Johnny D. Boggs turns the plot of the classic crime movie White Heat on its ear -- and into a Western -- in The Killing Shot.

 
Deputy U.S. Marshal Reilly McGilvern is hauling criminals to Yuma when his prison wagon is attacked, and McGilvern is left locked inside to die. When another outlaw gang comes upon the scene, Reilly McGilvern thinks he's lived to see another day...but his problems are just beginning. Bloody Jim Pardo wants to avenge the Civil War - and to steal the kind of weapons that will let him do it. Riding with his mother, his trusted killers and two hostages, Pardo thinks McGilvern is a fearsome criminal. Now, to stop Jim Pardo's bloody madness, McGilvern needs to play his part perfectly.

  "My editor at Kensington Books is a huge fan of James Cagney, and so am I," Boggs says. "When he asked if I could re-imagine White Heat as a Western, it was a challenge I couldn't resist. The Killing Shot certainly isn't a remake of that great movie, but the plot and some of the characters were inspired by that 1949 classic."
The Killing Shot
Pinnacle, 2010
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An Excerpt from The Killing Shot

Chapter One

    That morning found him bleeding more than usual.
    “You gotta keep your head back, Jimmy,” Three-Fingers Lacy coaxed him in her nasal, whiskey-rotted drawl.  “Keep your head back, honey, till the bleedin’ stops.”
    “I keep looking into that sun,” he told her, “I’ll go blind.”
    “Close your eyes, sweetie,” she said, and pressed the dirty, blood-soaked handkerchief tighter against his nose.  “Close ’em tight.”
    Reluctantly, Jim Pardo obeyed, but it didn’t help.  Ten in the morning, and the sun blasted like a furnace.  Of course, she could have suggested that they turn around, so they weren’t facing the sun, but Lacy didn’t have the brains to figure that out.  It didn’t matter.  His neck hurt.  Keep this up, and he’d get a crick.  Blind, with a bent neck, and a bitch of a nosebleed.  Wouldn’t Wade Chaucer and the other members of his gang love that?  He’d be deader than dirt.
    “I’m gonna need another rag or somethin’,” Three-Fingers Lacy said.  “This one’s soaked through.”  She pulled the handkerchief away.  Her tone changed.  “I’m worried about you, Jimmy.  It ain’t never bled this much before.”
    She reached for him, but he shoved her arm away, and slid off the boulder.
    “Jimmy -”
    “Shut up,” he told her.  “Where’s Ma?”
    He pinched his nose, looked at the blood on his fingertips, then wiped them on his vest.  Three-Fingers Lacy dropped the bloody rag onto the dirt.  The ants would love that.  He scratched the palm of his hand against the hammer of his holstered Colt, looked around, tasting the blood as it dripped over his lips.  He cursed his nose, loosened his bandana, and saw how his words had hurt Lacy.
    Hell of a thing, he thought, softening, and gave her a reassuring grin.  “Don’t fret over me, Lacy,” he told her.  “Nosebleed ain’t going to bury Bloody Jim Pardo.  Thanks for looking after me.”
    “It wasn’t nothin’, Jimmy.  Ain’t that what wives is supposed to do?”
    His smile turned crooked.  Wife.  Concubine.  Whore.  Whatever she was.  He rolled up the bandana, and placed it under his nose, holding it there with his left hand, keeping his right near the Colt.
    “Where’s Ma?” he asked again.
    “Up yonder with The Greek.”  She pointed.
    He had to tilt his head back again, but the flow of blood seemed to be slowing.  It wasn’t fair.  Pardo never knew when his nose would start acting up.  He had stopped six or seven bullets, plus a load of buckshot.  He didn’t recollect how many men he had killed, and there were prices on his head here in Arizona Territory, plus in New Mexico Territory, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, even California.  He led a gang of the toughest black-hearts he had ever known.  Seven men, plus his mother and Lacy, not including Bloody Jim Pardo himself.  But his nose, and those cursed weak veins, could stop him cold, damned near put him under.
    He checked his watch.
    “Running late,” he said, and swore.
    “What if it don’t come?” Lacy asked.  “What if there was some accident?”
    “It’ll come,” he said.  “The accident won’t happen.”  With a wry chuckle, he pointed.  “Till right there.”
    “But Jimmy -”
    “Why don’t you pour yourself a bracer?”
    “It’s nine in the morn, Jimmy.  That ain’t proper.”
    The smile and friendliness vanished.  “What the hell do you know about proper?”  He walked down the hill toward the Southern Pacific tracks.


Copyright 2010 by Johnny D. Boggs