Devils Canyon - Book 2 of the Apache County Series
Sheriff James NMI Carmichael has dealt with guerrillas, North Vietnamese Regulars, terrorists of all stripes, drug dealers, and run-of-the-mill badmen, but he's never been confronted with this. Someone is stealing children, and it has been going on for a long time. Assisted by FBI Agent Sarah Kickingbird, he must get to the bottom of the crime before it happens again. More
From the time Isaac ‘The Hanging Judge’ Parker sent his deputies into Indian Territory, Oklahoma has had a tradition of hiring gunmen and killers to enforce the law. Men whose ruthlessness matches or exceeds that of the murderers, bootleggers, drug dealers, rapists, bank robbers and assorted other miscreants who plague the place. These men can be heroes or villains - simply depending upon whose side you’re on.
The new sheriff of Apache County is such a man.
Apache County, Oklahoma. Carved out of the Kiowa/Comanche Reservation around the turn of the century, settled by pioneers who had run out of other places to go. Many of these were honest, hard-working folk who simply wanted their own bit of land. However, there were those who had been run out of settlements throughout the west: Grifters, itinerant preachers who fled just ahead of the angry fathers of impregnated girls, bootleggers, murderers and ne’er-do-wells of all stripes. And their descendants carry on the traditions.
Apache County is still a wild place, and growing wilder with each passing year. The country should never have been broken to the plow, rain being a phenomenon that completely passes by most of the time, and when it does come, comes in such torrents that it does little good and much harm. From a time when every quarter-section (160 acres) had a farmstead, it has become largely deserted; the closest neighbor often five to ten miles away. It is a place ready-made for those who simply seek isolation, as well as for those who are still running from something or somebody.
Towns are little enclaves where the only successful business is the funeral home. Law enforcement is sketchy, underfunded, and often corrupt. This has not slipped by the attention of organized crime. Meth labs abound, marijuana patches line the wild lands along the river, and no one seems to care.
JAMES NMI CARMICHAEL is one of those who came seeking isolation. He has returned to the place of his birth, and wants nothing more than to be left alone while he renovates and rebuilds the family farm.
For Carmichael, this isolation is both a desirable and necessary thing. He has enemies, carry-overs from a lifetime of soldiering for an often-ungrateful government. But that isn’t the most important consideration. He’s just tired. Tired of fighting. Tired of constantly trying to do something good, only to see the effort collapse due to factors outside his control. Thirty years of near-constant war have left him with a desire to do nothing more than become an anonymous citizen who bothers no one.
James Carmichael is very possibly the best-trained and most experienced consultant (he prefers this title to that of mercenary) ever to work for the U.S. Government. He started with the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets), first as a medic and later as an officer, serving three tours in Vietnam. Wounded a number of times, highly decorated, he capped off Vietnam service by working in the ultra-secret Phoenix Program, where his job was to neutralize the Viet Cong Infrastructure – to capture or kill the people who sent the killers out. He was so good at his job that he was thrown out of Vietnam.
Peacetime service in the Army chafed him, causing him to volunteer for “off the books” missions. It was during one of these missions that his pregnant wife died in a botched medical procedure. Consumed by guilt and rage, he assaulted the doctor responsible, and was invited to leave the Army. Thus when ROGER McMURDOCK, a CIA officer and his old boss from the Phoenix Program, approached him to work for the Agency as a contractor, he gladly took the job. Since then he has been a soldier-for-hire, working in every hot spot in the world.
But now he just wants peace. Even if he has to kill someone to get it.