Book review: Tortilla Flat, by John Steinbeck – Like a Cohort of Lemurs!

Tortilla FlatTortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like a good glass of wine, the flavors of this book need to be enjoyed smoothly and slowly. It’s an intriguing set of tales which illustrate the foibles of humanity as Danny and his compatriots seek out the basics of food, shelter and that jug of wine in the shanty town of Tortilla Flats. As they seek these necessities of life, the band of men, who might be likened to a cohort of Lemurs or Mongoose, are always on the move in an opportunistic manner. Their daily spoils of the hunt can always be rationalized according to their higher needs than those from whom they ‘lift’ their products. As the quest proceeds, an occasional opportunity for love or religious fulfillment of a dream will interject itself onto their paths and be taken as a logical gift from heaven. When the daily scurrying about for the necessities of life come to a close, there is always time for social interaction and the storytelling which has always been a part of humanity as they bask in the evening sun on the porch or around some furtively built campfire. The Hippies and Beatniks of my youth would have understood this lifestyle completely. Needs satisfied, human community interaction and an occasional chance to open the mind with a mind-altering bottle of wine that can take communication to new and sometimes stupid depths. A great book to read slowly. A chapter a night will certainly alter your dream patterns.

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What Possible Reasons For Teachers To Carry Guns At School?

During my years of professional work as a teacher and a principal with students I have broken up numerous altercations, some involving weapons, some between students who were just showing off their hormones, and some caused by students who were seriously deranged by some internal or external stimulus. In all of these school situations, plus the numerous school evacuations for bomb threats in Chile, Peru and Venezuela, the injury of teachers by bombs and shootings in Peru and Chile and the massive street demonstrations by armed terrorists and campesinos in Peru and Ecuador respectively, I never once considered that the carrying of a weapon have helped in the solution to the problems at hand. The same situations occurred in schools in the United States where I confronted students who were threatening others with knives or physical violence. The addition of a gun would have only exacerbated the problems.  Therefor I am at a complete loss as to why POTUS would be calling for a plan to arm and train teachers to shoot people.

Considering my professional life even further,  my family and I  lived for years in unguarded houses in developing countries.  With my family, my wife and I traveling daily on public transport in Lima, Peru during the time when Sendero Luminoso was almost daily bombing and shooting up the streets. In my 19 years of professional work in Latin America our family dealt with being accosted on the streets, being shaken down by corrupt police officials  talking our way out of  mobs on remote back roads, and never once felt that brandishing a weapon or shooting someone would have solve the problem. In fact a weapon might very well have led to the injury or death of a member of my family or myself. Again, as I think on these situations, I see no justification for a President to recommend a solution which in most cases would only raise tensions rather than lowering them.

Given all of these experiences, plus the fact that I was trained during the Vietnam War in advanced Infantry skills,  I wonder about the expertise, experience and knowledge of many of our leaders when it comes to making rather brash recommendations about how easy it is to just pull out a gun and shoot someone. Certainly the training that would be given to teachers would be nothing like the military brainwashing used to train soldiers in the art of demonizing the enemy in order to justify killing them. Teaching teachers to shoot is one thing. Teaching them to shoot a former student whom they may have worked hours with is a whole different ball of wax.  We need to leave the carrying of weapons and the armed confrontation of a shooter to the professionals.

I have seen no evidence whatsoever that POTUS has studied the research on guns, or the training of humans to shoot other people with weapons, or even  the massive number of responsibilities already laid upon teachers by our society. The training of teachers in the classroom, and of principals in the management of schools on a daily basis is a whole profession in itself. What we do in schools doesn’t square away very well with picking up a gun and shooting to kill another human. What does the President really know about any of this?

Our nation needs to quit blaming its schools and its teachers for the problems our society has developed. How can we expect teachers to teach and train students to not be liars and bullies when the very highest office of our land is occupied by a person who has a life long history of doing just this sort of thing? If our national leaders can’t act as good models for children, then who are they to look up to? Their teachers of course, even though we ridicule them and blame them for all of the ills within our families and communities. The problem rests not with the schools, but with our culture and society which are going to have to change before any of this really get better.

