A short novel. Actually, my first completed story written many years ago. More of a traditional styled western.
Ranch foreman Hack Taylor was getting settled in his cabin for the night when he heard a voice out of the darkness. A former employee, J. T Finley, straggled in, hatless and afoot, announcing he’d been accused of a murder he didn’t commit. Hack vowed to do what was needed to get him out of his predicament and offered him a job at the ranch. However, J. T. refused the offer, afraid the lawmen would also arrest Hack for aiding a murderer. Instead, he decided to hide out in a line shack near the ranch.
But when the other two ranch hands ran into a posse looking for J. T. in the nearby town of Sycamore Springs, Hack and ranch owner Wilson Forrest decided to bring him back to the ranch. They discovered, however, that the posse had been there first—and had lynched the young cowhand.
The two made it their mission to get to the bottom of why he was lynched instead of brought to trial. But they knew they couldn’t do it alone. It took the help of two of the most famous Texas Rangers in the state. And together they set out to seek justice in the cross timbers.
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My first published novel, with a goal of being a fun read but as realistic as possible.
In the fall of 1868, eighteen-year-old Aaron LaCroix’s job at a freight landing on the Mississippi is falling apart, with the river being so low, so he makes up his mind to leave his family and join the Army. At his post in the far northwest of Indian Territory as a part of the Seventh Cavalry, he makes the acquaintance of Reid McKinstry, a lanky teenage Texan whose outgoing personality provides a stark contrast to LaCroix’s taciturn one. Despite their different personalities, the two become friends.
While on a special detail the two encountered and defeated a renegade gang which was considered one of the most ruthless in all of Indian Territory. They managed to rescue many members of their company, which had been attacked by the gang. Although they were hailed as heroes back at the fort, their superiors in Washington decided that they should have brought the sole survivor of the gang in for trial instead of hanging him for his part in the massacre of the company. Instead of a court martial, however, they were allowed to simply leave the Army and seek their fortunes elsewhere.
Over the next several months they joined McKinstry’s old comrades in driving a cattle herd north to Abilene, Kansas. From there they tried their luck as bounty hunters, partnering temporarily with an old mountain man, who led them south back into Indian Territory in search of a wanted outlaw.
Later, they joined forces with a couple of former Texas Rangers, who had put together two ad hoc ranger companies to hunt down renegades wreaking havoc among frontier settlements. Eventually they are sent on a special mission that culminates with another exploit that cements their reputation as heroes, and come into contact with someone they did not expect from LaCroix’s past.
J. M. “Mike” Buchanan has a BS in Wildlife Ecology from Oklahoma State University and has worked as a federal park ranger, private security officer, truck driver and currently as a heavy equipment operator at a rock quarry. He has always had an interest in American history, especially the westward expansion of the frontier.
Cross Timbers, A Novel of Adventure in the Old West is his first published novel, which he describes as “not a typical shoot ‘em up western" but more of a novel set in the west. He wanted his characters to have distinct personalities, realistic experiences and be a fun and entertaining story.
His second novel, Justice in the Cross Timbers, was actually written many years ago, but recently published. More of a "traditional" western, it serves as a sequel to Cross Timbers. Further novels in the series are planned.
Buchanan enjoys collecting and restoring antique blacksmithing and woodworking tools as well as other homesteading artifacts. He also likes horseback riding on his 160 acres in southeast Oklahoma that he shares with his wife Peggy.
Feel free to contact him to let him know how you enjoyed his books.