Cover image for On treacherous ground : secret stories of the West
On treacherous ground : secret stories of the West
Murray, Earl.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Forge, 2002.
Physical Description:
364 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Format :


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The American West has long inspired intrigue and violence-everything from gunfights at the OK Corral to modern-day murders, scandals, and botched investigations that dominate the nation's headlines. With many of them based on actual events, this collection of short stories takes on the West in all of its treacherous guises: from the Old West, where Joaquim Murietta, the real-life inspiration for Zorro, battles California Rangers who are out for his head, to modern-day Montana, where one man's wealth takes him into the dark corners of the illegal artifacts trade and where another sees murder as a viable way to take over his neighbor's life.Bizarre, fascinating, and eminently imaginative, this veteran writer of America's last wild and secluded places shows us the West in all of its grim splendor, with just enough disguise to protect the guilty.

Author Notes

Earl Murray once worked in botany and natural resource management. He is the author of thirty-five novels and nonfiction books that deal with the American West. His novel, Song of Wovoka, was a finalist for the 1992 Western Writers of America Spur Award for historical fiction. He lives with his wife, Victoria, in northern Colorado.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

The author of more than 40 novels, most of them about the American frontier, Murray (South of Eden) displays his intimate knowledge of the people and events that shaped the West in this unusual collection of short stories spanning the last two centuries. The Old West is evoked in atmospheric tales like "Hangtown," starring Mexican banditos who raid gold camps in the Sierra Nevadas, or "Untold Glory," which chronicles a showdown between Sioux Indians and U.S. soldiers escorting pioneer wagon trains through the Rockies. "High on Windy Water" and "Gulls in the Snow" turn to modern-day usurpers of Western land, taking aim at real estate encroachment and corrupt environmental regulators. The ongoing battle over land use and historic site preservation, particularly Indian tribal sites, is dramatically rendered in "Sacred Stone," the story of a renegade Indian woman who, disguised in a blonde wig and evening dress, sabotages a mining company planning to destroy her childhood home. Other tales are drawn from even more recent headlines; the Columbine High School shooting merges with the World Trade Center attack in "Aftermath," while "On Treacherous Ground" looks at the threat posed by heavily armed white separatists dug into rural areas of the West. With his usual adroit storytelling, Murray communicates his love for the West while championing the victims of its early expansion and condemning the villains of today. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved