WEST OF THE LAW by Clarence Budington Kelland

"Masterful. Recommended reading." —Arizona Republic

Some people said he was a dolt and fool, others called Bednigo Claypool a sage and prophet, others a manipulative politician and yet others a ruthless killer. Bednigo was willing to be all that and more to insure the Union Pacific drove through the western lands and linked a continent. He only knew one thing: he would drive the railroad through with fists, gun or sacrifice of his life. His only support was a homely waitress and a young boy who was willing to die six times over for Bednigo.

Arrayed against him were the Secretary of the Interior, a scheming beauty as smart as she was lovely, an army of the badland's most vicious thugs—and the deadliest gunman west of the law. The odds were long—but Bednigo never reckoned odds.

The riveting pace of Kelland's Westerns, especially his Arizona Trilogy, is said to have been an influence on the work of Louis L'Amour.

"Written with the speed of a bullet and the impact of an express train, Clarence Budington Kelland has based his tale, one of the most astonishing chapters in the winning of the West, on solid history. It is loaded with suspense right up to the multiple climax, where Mr. Kelland springs his surprises in the way that has made his name a legend. First rate." —Washington Times-Herald

"A mysterious depth of characterization." —Arizona Star

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About the Author

Clarence Budington Kelland was author of nearly 100 novels of mystery and romantic suspense, had enough careers for several men: attorney, reporter, manufacturer of clothespins, director of a major newspaper group, and more. Kelland became best known as a fiction writer, penning some 100 novels, and selling them as serials to the biggest and highest paying magazines of the time—like The Saturday Evening Post, The American Magazine, Colliers, and Cosmopolitan. Many were immortalized on film, of which the romantic suspense comedy and Oscar-winner, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, is undoubtedly the most famous. Kelland appeared alongside Agatha Christie, Rex Stout and Erle Stanley Gardner in the same magazines, but was the most popular of the four. The New York Times described Kelland’s novels as “lively stories, designed to prick the jaded palate, that keep readers pleasantly entertained” and noted that “Kelland demonstrates the emotions of his lovers with a psychological penetration.” Kirkus Reviews called his novels “Bright and breezy, with plus appeal for murder-mystery addicts.” His magazine publishers kept besieging him for more novels because every time they serialized one of them (typically in 6-8 installments), circulation shot upward. Kelland obliged, and produced far more each year than his publisher (Harper and Row) could keep up with, leaving more than three dozen unpublished in book form when he died. His inimitable characters, trademark dialogue and deftly plotted stories, according to Harper, “made him an American tradition and won him more loyal, devoted readers than almost any other living author.” Kelland, as ever self-depreciating, simply described himself as “the best second-rate writer in the world.” His legions of fans, old and new, would likely disagree. There was nothing second-rate about his work.