The solutions to our school shooting problems rest with our law makers, our constitutional interpreters, our big money influence on government, or individualistic society of instant gratification and in our love affair with violence and guns. I see no movement in our government towards giving greater support to the mental health facilities and personnel in all our schools. I see no meaningful set of laws being developed on a nation wide basis to get the interpretation of our constitutional right to bear arms because militias are supposed to be important for our nation’s security. I see no  laws regulating militias so that they might be helpful to a real national emergency that required further assistance for the National Guard or law enforcement. I see no reason why any of this needs to impinge on the great work which we have already assigned to our teachers in their many roles related to schools.

What is it that would give POTUS even the faintest idea that arming teachers would in any way help solve a country’s sick infatuation with rifles, guns and pistols? What CDC research on public health and other scientific information has he read and discussed with mental health experts to show that giving one more weapon to one more person will do anything about an active shooter,. All the evidence and research on weapons points to the fact that having a weapon only endangers the life of the person who owns it and the people they love who are around them. Does POTUS understand the mental state of mass shooters? Does he understand that America’s love for guns has itself become an cancer within our society and that automatic or automatic-like rifles and pistols should really be labelled WMD “weapons of mass destruction”?

The speech by POTUS that led to a response from Samuel L. Jackson is worth watching. Here is a link, followed by further commentary and another link.

After watching the link above, I can only say”Hurray for Samuel L. Jackson!” His noting the lack of the emperor’s new clothing is evident. He states it like it is, the President’s solution is nothing but a bunch of Hogwash.

I think there are quite a number of us in the teaching field overseas who have looked into the barrels of guns or been knocked down by exploding bombs and heard the bullets and shooting going on at night with our families. We know that teachers in their training become experts in talking down tense situations. We know they don’t need to pull a gun to tamp things down. We know that by the time they did pull a gun on an active shooter they would very likely already have become a target themselves. this is contrary to what they should really be doing, which is to do everything in their power to get their students to safety. We don’t need to put more pressure on the very people who we already know will generally give up their lives to make sure their students are out of harms way. We already ask them to be prepared daily in the classroom to manage, feed, teach, educate, discipline and sometimes parent our children. We don’t want them to trade this love of career and students for the mental mind set needed to pull a weapon of their own and try to engage someone who is probably better armed and already in a killing mood. That needs to be left to the professionals, our police, our SWAT teams and our military.

Historically if we look at teachers and students in our society, the teachers managed the students until it became impossible and then turned the students over to the parents who managed their children until it was impossible and then those persons went out on their own. If they were mentally ill they were put away so they wouldn’t harm others. The lack of adequate mental health, and nursing professionals in our schools is an abomination for such a rich nation. We can pay for and should pay for and provide these professionals to all our schools. They are a portion of our true internal National Defense System and need to be funded.

While we are addressing mental health of students in schools, we must also address the cancer of gun infatuation that is continuing to grow throughout our country. Our founding fathers and ancestors spent over 100 years figuring out how dangerous guns were in crowds, in bars, in towns and in the hands of drunks, crazies, and angry or suicidal people. They made a lot of rules about guns being carried or not in various places to ensure public safety. Our “me-me-me” culture has now spent the past 50 years persuading our legislators and courts to undo all of the common sense rules about weapons that our gun-toting ancestors learned the hard way. We are now learning the hard way once more, but with weapons that are immensely more powerful and accurate for killing than any ever dreamed of by our ancestors. Weapons that can kill other people are not for the local bar, they are not for the school, they are not for any place where you might want sane and considered argumentation. The list of where not to have weapons is enormous but we have let our politicians be persuaded by moneyed bribes to take away common sense restrictions because of a 200 year old phrase in a Constitution that no longer means what our ancestors were really thinking. Our forefathers would stand aghast at our simple mindedness in looking after the common good of our people when it comes to weapons, their ownership, their use as toys, and our infatuation with them.

We veteran teachers of students in war torn, terrorist ridden, mob controlled, and dictator run countries have run some of the best international institutions called schools all over this world. We didn’t need and we still don’t need guns in the classrooms to ensure that good education happens. Neither do the teachers in our continental US schools.

We veterans of the military have also learned how much in depth training is needed for humans to maintain, handle and effectively shoot automatic weapons in a responsible manner. It is unfortunate that the majority of the loud mouth “arm the teacher movement” including our own POTUS are persons who have never served in a police or military organization. They know nothing of the realities of which they talk and are simply shooting off at the mouths at the expense of the lives of our children.

