sales, plus all the concessions profit for the day, went straight to them.

That never stopped Dr. Caroline Lard, the school principal, from making an appearance at the next PTA meeting to complain. She always had to open up all the doors and windows in that part of the school to air it out all weekend. On Mondays, teachers and students alike would say that they could still smell the "smokers' ghost" from the Saturday matches.

The next to the last fight is winding down as Jim Edwards readies himself in the back by the dressing rooms. Being twenty-one, he fought in the over-eighteen heavyweight men's category. He had a good couple of years in this circuit, and he was billed as the main event for the last couple of smokers he was in.

Today is different. Today, he faces the state champion, Richard Ladenza, from Powell, Wyoming. Richard is a power puncher to the nth degree. Knockouts are not common in AAU (American Athletic Union) amateur sponsored boxing. All participants are required to wear headgear, and the rules of the contest are designed to keep the participants from getting injured. But Richard has five knockouts to his credit. In their last match, he knocked Jim down several times, broke his nose, and almost earned a TKO. That was four months ago, and Jim is ready for some payback.

Jim stands six feet two inches tall and weighs 210 pounds. His opponent is his physical equal. Jim has speed, good power, and an iron jaw. Richard has two sledgehammers he calls fists. Jim eyes Richard on the other side of the ring, hoping his new strategy will pay off. While deep in thought, he feels a tiny hand on his glove and he looks down to see his three-year-old son, Jacob, tugging on him to lift him up. He imploringly looks over at Linda, his wife, who just rolls her eyes. "You're the one who wanted us both here."

Jim then reaches down and picks up his "little chunk." He calls him that because at three years old, the kid felt like solid muscle. Jacob is curious about everything, and he starts to pull at his father's headgear, mouthpiece, and gloves. Despite himself, Jim starts to poke his son in the belly with his gloved thumb, and Jacob screams with laughter. He almost misses being called to the match, but his coach comes up and slaps the back of his head. He quickly hands Jacob back to Linda and climbs up into the ring.

This is his hometown, and there are a lot of cheers, whoops, and hollers as he steps to the middle of the ring and waves. The last time he faced Richard was in Powell, and everyone booed him. When Richard steps in, though, there is no booing for the state champion in the Sheridan crowd, just a hushed silence and an unmistakable show of respect. Everyone hopes that Jim can do better this time against the "Powell Brawler," as they call him, but they are also excited because of the rumors that Richard is going to the semi-finals for a spot on the Olympic Boxing Team, and that's a feather in Wyoming's athletic cap that everyone wants.

Both men step to the center of the ring as the referee, who is also a local real estate auctioneer named Sam Mason, greets them and quickly goes over the rules. Sam looks directly at Richard. "If your opponent is going down, you don't keep beating him down. When I say 'step away,' you do it or I will disqualify you, state champion or not." Both men touch gloves and turn to their respective corners. Jim is thinking, thanks for the vote of confidence, Sam.

The tension in the room is as thick as the cigar smoke, and a couple of fans are set up to help blow the worst of the latter outside, so the two fighters can breathe and see. The bell rings, and the fighters catapult themselves to the center of the ring. As usual, Richard starts pounding on his opponent's arms, endeavoring to get through to the head. His strategy has always been simple and direct — pummel until the opponent's guard drops, then beat on him until the fight is stopped or the man goes down. This time, Jim is ready for Richard and lunges low. He comes up under Richard's assault and begins one of his own to the champ's midsection. He doesn't care about power just yet — all he wants to do is freak out his opponent with how many shots he can get into his gut.

Jim has always been fast, but something is turbocharging his engine this time, and his gloves are slapping against Richard's ribs and abdomen at light speed, as he pushes the state champion back into the corner. He continues his attack to the body but starts to add some head shots. Richard is no slouch and manages to get in some good shots of his own as they basically finish the round in the corner. When the bell rings, everyone knows that Jim Edwards just pulled off the impossible and took the first round away from Richard Ladenza.

As sweet as the victory is, it is short-lived. Richard comes out like a bull in the second round and pushes Jim around the ring for three long minutes, pummeling him with one devastating blow after another. Jim survives, if only barely.

To some, six minutes of boxing might not seem like much, but to an amateur fighter, it's an eternity. Both men come out for the third and final round, looking like they would rather just go home. But to their credit, when the bell rings they fight and give it everything they have. At times, it looks like Richard is going to knock Jim out, and at other times it seems that Jim is keeping him tied up in a corner. During the last minute of the fight, Jim changes his strategy and starts fighting in the middle of the ring. Richard tries to attack with power but Jim ducks, jabs, and moves. He even gets in a couple of good flurries to the face before the final bell rings.

It takes the judges forever to score the cards. It even looks like a couple of them get in an argument, but Sam tells them to knock it off. He grabs the cards and brings them to the center of the ring. He calls Jim and Richard in to meet him. He looks at both young men. "Folks, we have a tie." He raises both men's arms up and then pats them on the back and exits the ring.

