Monday, July 29, 2013

Western Fictioneers Presents West of the Big River: The Ranger

Acclaimed author James J. Griffin, noted for his fine stories of the Texas Rangers, joins the West of the Big River stable with THE RANGER, a short novel featuring real-life Ranger Sergeant J.S. Turnbo. Tangling with rustlers, bank robbers, and road agents is all in a day's work for Turnbo as he fights to bring law and order to the area around Abilene and San Angelo, Texas, but solving a deadly mystery will put Turnbo's life in more danger than ever before. It'll take all of the Ranger's wits and gun-handling skills to keep him alive as he untangles the strands of a lethal conspiracy!

THE RANGER is a novel based on historical characters and situations in the bestselling West of the Big River series from Western Fictioneers. Don't miss any of these action-packed tales!


    "Travelin' by overnight stagecoach is sure blasted uncomfortable, ain't it, Ranger?" Las Cruces, New Mexico Deputy Sheriff W.L. Jerrell said. He shifted around in his seat, trying to ease the pain in his butt, and then settled deeper into his coat in an attempt to ward off the early February cold. "No heat, cramped and smelly, and this road's sure rough. I don't think our driver's missed a chuckhole yet. Too bad the rails don't run to San Angelo."
    "I'd rather be ridin' my horse," Texas Ranger Sergeant J.S. Turnbo answered. "When all's said and done, though, don't much matter to me how I travel, long as I get where I'm goin'. Besides, it's not all that far to San Angelo. We'll be there before sun-up. For now, I'm gonna try and get some more shut-eye before we reach town."
    Turnbo leaned back in his seat and pulled his hat down over his eyes. He'd prefer to be back in Abilene, having a beer at John Billings' saloon rather than taking a ninety mile ride in a jouncing stagecoach. Even more appealing was the thought of returning home and to Company A in El Paso, but that wasn't about to happen until most of the rustlers and robbers plaguing the Abilene area had been run to ground. He'd been sent to Abilene to solve those problems, but this assignment was taking him away from doing just that.
     Jerrell had taken a Texas and Pacific train from Las Cruces to Abilene, the closest point the T & P tracks came to San Angelo. He had a warrant for a man wanted for armed robbery back in Las Cruces, and needed a Texas lawman's authority to serve it. Turnbo had been given the chore of accompanying the New Mexico deputy to San Angelo. Ordinarily a Ranger wouldn't have drawn the menial job of serving a warrant on a penny-ante out of state criminal, but Jerrell's brother-in-law was El Paso County Sheriff James White. When White wired Austin asking for Ranger assistance, his request was promptly granted. 
    Besides Turnbo and Jerrell, there were four other passengers inside the coach: Corporal Adam McGee, a cavalryman on his way to Fort Concho, Sam P. Cochran, a Dallas businessman, rancher John Reed, and a dry goods drummer named Paul Dunham. In addition, one other man, Wade Thurston, a Kansas City cattle buyer, had decided to ride alongside the driver in the shotgun seat. He wanted to take advantage of the relatively cool night air and breeze, as opposed to being crammed in the stuffy coach along with six other men.
    Despite the rough ride Turnbo dozed off, for a Ranger grabbed sleep whenever and wherever he could. However, when the stage slowed he was instantly alert.
    "Hey, driver! What're you slowin' for?" he called as he eased his six-gun from its holster.
    "Eastbound stage's comin'," the driver answered. "Wavin' for me to stop. Looks like trouble."
    He pulled the horses to a halt. A moment later, the Abilene-bound stage rolled up and stopped.
    "Hey, Albie, what's wrong?" the westbound driver shouted.
    "Robbers! Bandits! That's what's wrong, Jake. Sons of bitches hit us about a mile back," the eastbound driver answered. "Warned me not to turn back to San Angelo but to keep headin' east."
    Turnbo and Jerrell, along with the other passengers, had climbed out of the coach.
    "They shoot anyone?" Turnbo asked.
    "Nah," Albie answered. "Robbed the passengers of some cash and valuables and rifled through the mail. Jake, I'd bet my hat they're waitin' on you to do the same thing."
    "They ain't gonna get the chance," Jake said. "I'm turnin' around right here. We'll head back to the last way station, spend the night there, then head for San Angelo come daylight."
    "No, you're not, driver," Turnbo said. "You'll get back in your seat and start this stage movin' for San Angelo again."
    "You can't give me orders like that, Mister," Jake snapped.
    "This says I can." Turnbo dug in his shirt pocket and pulled out his badge. "I'm Texas Ranger Sergeant J. S. Turnbo of Company A in El Paso."

This is the 4th West of the Big River novel, fictional tales starring historical characters. Below are some links where you can find this book.

Trade Paperback  Kindle           nook    Smashwords


  1. Jim this looks like a very interesting book, for sure! I will be anxious to lay my hands on it. Now, I just have to see what's going to happen!

  2. So many stories come from the state of Texas and in the hands of a good story teller like yourself, they come to life and pull you right in. Now to get my hands on a copy and find out what happens. Doris

  3. There are times I'm absolutely convinced I did have a previous life, one in which I was a Texas Ranger... And I sure agree with the line from the Flyin' J Wranglers song about the cowboy "... wishin' he'd been born a hundred years ago." That's me. I know I was born a hundred years too late and in the wrong part of the country.

    Jim Griffin

  4. What an adventure this book will take us on. Sounds pretty dang exciting to me. Since it's about Texas rangers, I guess there's no better place for it to happen than in Texas.
    all the best...