There are solutions. Here are some suggestions:

1. We must learn to control the lawless members of our society by properly funding our police forces even if that means having rotating officers on duty at schools. Not that these officers will prevent a sick person from starting a shooting spree, but they may be able to better curtail that person’s endeavors.

2. We must also learn to recognize and help those persons who are mentally ill in our schools and society again by fully funding our mental health agencies and having professionals in all schools who work constantly with the students to maintain a culture of sanity. We must take the easily purchased automatic weapons and the tools to convert semi-automatic weapons into automatics off the market for the ordinary public which has no need for them. We must correct the ability of big money to game our constitution and we must clearly define a militia, how militias are controlled, and how members of a militia will be armed.

3. We must demand that our legislators do numbers 1 and 2 and that these be national priorities. We must as a nation draw away from the gun culture that regards weapons as toys. We must demand training and accountability for all sellers, buyers and users of these weapons and prescribe the uses for which these weapons are appropriate or the right to use them becomes forfeit.  We must learn to treat these dangerous weapons with the respect they deserve and recognize them officially for what they really are: deadly weapons of mass destruction.

Now let’s look at what the majority of Americans think about this.  Read and watch:

Amen! I say! Common sense is there, why don’t our legislators and president follow the populaces? Big Money Talks! Quite obviously if you look at government donations.

As a veteran, a hunter, and gun owner of a pump .22 and a lever action .32 special, I can just look at the picture above and tell you three things those toys designed for man-killing could do without for the general non-trained shooter, non-federally controlled militia or wannabe next headline maker.

  1. A flash suppressor – What animal other than a human is going to pick up on the flash of a weapon and fire back at it? Duh? Cut it off!
  2. A cooling stock? – Who, other than a human in a military op needs to fire so rapidly for such a length of time that they need to cool the barrel? Duh? Surely not a hunter or serious target shooter!
  3. The rapid change clip opening? – Who needs to shoot/ eject/ reload / shoot /eject/ reload / shoot… so many times and so rapidly that they need clips holding 20+ rounds? No more than 5 rounds in a clip or 5 rounds in a built-in magazine are needed for hunting. The ones who need these big clips are either very poor shots and need more training, or are hunting humans in a military op.

I can also tell something from the pictured weapons that each should be required to have, and I’ll bet none of them do. That is, a trigger lock or an individualized security mechanism to prevent any thief, child or goof-ball from using the gun without the key or code. Why haven’t we legislated this basic safety mechanism?

Finally, I want you to think about the name “weapon”. Why do you think we call these things “weapons” rather than just “rifles”? Well, I would guess that is because weapons are generally used to kill humans rather than animals. My rifles and guns, not just the ones listed above, but the Winchester .458 and the 8mm. Mauser and the 20 gauge shotgun and the Eddystone 30-06 to name a few of my former rifles, all did a considerable amount of animal killing with magazines holding 3- 5 shots. When I was in the military we trained with M-16 and M-14 weapons and large magazines daily. We handled, cleaned and slept with them and treated them with care because they had a specific job to do which was not hunting animals, or plinking at squirrels. It was serious business requiring serious training and target practice in order to be able to kill humans.

There is something that the 99% of the US American population who are no longer being trained militarily to kill other humans should think about. What in the “hell” are we really planning to do with all the millions of weapons that we are selling and passing out to everyone in our country? Those weapons of mass destruction are much more likely to kill you or your child or your friends because you own them. You or members of your family are much more likely to commit suicide with that weapon than you are to ever confront or kill that fabled intruder, rapist, or other beastie of the night which you fear? You have been sold a bill of goods by the NRA, a Brooklyn Bridge by your congressmen, and a big bottle of snake oil by the pundits to salve your fears. Guns won’t solve America’s problems, Discussion, research and voting can.

Speak out about thet need for change to your congressmen and the nation. If you don’t, then the next time we have another mass shooting look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I and the rest of Americans really and truly so God-damned stupid?”


Choosers of the Slain by James H. Cobb: a book you’ll want to read!

