Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome Van Holt to the blog! He’s here to share about his book, Rubeck’s Raiders. If this book sounds like something that you would be interested in reading, please find a buy link below and pick up a copy.
“Step aside Louis L’Amour, another great Western writer is here…” –Heather
“I had a feeling that Van Holt…might actually be the successor to Zane Gray, a master Western storysmith, whose novels set the style of a generation.” –Stern0
“Van Holt is King of the Spaghetti Western…” –Rarebird1
The Civil war divided the country and tore families apart. After the war, two half brothers became legendary gunfighters and cowboys in the old West–and deadly enemies.
Rubeck’s Raiders, a confederate army unit, were so brutal, even their own army disowned them. When the leaders’ son and paramour were killed one night, he knew it was one of his own men. A man hunt that spanned 10 years ensued.
The murdered girls’ younger sister saw a face in the window that horrible night, and swore to track her sister’s killer down. She hires trained killers to hunt him so she can get her revenge.
That’s how both half brothers became two of the most wanted men in the old West.
Changing names and identities, moving from frontier town to frontier town, hiding out – all became a way of life, along with having to fight for their lives at almost every turn.
One half brother knew he did it. The other was blamed for it. One didn’t want anything to do with the other. The other was protecting him.
They are all in one deadly pursuit to get him first.
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.
Rubeck’s Raiders is available:
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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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by Van Holt
One cold rainy night toward the end of the Civil War, nine men halted their tired horses in the dripping trees on a hill overlooking a small isolated town in southwestern Missouri. They were all that was left of Rubeck’s Raiders.
Rubeck—old Rube to friend and foe alike—was a stout black-bearded man in his early forties. “I’d like to ride down myself,” he said gruffly. “But the old woman’s dead and I ain’t got no purty girl waitin’ down there fur me, neither. All I’d find waitin’ down there fur me is a whole passel o’ bluebellies, like as not. They know most of us is from around here. You’re a fool fur wantin’ to chance it yoreself, Wade. But I ain’t so old yit that I can’t recollect what it’s like to have a purty girl waitin’ fur you, and to wonder iff’n she really is still waitin’. That Lucy Talcott has done run off with some handsome young bluebelly, like as not.”
A few of the heavily armed guerrillas chuckled, and Wade Harmon, not quite twenty, shifted uncomfortably in his wet saddle. He remained silent as usual, keeping his thoughts to himself.
“Well, go on down there and see her then,” Rubeck said impatiently. It’s yore own neck, whether it’s the bluebellies or old Syrus that catches you foolin’ around down there. Before you leave, round up that triflin’ no-good son o’ mine and bring him on back with you, iff’n the bluebellies ain’t done rounded him up or shot him. He shoulda come back a month ago. He wasn’t hit that bad. And while you’re at it, why don’t you bring that half brother of yourn along, too. He’s plenty old enough to fight. He ain’t much younger than you, is he?”
“A year and a half. He’s eighteen now.”
“He should have been with us two or three years now!” Rubeck bellowed. “But them Turners allus was hard ones to figger. Wouldn’t surprise me none if Dave ain’t gone off and joined up with them bluebellies.”
“I sort of doubt it,” Wade Harmon said.
“Well, git on down there,” Rubeck told him. “Don’t keep that girl waitin’. And don’t furgit to bring Beau back with you. Iff’n he ain’t well by now he never will be. We’ll be camped twenty miles south. You know the place.”
Harmon rode on down toward the scattered lights of the hamlet while the others circled around and headed south, keeping out of sight in the timber and brush.
The Talcotts lived in a large two-story white house just outside of town. Harmon, knowing there were Union troops in the area, left his horse tied in the brush and approached cautiously on foot, moving toward the lamplit window of Lucy’s room on the ground floor.
At the edge of the yard he suddenly stopped, staring at her window. He saw Lucy, radiant and beautiful in a white dress, smiling and talking to a stout, black-haired young man. As Harmon watched in disbelief, Beau Rubeck, with an air of supreme confidence, took the slender laughing girl in his heavy arms and kissed her—and she kissed him back!
Wade Harmon began to understand why Beau Rubeck had been in no hurry to rejoin the remnant of his father’s guerrilla band.
As he was trying to decide what to do, he saw a shadowy movement at the corner of the house. A moment later a tall slender young man in the blue uniform of a Union soldier stood in the yard with his back to Harmon, looking through the window at Lucy Talcott and Beau Rubeck. Harmon was standing in the shadows at the edge of the trees, and in the darkness and the rain the Union soldier had not seen him.
Very slowly and carefully, Harmon drew a heavy revolver from his belt and began to edge back into the trees.
He had not seen the Union soldier draw a gun. The soldier’s body hid the gun from him and he did not see the soldier raise the gun and take aim. The gun roared twice, glass shattered, and the second bullet cut short the scream that ended Lucy Talcott’s life.
In horror Wade Harmon saw both Lucy and Beau Rubeck falling, and he flung up his gun, cocking it.
The Union soldier spun around, cocking his own gun, and now in the rainy shaft of light from the window Harmon could see the young man’s blond hair and narrow handsome face.
“Dave!” he whispered in horrified disbelief.
Dave Turner froze and for a long moment they stood staring at each other in the rainy night, each holding a cocked revolver in his hand, pointed at the other.
Then without a word or a sound Dave Turner turned and disappeared around the corner of the house, leaving his half brother standing there in the rain with the look of horror and disbelief on his face.
After a long moment Wade Harmon went toward the window, walking swiftly and silently like one in a nightmare, which this seemed to be. He knew he should be running for his horse in the brush, but he had to see if Lucy was still alive.
He pressed his gaunt bearded face to the streaming window and peered in. Lucy Talcott and Beau Rubeck both lay still on the carpeted floor—still and dead. Dave Turner had always been a good shot, perhaps even better than Wade Harmon. He would not have killed Lucy accidentally—he had meant to kill her. But why?
Harmon became aware that a young girl of perhaps ten or eleven had come into the room and was staring with wide frightened eyes at his face pressed against the window. Like Lucy, she had glossy black hair and green eyes. She had grown a lot since Harmon had last seen her but it had to be Lucy’s little sister, Lorna.
He saw the girl’s lips move, framing his name, and he turned away and fled into the dark rainy night.
The preceding was from the gritty western novel
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