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The Crooked Desert

A crook is on the loose…

Lone wanderer Steve McCade thinks he’s seen it all until he witnesses a dying man being turned away.

The man – Joe Scruple is on his last legs, having been shot just below the heart; McCade knows the man is goner but better to die in comfort than on horseback.

With his dying breath, Scruple makes McCade promise him something:

He must save Alan Frazer from the gallows.

Frazer’s been framed for the murder of Luther Verne, who found a mine of borax – a very rare material that is more profitable than gold.

But just as Scruple is about to reveal the key witness, he’s succumbs to his wound and all McCade has to go on is ‘the Star girl’.

Before he can even get his thoughts together, McCade hears a gunshot and then the woman he saw turn away Scruple comes barging in.

It turns out she is Frazer’s daughter, one Miss Belle, and she and Joe were lovers.

Belle had no choice but to turn him away, as if Scruple put one foot in her door, he would’ve been shot down by Luke Tyson’s men.

Tyson has his fingers in a lot of pies, including the borax trade, and the law won’t touch him.

Instead, it’s Tyson who dictates whose public enemy no.1 and it was him who pushed for Alan Frazer’s hanging.

And what’s more, someone outside of Tyson’s men is trying to kill her – a gunman for hire called Louis the Creole.

The only piece of luck in this whole thing is that Tyson is delaying Frazer’s hanging, as he believes that Verne told Frazer the location of the borax.

McCade and Belle have just seven days to prove Frazer’s innocence and catch Verne’s real killer.

But Tyson is the on warpath and then there’s the mysterious employer of Louis the Creole…

Can they solve the riddle of the ‘Star Girl’ before it’s too late?

A classic of its genre, The Crooked Desert is written by one the master’s of the old Westerns. A brilliantly suspenseful story paired with heart-pounding action.

Praise for Denis Hughes

“A classic of the genre” – Tom Casey, bestselling author of Trade Off


Pioneering Press is a western imprint of Endeavour Press – the UK’s leading independent digital publisher. We publish new and classic westerns by authors from the US and the UK.

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