Choosers of the Slain (Amanda Garrett, #1)Choosers of the Slain by James H. Cobb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here’s to the US Navy’s response to G.I.Jane and a techy introduction to twenty-first century naval warfare. In an environment more hostile than outer space, America’s Amanda Garrett, Commander of the U.S.S. Cunningham, takes on the Argentine air force and navy to blockade and disrupt an attempt by that nation to make a giant land grab in Antarctica’s mineral rich wastelands. The low level, but definitely going somewhere in later novels, romance between Amanda and helicopter jockey Vince Arkady keep just enough spice in this white knuckle military adventure to keep the reader coming back for more as the ship dodges and decoys its way into the wild waters south of 40 degrees and the oncoming storms of a fierce winter that will give the Argentinians an upper hand in the battle to regain control of invaded British research stations. The book is an eye opener to the variety of decoys, stealth and offensive weapons that can be aboard one top of the line destroyer. It also give insight into the kinds of offense the ship is capable of, not only through its own weaponry, but also through the use of the long range surveillance attack helicopters which are aboard. Author James H. Cobb knows his stuff and keeps all fronts open through a series of chapters switching back and forth between scenes within the Argentinian government, U.S. Defense Department, Argentinian attackers and the massive coordinated responses from The Cunningham. You’ll live in the confined cockpit of Retainer Zero-One from mission to dangerous icy recovery. You’ll understand the stress of naval warfare and the pressures on that single person who must command and take responsibility for everything that happens when a lone ship is at war on the far side of the globe. This book will deserve a second reading by some people who make the films because it’s more about the wiles pressures and intrigues of war than just having a bunch of fireworks going off. Enjoy.

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The Circular Saw

Here’s a new book that looks like it could have a really interesting plot! Will have to do some research on Menieur’s Disease. I thought it was a French pastry but sounds like a bad actor of a disease to have. Enjoy.

Past the Isle of Dogs

(Note: The Rabbit Skinners, my second novel, concerns Herculean FBI agent James Strait, whose life is devastated by a rare disease. His promising career suddenly ended, he returns to his rural hometown in northern Arizona and resigns himself to a life of disability, until a little girl asks him to use his skills to find her missing friend.  This passage, which occurs as Strait returns to his hometown on an Amtrack train, describes how it feels to have a Meniere’s Disease attack. I drew upon my own experiences with Meniere’s to write it.)


The Amtrak trip to Pine River took two days. Strait had reserved a room, and the FBI paid a month’s rental for it, at a hotel called The Blue Rabbit, an historic downtown fixture that had existed long before Strait had left town a dozen years before. The Blue Rabbit, a couple of…

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Book Review: An Amazing Travelogue and Adventure of the 19th Century – Embassy to the Eastern Courts by Andrew Jampoler

Embassy to the Eastern Courts: America's Secret First Pivot Toward Asia, 1832-37Embassy to the Eastern Courts: America’s Secret First Pivot Toward Asia, 1832-37 by Andrew C A Jampoler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here’s an excellent book for those of you who dig the history of international trade and the opening up of the Far East to American ships. We always think of President Andrew Jackson as a man focused on his stateside job rather than the international world. This excellent work by Andrew Jampoler shows how the little known voyages and adventures of failed businessman Edmund Roberts helped open up trade with Muscat, Oman, Zanzibar and the kingdom of Siam. The author recounts many aspects of the two, two-year long trips which cover over 70,000 miles of sailing around the world aboard the USS Peacock to first negotiate treaties with Oman and Siam and then after their ratification by congress and the president, the return journey to deliver these documents. 1832 through 1837 was no period of time for a timid man to undertake such journeys when over a third of the sailors, officer and passengers were felled by tropical diseases for which there was no effective treatment. Heat, humidity, insects, foul water, pirates and crowded conditions all contributed to making such voyages a venture for only the most hardy or desperate of men. You will enjoy the insider comments of the medical doctors whose records give us the most complete view of the hardships, desertions and punishments meted out and the good ship Peacock is grounded, visits exotic ports in Cochin-China, the Pacific and along the coasts of Africa and South America. Those of you who are coin collectors will get a better idea of why the 1804 silver dollars used as a part of the diplomatic exchanges are so rare and steeped with a history that only enhances their value. A travelogue with many added twists and turns. Well worth the read and taking the time to compare diplomacy in the early 19th century with that of today. After almost 200 years, communication between nations of different languages and cultures has remained one of the most difficult areas of human endeavor. We are still not good at it. Enjoy the thoroughness and completeness of this great book!

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Readers! Hoping to Hear How you enjoyed the Free Holiday books!

