The return of Walt Ames

Peter Grant, the author of The Ames Archives, has debuted the title and cover of the second book in the series, the sequel to his very well-received revival of the Western, BRINGS THE LIGHTNING, on his site.

I think perhaps a brief excerpt from ROCKY MOUNTAIN RETRIBUTION would be in order:

As the half-light of dawn began to spread across the eastern horizon, Walt arranged himself into his prone shooting position, tucking the stock of the Remington Rolling Block rifle more tightly into his shoulder. Its powerful .50 Government cartridge would kick back like a mule if he wasn’t positioned correctly to absorb its recoil. He put his eye to the full-length Malcolm telescope sight mounted over the barrel, but the shadows were still too deep and too dark to make out the carcass in the field below.

He waited patiently as the morning light grew slowly brighter. Looking downward from his hide in a rocky outcrop, he began to make out a dark mass against the green grass of the field. It looked larger than it had the evening before, when he set up this position… and, yes, it was moving! He grinned triumphantly and bent his head to the sight once more.

The big brown bear was soon breaking its fast by ripping chunks of meat off the dead cow, eating quickly. Walt reckoned it had probably already learned the hard way that, while farmers’ cattle were easy prey, the farmer would express his resentment of their loss with burning powder and hot lead. Even as he watched, the bear took a last mouthful, then turned, looking up past the rocks as it prepared to climb the hill to the safety of the tree line.

He took a deep breath, let it half-out, and held it. Aim low, he reminded himself. You’re shooting downhill. You’ve got to make allowance for that. He’d already pushed forward the set trigger until it clicked, adjusting its pull weight to mere ounces. He set the sight’s crosshairs on the bottom edge of the bear’s body, to the left of its head, as it walked towards him on all fours. His finger tightened on the trigger, gently… slowly… gently…

The rifle boomed in the still morning air, sparks and white gunpowder smoke erupting from its muzzle. Walt immediately reached up with his right hand, re-cocked the hammer, and flicked open the breech to remove the fired case, then withdrew another fat .50-70-450 cartridge from the box at his side and slid it into the chamber. Closing the action, he pushed the trigger forward to reset it. The whole sequence took no more than three seconds before his eye was back at the telescope sight.

The first round had slammed into the top of the bear’s left shoulder and raked downwards into its chest, rocking the beast’s massive body. It roared aloud in pain and anger as it reared upright, standing on its hind legs, looking to see where the unexpected attack was coming from. It spotted the cloud of smoke drifting away on the light morning breeze and roared again – just as Walt’s second bullet smashed into its breast, piercing its heart. It bellowed once more in anguished fury as it fell forward onto all fours. It started up the hill towards him, but within just a few steps its gait grew unsteady, and faltered. With a final groan, the bear toppled forward onto its snout, then slid back a few feet on the dew-wet grass.