The woman was in the lead, two steps ahead of the man. She was also half a head taller than he was, with a narrow, severe sort of face, blond hair pulled back into a tight ponytail behind her head. She looked around at us rather imperiously, her mouth pressed into a thin line. “Who are you people?” she asked. Her voice was clipped and slightly nasal. And her tone immediately set my teeth on edge. “Who wants to know?” I replied, shifting my Winchester to the crook of my arm as I folded my arms in front of me. I could see the badge on her belt and the big yellow letters “FBI” on her blue windbreaker. But her attitude put my back up, especially coming after what we’d just done. “I’m Special Agent Trudeau, and this is Special Agent Miller,” she replied, in the same clipped, arrogant tone of voice. “Now, tell me who you are.” “Lady, unless you’ve got a warrant, which the good police chief over there might object to, given what just happened, I suggest you get a lot more polite in the next five seconds, or you can pound sand,” I told her.
So, figuring out a release date for The Walker on the Hills has been difficult, largely thanks to real life slowing down my productivity, but since I’ve been able to adjust and get back in the swing of things, I can now announce that it will be out on December 15th. Not only that, but in the last 24 hours, we’ve gotten the cover design nailed down, and so I’ve been able to get the pre-order set up. You can find the Kindle pre-order here. And here’s the cover:
It was a long drive to Coldwell, and we didn’t get started until late, so it was getting dark as we drove into town. Perhaps not the most auspicious beginning.
The town itself was set well back from the interstate, a good five miles down a winding county road. It had apparently been on the old highway, before the interstate, and was still hanging on, even though there wasn’t much to keep it alive. There weren’t even many farms in the vicinity, though a sign just as we turned off the interstate, lit up by our headlights, announced the presence of the Bar-13 ranch, about ten miles in the other direction.
Mostly it was five miles of rolling hills, sagebrush, bunchgrass, and the occasional stand of trees in the low ground where there was more water. The trees were already clumps of darkness against the grasslands that were already going gray in the growing twilight.
There weren’t a lot of lights on in Coldwell. There was a gas station on the edge of town. As I got a good look at it, I thought Ray had been rather overly charitable in calling it a “truck stop.” The pumps were ancient and rusty, and the building behind them was dingy, the paint peeling where it wasn’t dirty enough to turn from white to gray. It looked like the windows hadn’t been cleaned in a quarter century at least. At least the lights over the pumps were on, though the building itself was dark.
Only about three streetlights were lit down the main drag. They didn’t help. All they seemed to do was show the decay. Sidewalks were overgrown with weeds, and more were growing out of cracks in the street. Several of the old storefronts were boarded up, and one was visibly sagging toward the street. Another was burned out, black sweeps of soot staining the dingy paint as well as the buildings closest to it.
It wasn’t that late, so there were still a few people out and about, but most towns I’d been in still showed more activity. The place almost looked like a ghost town, with a few scavengers still going through the detritus. But it was still, as far as we knew, a living town, albeit for certain values of “living.”
Well, sort of. Amazon is still being a little screwy; the Kindle version isn’t showing up on searches or my author page, though it was there last night. But, you can now order A Silver Cross and a Winchester, even though the system is being a little jankety at the moment. Paperback is here: http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Cross-Winchester-Peter-Nealen/dp/1492834009/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1383153465&sr=8-5&keywords=peter+nealen Kindle is here: http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Cross-Winchester-Peter-Nealen-ebook/dp/B00GAAQE2C/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1383105199&sr=8-6&keywords=peter+nealen It is on Smashwords, and is pending review for the Premium catalog. Once it clears that, it’ll be on Nook and Apple in a few weeks.