Dear readers of one or all of my books: The Ghosts of Ukuthula by Rick McBee or Rough Enough by Richard McBee  or Beachcomber Seashells of the Caribbean by Richard McBee 

I hope that those of you who took advantage of the holiday sales and either purchased or collected a book free of charge have had the chance to finish that book and can now review the book on Amazon by going to the book’s page and clicking on the reviews. It only takes a moment, but your feedback whether positive or negative will allow other readers and myself to know what you thought and ways that I might improve my writing in the years to come.

Thanks again for reading my books and I am hoping you had a wonderful holiday and will enjoy a prosperous year of 2018.

Rick McBee





Giving and Getting Consent – Short but to the point.

The British Police have an excellent short video on U-Tube using the metaphor of Tea for giving consent. It’s with simple Stick Figures. Well worth watching and showing your kids both before and after they reach puberty! Also well worth sharing with your adult friends who might not have figured out what this is all about and why it is important.

Go directly Click here: The Very British Consent Video


Cut and Paste this link–

I hope you will share it with the world. It needs to go viral!

Book Review: “Home Invasion” by ghost writers of William W. Johnstone

Home InvasionHome Invasion by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Here we have a novel with serious flaws and misconceptions put together after the author’s death from notes and outlines. Could this book be prophetic and was W.W. Johnstone thinking of writing it as a satire? It wouldn’t take a lot of vocabulary changes to make this 2010 novel mirror our 2017 situation today.

The ghost writers have attempted to make it into a thriller by slinging a lot of lead around. The reader will therefore be advised to wash their hands before eating directly after reading to avoid a case of lead poisoning. That said, the original plot had potential:

The President is off his rocker and hopes to be able to take away all American 2nd amendment authorized weapons. Must be off his rocker! POTUS is also orchestrating a secret nerve gas experiment in S. Texas. Whoa!  The little town of Home, TX is going to be his experimental test site since it’s just down the road from the factory. Crazy man!

You will want to root for Pete McNamara whose spunky first chapter shootout with some Mexican Drug cartel guys actually is the best chapter in the book. Too bad he isn’t featured all the way through! You’ll also like Police Chief Alex Bonner and her tiny department of cops who try to stand against first the government takeover of Home after the guns have been removed. She also makes stands against a bunch of drug cartel thugs who would steal the President’s nerve gas for their own purposes. But the nerve gas is on its way and someone has to stop it before it gets tried out on Home. The side story of the two rogue CIA agents and the runaway factory chemist gets a little too complicated for this whole scenario, so you probably won’t bond with Fargo and Parker. More lead will soon be flying! Minor characters fit the microbiologists nomenclature TNTC (Too numerous to count). I lost track. Some questions for the ghost writers arise after my reading: The President is a liberal? Oops! Liberal Presidents are the best thing since Mother Flag and Apple Pie for gun and ammunition sales and proliferation in this country without guns ever being taken away. Why would a liberal President destroy our economy so badly? Must really be off his rocker! This book is not written by “the master” whom we remember as the man who actually rode the Indian, Mountain Man and Cavalry trails that appeared in his original writings. His legacy is gone but you can still find his original amazing historical fiction novels. My rating of a 2 out of 5 would have been lower but for his name on the cover. I had hoped to find a smidgen of W.W. in this book. I didn’t. (R.I.P.) W.W. Johnstone.

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Thought Questions for CW book “Rough Enough” #1 Why Did Boys Join the Military in the Civil War?

Here’s the first set of Questions you can use when reading and thinking about my Civil War History book “Rough Enough” Free on Amazon Kindle Nov.27, Dec. 2, 10, and 16! Visit

Rick McBee's Writings to Enhance your Life

Rough Enough follows the true life of young Richard Clow through his letters to his sisters while he was fighting at Petersburg, VA during the Civil War and later on the Montana/Dakota frontier.

As the book opens, the first question that comes to mind, is that the bloody battles and horrendous loss of life in the field could not have been a mystery by Feb. 1865, when young Richard falsely states his age as “19” (he was only 17) and enlists in the Infantry to fight at Petersburg.

So, what were some of the influences that would bring a young man to make the decision to enlist? Also, why would a young man decide to join the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, when an enlistment in Artillery or Engineering would have been safer and still have gotten him to the battlefront?

My book hypothesizes several reasons in Chapter 1.

