top of page
  • N. N. Light

Living By The Code by Andrew Weston is a Best Books '23 pick #western #historicalwestern #oldwest #bestbooks #giveaway



Title: Living By The Code

 

Author: Andrew Weston

 

Genre: Western

 

Book Blurb:


The old west can be a harsh and unforgiving place, even for those like Jacob and Noah Pearl, who are used to the rigors of frontier living. So, when ghosts from the past return to threaten the peace and stability of their community, they’re quick to respond, and go out of their way to eradicate that threat before the shadow it casts can spread too far.


Some might view their response as an overreaction. Ruthless, even. But the Pearl Brothers and the residents of Elder Grove look on it as following the Code of the West. A code that never wavers in the protection of you, your own, and seeing justice done.

 

Excerpt:

 

“So we got us a Pinkerton in town?” Max breathed, his eyes glittering fiercely in the dark.

 

“He certainly has that look about him,” Calbert replied, “So the boss is gonna make sure. He’ll be leavin’ the saloon any time now, an’ will make his way down to the Planters Hotel. If our mystery man follows, we’ll need to arrange a little encounter so we’s can check him over.”

 

“An’ if he’s a Pinkerton?” Bobby growled, he cherubic features radiating with an intensity that was alarming to behold.

 

“Then he’ll suffer an unfortunate accident,” Calbert replied. “I’m sure you’s two will come up with something suitably poetic?”

 

“Is it dark at the back of the hotel?” Max asked, his face a mask of concentration.

 

“It is,” Calbert replied. “It backs onto the schoolyard, which is obviously closed at this time of night.”

 

The two cousins looked at each other for a moment, and began to smirk.

 

“An eye for an eye?” Max suggested, his smile turning into a full on grin.

 

“Perfect!” Bobby replied, “Given who we might be dealin’ with.”

 

Confused by the expression, Calbert echoed, “An eye for an eye?”

 

“Oh, you’ll see,” Max replied. “Now c’mon. We need t’ get into position if this is goin’ t’ work.”

 

All three picked up the pace, and with Calbert leading the way, soon found themselves in the side alley leading to Ash Street, where the school yard overlooked the rear of the hotel.

 

Shallow steps led down from a wide, sturdy door. And from what Calbert could see by the light of the single lantern set above the lintel, the length of the hotel’s back wall was lined by stacked crates and barrels, and a number of large water butts, creating a mirage of confusing shadows. A prime location for an ambush.

 

Keen not to get in the way, Calbert asked, “Is there anythin’ you need from me?”

 

“We’ll be keepin’ it simple,” Max replied. “All we want you t’ do is create a diversion. Somethin’ that gets him lookin’ your way. Then we’ll step in an’ do the rest.”

 

A diversion, Calbert mused, an idea already forming in his mind.  He reached for his tobacco pouch and papers. “If in doubt, a quick smoke always comes in handy.”

 

He set to, and by the time he’d pinched off the end of his hand-made, Bobby and Max were nowhere to be seen, having made themselves a part of the surrounding scenery. It wasn’t until that moment that Calbert began to appreciate how isolated little pockets of the town could be. Why, he could only just make out the occasional raised voice from off the street, or the sporadic clanging coming from the blacksmith’s across the way.

 

And then it was a matter of waiting.

 

Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait too long. Less than five minutes later, and footsteps thudded along the boards toward him from the direction of the main drag. A few seconds later, and Frank Reno appeared.

 

Calbert slipped into his roll immediately, swaying on unsteady legs as if he was as tight as a skunk. Holding up his cigarette for inspection, he said, “Hey, buddy. D’ya have a spare . . . a spare mash I could borrow?” hic!

 

“Spare mash?” Reno growled, clearly sussing what was happening and playing along. “Don’t waste my time, idiot. An’ sober up.”

 

He pushed roughly past, as if Calbert was no more significant than a turd to be scraped off the bottom of his shoe, swept up the steps, and into the hotel. A burst of bright light spilled from the corridor within, along with a smattering of softer piano music. And then the door slammed shut, allowing the flickering semi-darkness to return.

 

“Well, that wush un . . . hic . . . unfriendly,” Calbert declared, forlornly, before slumping down heavily on the bottom step, head in hands, neck bowed, peeping out through his fingers.

 

More footsteps approached. Widely spaced. Slow and cautious. An’ here he comes.

 

A silhouette distinguished itself from the gloom, gradually transposing into the visage of the man he’d seen earlier in the saloon. Acting surprised, Calbert leaped to his feet, “Whoa! Hey fella, why’d ya creepin’ around like that?”

 

And then he grinned like a sun-baked possum, staggered, and held up his cigarette again, “I don’t . . . hic . . . I don’t shuppose you got a spare a match?” Lurching forward, he made a point of missing his footing and fell toward his unsuspecting prey.

 

Reacting instinctively, the mystery man moved to catch him, “For pity’s sake. Can’t you watch where . . .?”

 

That’s as far as he got.

 

Two more silhouettes appeared, boiling up from behind the crates, and filled with dark intent. A dull, heavy thud announced the instant Max’s gun connected with the back of the man’s head, folding him to the floor.

 

Heart thumping, Calbert spun in a tight circle, taking in the alleyway, the darkened windows, the turnings leading back out to the main street, the empty schoolyard. Not a soul was in sight. We did it!

 

By the time he’d finished, Bobby had emptied their victim’s pockets, and was already rifling through the pages of a worn notebook. A billfold lay on the ground next to him, with an exposed document showing details of one Fergus Stuart’s credentials, along with a silver-plated badge.

 

Calbert stooped down to examine the heading on the letter, and the inscription etched into the metal of the badge itself on either side of a six-pointed star: Pinkerton National Detective Agency. He clenched his fist. I knew it! And then out loud, “So, how do you want to play this?”

 

Buy Link:

 

 


What makes your featured book a must-read?

 

Because this book really emphasize why living by the code was so essential to frontier living. (And yes, you ignored the code at your peril).

 

Giveaway –

 

Enter to win a $45 Amazon gift card:

 

 

Open Internationally.

 

Runs December 18 – December 31, 2023.

 

Winner will be drawn on January 2, 2024.

 


Author Biography:

 

Born in the UK, Andrew Weston was captivated by the great western shows of the 1950s and 60s, where the likes of Wagon Train, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, and the High Chaparral were regular fare on TV.

 

Having served around the world in both the military and law enforcement for well over three decades, Weston now lives in the Aegean Greek Islands with his wonderful wife of 24 years. It is from there that he continues his quest to write the perfect story, and discover a film to rival, “Once Upon a Time in the West.”

 

Social Media Links:

 

Twitter: @WestonAndrew

1 Comment


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Dec 29, 2023

Thank you, Andrew, for sharing your book in our Best Books of '23 Bookish Event!

Like
bottom of page