The piano man has one rule: Don't get involved. Just play the songs. But can he live by that rule when he witnesses a horrific crime? And what price will he pay if he breaks it?
Stretching a point to regard this one as a read in its own right, but hey it was released on its own and you can buy it on Amazon, so I'm not arguing.
1880 and the Bad Dog Saloon near Fort Laramie, our unnamed piano man witnesses a trapper named Morgan bet his 15 year old daughter at poker.
Two of the other men at the table folded then. They were cold men, hard men, but that was a little too much even for them.
Ray Tabor didn't fold. He owned the saloon, and compared to him the snow outside was warm.
Morgan loses and Tabor takes possession of his daughter. Our piano man watches and listens but doesn't stir. Not yet anyway. Morgan makes several attempts to take his daughter back - all rebuffed violently and our piano man listens nightly to Tabor enjoying making music with our betting chip.
Morgan grows more desperate, the situation escalates and our ivory tinkler breaks his golden rule of never getting involved.
Great setting, quite a dark tale of a more primitive time, nice pay off at the end. A great teaser from the author, tempting you to try his longer work.
Bill Crider is a crime and western writing legend - over 20 books in his Sheriff Dan Rhodes series and countless other novels to his name.
I read the first in his two book Ellie Tane series - Outrage at Blanco back in 2015. Texas Vigilante sits waiting for me.
Read in March, 2017
Published - 2014
Page count - 17
Source - Brash Books
Format - Kindle