It would be…

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Book Review: “The Deceiver” by Frederick Forsyth

The DeceiverThe Deceiver by Frederick Forsyth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Forsyth has done an outstanding job of detailing the circuitous paths of the old espionage game along with giving us a lot of reasons why our world of the technocrat spy really isn’t a lot different from the world of dubious political activities taking place during the cold war.  The KGB or what would now be called the VSR is still out there being led from the very top by a guy who was once one of the insiders of that organization under Gorbachev. The Colombian drug dealers may have been replaced by the Mexicans or S.E. Asia’s Golden Triangle, but they all use many of the same old fashioned methods and don’t need to rely on spy satellites, drones, or having to keep clean white gloves on for clean hands in a clandestine war that may have to go wet at times to tidy up messes. McCready and all the old school spies he represents, may seem like a fossil to the guy with a cell phone, a gps and a ‘beam me up’ team sitting back home with computers, but he’s not traceable, when the electricity fails he’s not at a loss of how to contact home, and when the ‘beam me up’ guys don’t get the chopper into the right sector on time to pull him out he’s still got a hole in the ground to go to and a backup plan to get his defector out. Each of the tales is a classic. Well worth reading several times. I did have one criticism of his use of the term ‘Claymore’ for a mine which should have been classified as a ‘Bouncing Betty,’ but I can forgive one error to an author who has been so on top of the game for years and who is now living in a time when his young editors probably wouldn’t pick up on the nuances of Vietnam era weaponry. Read it. enjoy it and know that there are still men and women out there who can really pull off the job when the slick joy-stick kids on the computers screw up on a mission. That’s what happens on an Op. You go in thinking you’ve got the mission down cold and halfway to the goal line you better have another plan or you’ll be just another piece of cannon fodder.  Keep the McCready clan, both men and women alive and well. We need them!

PS don’t forget to check Amazon for my free book offers! See the previous blog for the dates they are going for FREE!>)

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Book Special: A Month of Free! From Me!

Rick’s 15 Day Book Sale for the coming Holidays!

As always this time of the year, I give a “Free” book deal to the world. This year it’s going to run for 15 Days of my Kindle books between Nov. 19, and Dec. 18 – 2017! The paperback book versions are also available at excellent prices but not for free. Enjoy!    

Visit Amazon!

Or look them up on Book Gorilla

Or visit and click My web site!

Rough Enough: ASIN: B00HCQNBB0  A unique personal history of the last months of the Civil War and the life of a young man as he then continues his military career and then moves on to the Deadwood Gold Rush. Free: Nov. 25, 27, Dec. 2, 10 and 16.

Rough Enough - Front Cover

The Ghosts of Ukuthula: ASIN: B01GNGCKHK  An historical fiction spy novel about the liberation movement behind the downfall of South African Apartheid. An African born CIA agent risks his life to come in from the “cold” and cause the downfall of a plot to take over the decaying South African government during the times of Nelson Mandela.
Free: Nov. 24, 19, 29, Dec. 3, and 5.


Beachcomber Seashells of the Caribbean: ASIN: B00IP954W2
A seashell key and guide to identify over 250 of the finest seashells you can find along the coast of the Caribbean from Florida right on down onto the northern coasts of Venezuela. Made especially for the e-reader and smart phone so you can take the key right onto the beach! Free: Nov. 22, 26, Dec.. 1, 9 and 18.

Enjoy the Reads! Have some wonderful vacation and holiday time leading to a

Happy New Year!

Book Review: Jury of Six by Matt Braun

Jury of Six (Luke Starbuck, #2)Jury of Six by Matt Braun

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here’s an excellent fast read that both enhances and rehashes the fables and mystique surrounding the 1878 Lincoln County war in New Mexican Territory along with the colorful characters of William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett and fictitious characters surrounding Chisolm’s JingleBob Ranch. This is a second installment in the Luke Starbuck tales in which Matt Braun has created a Manhunter of excellence who will ride the shady edges of the the law with or without a badge in order to get his man. There weren’t a lot of nice clean-cut men out working the ranches in those days and Braun has excellent descriptive abilities to pull us into both the story and the hard scrabble lives of his characters. Starbuck becomes the dirty unshaven lone rider in some cases as he tracks his quarry, but is also backed by John Poe and four other LX cowhands as they search for the killers of rancher Ben Langham and the gang of rustlers surrounding Billy the Kid. Enjoy the read, it’s a model for those of us who are wannabe writers about the old west.

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