Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome Van Holt to the blog! He’s the author of Shoot to Kill and is here to share about his book. If this book sounds like something that you would be interested in reading, please find some buy links below and pick up a copy or two!
Mark Reston had never set out to be a killer. But there were those who just wouldn’t have it any other way. And now there were five more men that he had to kill.
They should have left him alone or made sure he was dead the first time. He was tired of being used for a target.
He hadn’t decided what to do about the beautiful young woman who had been given a very difficult choice by the outlaws. If she didn’t kill Reston, the man who had saved her life, they would kill her.
Warning: Reading a Van Holt western may make you want to get on a horse and hunt some bad guys down in the Old West. Of course, the easiest and most enjoyable way to do it is vicariously—by reading another Van Holt western.
Van Holt writes westerns the way they were meant to be written.
Shoot to Kill can be purchased:
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Bio: Van Holt wrote his first western when he was in high school and sent it to a literary agent, who soon returned it, saying it was too long but he would try to sell it if Holt would cut out 16,000 words. Young Holt couldn’t bear to cut out any of his perfect western, so he threw it away and started writing another one.
A draft notice interrupted his plans to become the next Zane Grey or Louis L’Amour. A tour of duty as an MP stationed in South Korea was pretty much the usual MP stuff except for the time he nabbed a North Korean spy and had to talk the dimwitted desk sergeant out of letting the guy go. A briefcase stuffed with drawings of U.S. aircraft and the like only caused the overstuffed lifer behind the counter to rub his fat face, blink his bewildered eyes, and start eating a big candybar to console himself. Imagine Van Holt’s surprise a few days later when he heard that same dumb sergeant telling a group of new admirers how he himselfhad caught the famous spy one day when he was on his way to the mess hall.
Holt says there hasn’t been too much excitement since he got out of the army, unless you count the time he was attacked by two mean young punks and shotone of them in the big toe. Holt believes what we need is punk control, not gun control.
After traveling all over the West and Southwest in an aging Pontiac, Van Holt got tired of traveling the day he rolled into Tucson and he has been there ever since, still dreaming of becoming the next Zane Grey or Louis L’Amour when he grows up. Or maybe the next great mystery writer. He likes to write mysteries when he’s not too busy writing westerns or eating Twinkies.
Van Holt can be found:
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Shoot to Kill
by Van Holt
Mark Reston found the woman about the same time the Apaches did. He was not looking for her. They were.
She had sat down on a rock to rest, not far from the stage road. She sat there with her dark head bent, her slender, shapely young body slack with weariness but still graceful and attractive in spite of the weariness and the dust and sweat on her old shirt and faded jeans.
There was a faint rustle of sound and she looked up to see the three Apaches running toward her. They had followed her on foot because she was on foot.
She started to rise, and at that moment Reston stepped out of the rocks with a long-barreled revolver in his hand and began shooting.
One of the Apaches had a rusty old rifle, one a bow, one a knife. Reston shot the one with the rifle first, then the one with the bow. The one with the knife was almost to the woman when Reston’s third shot dropped him.
She looked down at the dead Apaches, then at Reston. If she felt any gratitude it did not show in her cool, appraising blue eyes.
Reston’s eyes were also blue, but a different kind of blue, bleak and remote. Under his low-crowned, flat-brimmed hat, his hair was between blond and brown with a hint of red. His smooth deeply tanned face might have been handsome if it had not been so somber and grim. He was tall and lean and appeared to be around thirty.
“Not bad shooting, for a handgun,” she said calmly, as she watched him reload the dark gun.
“All I ever use.” His eyes swept the brush and rocks behind her. “We better get out of here, ma’am. There may be more around.”
When they were in the rocks he glanced at her and asked, “You lose your horse?”
“My horse and my husband. They ambushed us late yesterday. I sneaked away on foot after they killed him. I didn’t think they could trail me in the dark, but it looks like I was wrong.”
“Sorry about your husband.”
He shot her another glance. Her eyes were cool and indifferent. There was no expression at all on her smooth, beautiful face. She was still in her mid twenties, but talked and behaved like a woman hardened beyond her years. Reston guessed she had been around.
He untied his sorrel gelding, mounted and helped her up behind him. He put the horse in motion and said, “There’s an old shack not far from here. Wasn’t anybody there the last time I came by. That was several years ago. But there’s a waterhole and stages come through every two or three days. Maybe you can get a ride on to wherever you’re headed.”
“We weren’t going anywhere in particular,” she said. “Just going. That’s what we’ve been doing ever since I hooked up with him.”
Reston was silent, letting the horse pick its own way over the boulder-strewn ridge.
“I’m Cassie Tanner,” she said. “What should I call you?”
“Where are you from?”
“It doesn’t matter. I’m not going back.”
“That makes two of us.” After a little silence, she asked, “Mind if I ask where you’re headed?”
“Nowhere in particular. Like your husband.”
“You’re not like my husband.”
“I’m glad to hear it. I gather you didn’t have a very high opinion of him.”
“You gather right. I only married him to get away from home. But I haven’t seen anyone lately that I did have a very high opinion of.”
“Been quite a while since I saw anybody I wanted to get acquainted with,” Reston said.
“Does that include me?”
“You look like the sort of girl any man would like to get acquainted with. But I’m not the sort of man you’d be interested in.”
“What makes you say that?”
“There wouldn’t be any future in it.”
“I wasn’t thinking about the future. That’s a luxury I can’t afford. I’m just trying to survive the present.”
“That’s a full-time job in this country.”
At the edge of the rocks he drew rein and carefully studied the open country sloping down to the stage road, and the barren gray desert stretching south beyond the road. Then he rode on.
The road soon wound its way into more boulder-strewn hills. The weathered frame shack stood between two of these rough, barren hills. No smoke rose from the stone chimney, and the pole corral was empty.
Reston’s attention was on the woman as he got down from the saddle and helped her down. It was hard to keep his mind on anything else when she was that close to him.
“Hold it right there,” a hard voice said, and four dirty, unshaved men stepped out of the rocks behind the waterhole, all of them brandishing six-shooters. The apparent leader, a big man with shaggy black hair and dark eyes, said, “Don’t try anything, friend.”
Reston looked uneasily at the guns and the men holding them. He kept his hand away from his own gun.
“Get his gun, lady,” the big man said. “But don’t try anything foolish with it.”
She looked at Reston, then reached out and lifted his gun from the holster.
The big man nodded his approval and said, “Now move away from him.”
The other three were grinning. Reston took a quick, careful look at them, memorizing their features.
One of them bore a slight resemblance to the big man—he was no runt himself. He had a dark face and small mean black eyes.
The other two were younger men, not much older than the woman. One was short and stout, already starting a potbelly. The other one had red hair and buckteeth.
The big man was watching Reston with a gleam of instant hatred in his hard eyes. “Lady,” he said in an ominous tone, “I want you to kill your husband.”
“He’s not my husband.”
“Then that should make it easy for you.”
“Why do you want me to do it?”
“So you can’t say we did it.”
“What if I don’t?”
“Than we’ll kill you both.”
There was a little silence.
“What if I do kill him?” she asked.
“Than you go with us—alive.”
She looked at Reston. He was watching her with his bleak eyes as though trying to read her thoughts.
Her face hardened and twisted with some emotion as she raised the gun. She cocked the hammer and pulled the trigger.
They did not take time to search him or make sure he was dead, because at that moment another man up in the rocks called down that the stage was coming.
They should have made sure, stage or no stage.
The preceding was from the gritty western novel
Shoot to Kill
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