Diamonds and Doom is my thirty-second western/frontier novel. I wrote it in the fall of 2021, and it was published by Thorndike Press in September of 2023. It was on the schedule to be published by Five Star, but Five Star discontinued its western line, so it was released as a large print original by Thorndike. (All of my previous Five Star titles were reprinted as large print editions by Thorndike, as both companies were owned by Cengage.) This novel had a bit of a delay in its release, but it made its appearance in durable format with an intriguing cover.

Diamonds and Doom is a Dunbar novel, the fifth in that series, along with a novella and a short story. In this novel, Dunbar comes to the Hook Ranch near the town of Eminence and goes to work as a ranch hand. The narrator is Edwin Ryerson, the ranch cook, who is known as Rye. He has a niece named Vivian, who works at the mercantile in town. As the story gets under way, one of the ranch hands comes to Rye and ingratiates himself as he tells Rye that he hopes to propose to Vivian. Before long, the vapid young suitor turns up dead. The story becomes more complicated with more victims.

Rye accompanies Dunbar to places such as the mercantile where Vivian works, the restaurant where Vivian goes to work to escape the attentions of the owner of the mercantile, the Double Eagle Saloon, and a brothel named the Blue Diamond. The search for truth takes them into the tawdry world of a former street woman who is trying to reform herself as she raises the orphaned child of another street woman who was murdered in Ogallala.

In the final segment, Rye and Dunbar pursue the main suspect in the snow in order to try to bring him to earth.

This story also features Medora Deville, a lady friend of Dunbar who has appeared in other Dunbar stories. In this story, she opens a restaurant where Vivian and the former street woman go to work.

In writing this novel, I met the challenges of a Dunbar story. Each story has a new narrator as Dunbar goes to a new locale, so I had to develop a narrator who is different from the others. Rye is an older character who is working to overcome his fear of horses, having been thrown and injured in late middle age. He has to work his way up to being able to participate in reconnaissance and then the chase scene. I had to develop a story in which the narrator could be present at all of the incidents. I also had to develop a story about a wrong that is worthy of Dunbar’s efforts, as he does not investigate any old crime such as theft. He works on old crimes that entail abuse of minors, women, ethnic minorities, low socioeconomic characters, and a combination of those groups, and he deals with perpetrators who present sinister threats to the social body.

I thought I wrote a good story that mattered. As it goes out into the world as a hardcover large print, it might not have a huge readership to begin with. I hope it does well, though, and I hope it gains more audience in the future.

Diamonds and Doom is available at Amazon.

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