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Rattlesnake by C. Lee McKenzie is a Western Fiction/Romance Event pick #historicalwestern #youngadult #teenlit #western #giveaway

Title: Rattlesnake


Author: C. Lee McKenzie


Genre: Young Adult


Book Blurb:


The desert town of Rattlesnake isn’t a destination. It’s a last resort. In the 1800s, it was packed with miners seeking their fortune from silver, today it’s a dying town.

Newcomers who threaten to take any remaining jobs are discouraged from staying. When the Gutheries arrive they’re shunned and harassed. While their late uncle left them a house and a silver mine, the house is a shambles and the mine is defunct. They’re almost out of money, so they have no choice but to stay. And then they discover they’ve inherited something else. Her name is Catherine, and she’s been dead for over a hundred years. Now, she needs help.




During the trial and the day that came after, the house was silent. The four of them kept busy with chores, but when they came together, it was almost as if they’d taken a vow not to speak.


They moved like ghosts, and the irony wasn’t lost on Jonah. Ken’s words kept running through his head. “They hung him two days later.”


That night, just as the sun backlit the mountain ridge, Jonah closed the barn door and was walking to the house when the sound of a horse on the run brought him to a halt. A dust cloud formed behind a single horse and rider coming toward him.


The man reigned in next to Jonah and said, “You Mac’s boy?”


“No, just a friend.”


“Then I have something heavy for you to do, friend.” The man leaned forward in his saddle, bringing his face closer to Jonah’s. “Mac’s gone. Hung. You tell the girl and her brother.” He held out a pouch and said, “Here. Mac’s belongings.” Then he turned his horse away.


“Me? No!” Jonah yelled at the man’s back. “Wait! About Mac—”


“Body’s at the undertaker's,” the man said and galloped back the way he’d come.


Jonah ran after him, yelling for him to stop and waving the terrible pouch filled with all that Mac had taken with him that night. But the man and his horse disappeared down the road, leaving Jonah with a burden larger than any he’d ever carried before. He halted, watching the dust from the horse’s hooves billow into the air. A growl rose from somewhere so deep inside him that his whole body shook. Raking his fingers through his hair, he looked to the sky. “I can’t do this.”


Catherine came to the kitchen door, wiping her hands on her apron and looking after the rider galloping down the road. “Who was that?”


Before he lost his nerve, he said roughly, “Mac’s gone. These are his things.” His hand shaking, he held out the pouch.


Disbelief filled her face. Then, as if she were taking something made of fragile glass from him, she retrieved the pouch and held it close to her. “He sent me home and told me not to go near town.” Her tears came now. “I shouldn’t have listened to him. I should have stayed with him.”


“No, you did right. It would have been terrible for Mac to have you there. It would have hurt him too much.”


He wanted to gather her into his arms and take care of her, but he didn’t. He didn’t because how could he help a girl who was already a ghost? How could he care for her so much, this girl with gray eyes, this girl who’d lived so long ago, this girl who’d died more than a hundred years before he was born? His mind spun until he didn’t know who he was, or even where or when he was anymore.


Her stunned look was more than he could take. He turned away.


“Jonah.” Catherine touched his arm. “Help me.”


It was exactly what she’d said to him that first time in his room, the same pleading, sad words. He looked at her now, and against his better judgment, he put his arms around her. “That’s why I’m here, I think. But I just don’t know how.”


“I don’t either, but you must help me prove my pa isn’t guilty.” She cried against his shoulder for a long while, and Jonah held her, helpless and miserable. He understood both of these feelings very well, and he hated them. When she pushed away, she looked up into his face. “How can this be happening?”


Jonah didn’t know if she meant what had happened to her dad or about the two of them, but he didn’t care. “If I knew, I’d tell you straight away.”


“Yes,” Catherine said. “You would. That I’m sure of.”


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):









What makes your featured book a must-read?


Rattlesnake is a captivating blend of suspense, mystery, and forbidden love. Set in the Nevada desert in both modern times and the silver mining era of the 1800s, it weaves suspense, mystery, and supernatural intrigue into a compelling narrative.


Giveaway –


Enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card:



Open Internationally.


Runs April 23 – April 30, 2024.


Winner will be drawn on May 1, 2024.


Author Biography:

Until recently, my writing was all about what was real and current in the world. I’ve written about cutting (Sliding on the Edge, 2009), death of a parent (The Princess of Las Pulgas, 2010), illiteracy (Double Negative, 2014–voted as one of the top ten novels for YA), homophobia (Sudden Secrets, 2014), injustice (Not Guilty, 2019, and paraplegia (Shattered, 2021–finalist in the Indie Book Awards). Then suddenly…Rattlesnake, my first other-worldly YA.


It was probably a reaction to what was happening in my personal life as well as the world around me during the Covid shutdown, but I needed escape, and I thought others did as well, so I gave this story my best shot.


When I’m not writing, I’m hiking or traveling or practicing yoga. I love to cook and I love to eat. I love to talk with friends, and while I’m not a snob about it, I appreciate good wine—all of these seem to pair well of an evening.


I live on the edge of a forest and don’t hate cities, but I can only take them in short stays before I itch to return to where there are a lot of trees or an ocean. 


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2 comentarios

Miembro desconocido
29 abr

My favorite Western novel is 3:10 To Yuma. I commented under Michael Law.

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N. N. Light
N. N. Light
24 abr

Thank you for sharing your book in our western event!

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