Thursday, March 3, 2016

THE VALLES CALDERA: Book Two In The Angus Series by Gary L. Stuart

Book Two in the Angus Series, The Valles Caldera, is set in the high mountains and fast running rivers in Northern New Mexico. From the little village of Chama, down the Rio Chama to its confluence with the Rio Grande, Angus rides with his U.S. Marshal badge on his vest, a Colt .45 on his belt and a 30.40 Winchester in his saddle scabbard. His horse, No Mas, forded both icy rivers with considerable circumspection. On the way to Albuquerque, they pass by the Valles Caldera

More than a million years ago, a volcanic eruption created a 13-mile wide enclosed caldera filled with water fifty miles due west of Santa Fe. To get there you had to ride across the infamous M-Slash ranch dominated by a bad hombre called Mendoza Mendoza. On the ranch he was called El Patron. He was obsessed by machismo and sworn to kill the gringo lawman who dared to best his sons on Bernalillo’s main street. Angus interrupted Mendoza’s chest-pumping sons as they accosted a woman of the evening. Angus didn’t know them and had never heard of their bandito father. He was not after Mendoza or his boys; he was investigating one of New Mexico’s most famous legal cases—the hanging of Albuquerque Town Marshal Milton J. Yarberry in 1885. Yarberry, one of the state’s most colorful historical characters, was hung by the “jerk method” in downtown Albuquerque. After witnessing that grim event, Angus meets Jill Garrison, a fictional character, who changes him in ways he could never have imagined. She was New Mexico’s first female gunsmith and its first high-end shooting instructor.

High mountain peaks and volcanic ring fractures dominate the caldera. It became a life-sustaining place for generations of Indians, Hispanics, and Anglos. This novel ends with an epic horseback, galloping gun-battle between Angus and his posse hard on the trail of Mendoza-Mendoza and his boys on the rim of the Valles Caldera. They’d ridden all the way across the M-Slash ranch in mid-winter to the frozen upper rim of the Valles Caldera. There, gunfire rains down on the posse as Mendoza Mendoza takes his final revenge.
  • Series: The Angus Series (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Gleason & Wall Publishing
  • Published: December 1, 2015


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In Book One in The Angus Series (“Ten Shoes Up”), Angus came down off his mountain refuge, became a U.S. Marshal and rejoined civilization. That was in 1881. In Book Two, almost two years have passed when Angus gets another assignment. He’s back in the saddle, riding the Rio Chama south to its confluence with the Rio Grande in New Mexico. “The Valles Caldera” is a pressure cooker novel set in New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains.

For millions of years the caldera escaped human notice. In the 1700s it sustained generations of Indians, Hispanics, and Anglos. It also became a perfect hideout for Mendoza Mendoza and his men. They hope to ambush Marshal Angus and his posse. But Angus and No Mas won’t be stopped. 

“The unmistakable boom of a 12-guage shotgun came from up above, at the rim of the caldera. Then, muzzle fire and sharp cracks from our right, up the steep trail, and close. The shotgun went silent, but the high ping and clink of rifle fire rained down on us from everywhere. I heard what I thought was a horse hitting hard earth. The shooters kept firing. I could hear horses crashing through heavy underbrush, men cussing, and return fire flaring up. Sliding my hand down the reins, I tightened up on No Mas, drew my Buntline, and put the spurs to him.” Then, all hell broke loose.
  • Series: The Angus Series (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Gleason & Wall Publishing
  • Published: March 5, 2015

Meet the Author
Gary L Stuart I earned degrees in business and law at the University of Arizona, and practiced law in Phoenix Arizona for a long time. In the 1990s, I started writing long form, outside the office. Two text books later, I wanted more, which led to my first novel (“The Gallup 14”) in 2000. I grew up in Gallup New Mexico and always “hankered” to write a book about rural life in the southwest. My second novel, (“AIM For The Mayor—Echoes From Wounded Knee”), came along in 2008. Between those two novels, I wrote two large non-fiction books about famous legal cases (“Miranda—The Story of America’s Right to Remain Silent” and “Innocent Until Interrogated—The Story of the Buddhist Temple Massacre”). 

My latest non-fiction book (“Anatomy of A Confession—The Debra Milke Case”) will be released in late 2015. Once that trio of legal non-fiction books is up, I’m hoping to stick with fiction for the next decade. I teach creative writing to law students at Arizona State University. I write every day. My stack includes hundreds of short stories, articles, monologs, op-eds and blogs about writing and writers. I got back to my cowboy roots in the nineteen-eighties, which might explain why I’m now writing about life out west in the eighteen-eighties. Gallup, Tucson and Darlene are my horses; they’ve taught me a good deal about who I am over the last thirty years. Ten Shoes Up is the first of a three-book series set in the 1880s along the New Mexico Colorado border. My protagonist is an iconic 1880s cowboy. 

Mostly, he rides alone in the high country on the New Mexico-Colorado border looking for outlaws, in-laws, and trouble. It comes to him naturally. And often when he talks his horse into crossing a new river. These books can’t be booted down into the traditional western genre. They chronicle the challenges that young men and women faced at the turn of the 19th Century. From Angus’s point of view, as portrayed on my blog, not all that much has changed.  

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