Jim and Richard stay in the ring and look at each other for a second, then Richard extends his ungloved hand. "You're better than I thought, Edwards. You still quitting after this one?" Jim reaches out and takes Richard's hand. "You're damn right. I'm not doing that again. I start my new job at the sheriff's department next week after I graduate. Linda says being a deputy is dangerous enough. You go get 'em at the Olympic trials. We're all rooting for you." With that, they hug, and then Jim raises Richard's hand in the air, points at him, and gives a thumbs-up. Everyone cheers and they both exit the ring.

Jim gets down and walks over to Linda and Jacob. Every time he looks at his family, he can't believe what a lucky guy he is. Linda and her mom moved to Sheridan right after her father died in Vietnam as a navy pilot. Her mother had been a school teacher in New England but was offered a job as the principal of Coffeen Elementary School by the Sheridan County school board.

Jim first met Linda at Woodland Park Middle School because her mother chose to live in Story, Wyoming, which was about fifteen miles south of Sheridan, nestled in the Bighorn Mountains. Story had a grade school, but no middle or high school, so the children were bussed down to Woodland Park, the closest middle school to Story, and later to Sheridan High School. From then until their junior year in high school, Jim spent the time working up the courage to ask her out. Being a beautiful girl from the East Coast made Linda quite popular in Sheridan County.

It seemed every time he thought he might ask her out, he'd find that one of the other guys had beat him to it. Finally, during the summer between their junior and senior year, she was working as a waitress at the same place he worked as a line cook. They had always been friends but nothing more. While sitting at the coffee bar at the end of their shifts, he finally just did it and asked her out. When she said yes, he was stunned.

She laughed and punched him in the shoulder. "I've been waiting years for you to work up the courage, dummy. Sometimes I think you've got brain damage from all that boxing you're doing."

After that day, Jim and Linda were inseparable. They both turned eighteen during their senior year and snuck off to Nevada one weekend during Christmas break and got married. They tried to keep it quiet for the rest of the year, but when Linda's baby bump started to show, they had to announce to their family and friends that they were married.

He looks at her now and can't believe what a lucky guy he is. She is so beautiful, and Jacob is everything he ever dreamed a son could be.

He walks up, kisses Linda, and goes to pick up Jacob, but she stops him and orders him to the shower. Jacob grabs his daddy's leg anyway and says he wants to go with him, but Linda isn't hearing that at all. She grabs him and tells Jim to meet them out at the truck in the parking lot.

Thirty minutes later, Jim meets Jacob and Linda by his 1958 International pickup truck that he just finished restoring at the Sheridan Community College auto body technical school. He didn't major in auto bodywork, but he did take a couple of classes while he worked on his associate degree in criminal justice. He always loved working on cars and trucks, and they needed another vehicle. Money was very tight, so he found the International in front of an old barn out on Highway 90 and picked it up for thirty-five dollars. It was just a matter of getting it to run, which he and his dad did out in front of his parent's place. Once they got it running, he took it to the college and offered it as a project for the auto-body class. They accepted it, and he enrolled in the class so that he could work on it and be a part of the whole restoration process.

The bodywork was very good, and the truck looked like it did when it was new. Jim never could bring himself to change the look of a vehicle. Someone told him that when you changed the factory look, it brought the resale price down, and it could never be sold as an antique. All of his buddies tried to talk him into mag wheels and flames, but he refused. When it rolled out of the college body shop, the used-car manager at Sheridan Autos was there and offered him one thousand dollars for it. He almost took the money but decided to keep the truck because Linda and Jacob liked it a lot.

As he walks up to his family, Linda smiles. "You better be gawking at me and not this stupid truck, or you'll be sleeping in it tonight."

Jim laughs as he grabs his wife and kisses her, then looks at Jacob. "Rule number one, Little Chunk — Mommy is first, then you and me, then the truck." Jacob rolls his eyes and starts to pound on the door for his daddy to open it. Inside, a three-month-old Siberian Husky Malamute mixed-breed puppy starts yelping his brains out.

Linda bends down and helps Jacob inside to sit with his new puppy, Thunder, whom they had just gotten for Jacob's birthday. Once Jacob is settled in, Linda reaches up, cups Jim's cheek in the palm of her hand and looks at her husband's face. "Well, at least Richard was kind enough not to give you a couple of black eyes on your graduation day." The couple hop in the truck and head up the mountain to Story.

After he got married, Jim kept his job at the Sheridan Center Inn as a cook so that he could save money for school. They chose to live in Story with Linda's mom, who loved helping take care of the baby. After one year and with both their parents' help, he was able to take night and weekend classes at the college. He decided on law enforcement, because he always thought he would enlist in the military some day after he graduated from high school. But with getting married and having a baby right away, he could not do that to his family. So, he decided the best way he could serve his country was to become a lawman and protect his friends and neighbors.

Jim's graduation ceremony is at seven o'clock that night and the smoker got over at noon. It is a little less than a thirty-minute drive to Story, where they would all get ready and then head back to Sheridan. About three-quarters of the way up the mountain they run into a traffic jam, which in that area could mean a few things, like construction, an accident, or a police pullover.

Jim pulls up behind the line of stopped vehicles. At this place on the mountain, the road is so windy that he cannot see more than a couple of cars ahead. He decides to get out and walk around the bend to see what's going on. Once he's within eyeshot of the problem, the hair on the back of his neck pops up and his adrenaline starts to flow. He turns around and runs back to his truck. He reaches behind the seat and pulls out his dad's old pump shotgun, puts three rounds in, chambers one, and inserts another. He nervously looks at his wife. "Take Jacob and go back to town. Sheriff Manning has a bunch of biker gang boys pulled over and it looks like he's in trouble. They don't have the repeater set up in Story yet, so he doesn't have any way of radioing his deputies. I'm going to try and help him."

Linda knows that Jim is going to be doing this for a living from now on and cannot think of an objection that will work, so she just gets in the driver's seat, kisses her husband, and turns the truck around to race back to Sheridan to get some help.

As Jim passes each car in the traffic jam on the mountain road, he tells the driver what's going on around the corner and says to turn around and get out of there. They all obey, but when he gets to the vehicle closest to the incident, he sees that it's empty. A cold chill goes down his spine when he realizes what's going on. The bikers are using some people as hostages to keep Sheriff Manning from acting.

The winding pass that they are all on is bordered by a guardrail on one side that looks out over the Sheridan Valley below and the sheer, rocky wall of the mountain on the other side. He crosses the highway to the side with the mountain wall and stealthily makes his way around the corner. He sees the sheriff facing two big bikers whose backs are to him. To the side are three more bikers holding a couple at knifepoint. He hears one of the bikers tell the sheriff that if he doesn't let them leave, he'll have his boys slit the girl's throat and throw her off the side of the mountain. Behind the group and closest to the couple being held hostage are five Harley Davidson choppers.

No one has seen Jim yet, so he slowly backs up and goes over to the couple's car which is abandoned around the corner, out of eyeshot from the group. He sighs with relief as he notices that the car is an automatic, and the keys are still in the ignition. Jim gets in, starts the engine, maneuvers the steering wheel so that the car will go straight at the five Harleys, puts it in gear, and opens the door. He steps on the gas and rolls out of the car at the same time. The little Ford Falcon gains just enough momentum to smash into the five bikes, doing considerable damage to the first two.

Nothing pisses a biker off more than having his pride and joy messed with. All five of them forget what they are doing and run to their bikes. Jim sees that the hostages and Sheriff Manning are free, so he steps around the corner and unloads two shotgun shells into one of the bikes that didn't get much damage from the Falcon. He then points his shotgun at the obvious leader. "You boys better just get down on your knees and put your hands up on top of your heads or this henhouse is going to be minus one rooster real quick."

Sheriff Manning is able to retrieve his firearm from one of the bikers, and he walks over to Jim. "Jim, you don't even start till next week, so if you don't mind, I'll handle arresting these assholes. Just go over to my squad car and get some extra cuffs. And thanks, kid. That was getting pretty hairy, and you did some quick thinking."

The leader sneers and spits on the ground as the sheriff is cuffing him. He looks Jim in the eye. "You best watch your ass, cowshit. You and I have a score to settle later."

Sheriff Manning comes up and puts his hand on Jim's shoulder. "The only thing this jerk is going to settle is whether he gets playtime in the prison yard or not."

As Jim and the sheriff are getting the prisoners situated against the highway guardrail, two sheriff patrol cars and one highway patrol cruiser come around the corner with their lights flashing. Behind them, about fifty yards back, Linda is sitting in the International with Jacob, praying that Jim is all right. Once the rest of the commissioned law enforcement officers get out to help the sheriff, Jim grabs his dad's shotgun and walks back to his wife and son.


Excerpted from "The Legend of Deputy Jim"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Dan E. Hendrickson.
Excerpted by permission of Dan E. Hendrickson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Sneak Peak


Chapter 1, Little About Jim

Chapter 2, Deputized

Chapter 3, Temper, Temper

Chapter 4, Family Matters

Chapter 5, Ghost Bikers

Chapter 6, Wyoming’s Own Dick Tracy

Chapter 7, Cartel Retaliation

Chapter 8, Things Get Ugly

Chapter 9, Everybody Wants to Hear This story

Chapter 10, Jim and Al Figure it Out

Chapter 11, Bikers Don’t Know When to Quit

Chapter 12, Sheridan County Biker Offensive

Chapter 13, Now You Did It, Ya Went and Let the Bear Out!

Chapter 14, This Ones on You Biker!

Chapter 15, A Different Path


From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews