"A first-class job." —The Oakland Tribune

It was Curt Traynor's birthday, and Curt was a young man who liked to celebrate the occasion with a drink and a friendly brawl. Curt had been working like a dog and his partner in the Tomahawk ranch, Frank Ballard, felt Curt had earned the right to blow off a little steam.

What worried Ballard was Del Hudspeth, who owned the Crazy K. Hudspeth wanted the Tomahawk and recently had been hiring men who seemed to have more experience with six-shooters than herding cows. But Ballard figured if they hit the local saloon for a few quick ones and headed back to the Tomahawk, he could avoid the Crazy K bunch and keep Curt shy of any trouble.

But Ballard figured wrong. Someone, probably from the Crazy K, lured Curt outside and when Ballard went out to check on things that someone shot Curt six times from the darkness, making his birthday his death-day as well.

Worse, whoever pulled the trigger framed things to make it look like Ballard had done it...and murdered his own best friend. Ballard shot back and when the sheriff arrived, Ballard was standing over Curt's body with the smoke still rising from his gun. Since Ballard inherited Curt's share of the Tomahawk, he had a good motive for the killing and most folks fingered him for the murderer.

Unless Ballard acted fast he knew he would face a murder trial and a public hanging. Somehow he had to escape and find the ghost gun that killed his partner and the man who had pulled the trigger. And even if he did, Ballard knew Hudspeth and the Crazy K riders would be waiting on the open plains to intercept him with loaded guns.

For on a range where he could no longer tell friend from foe, Ballard's fight to save Tomahawk had become a total struggle for survival—for his life as well as Tomahawk ranch.

"A western with a twist, a body with six bullet holes from a non-existent gun." —The Tampa Bay Times

In this enthralling novel of the old west, you will meet:

FRANK BALLARD — For him, the trail to Tomahawk ranch seemed to run through Death Valley.

NORMA TRAYNOR — She inherited Ballard's dead partner's half of Tomahawk ranch, and turned out to be anything but a silent partner.

DEL HUDSPETH — He thought he was too big to do his own dirty work, but he was really just too little to fight like a man.

FORD CUMMINGS — The way this frontier lawyer picked his clients, he couldn't lose a case.

SAM EVANS — Maybe justice is blind, but this deputy wasn't.

MATTHEW McQUAID — Careful of his own reputation, he was oddly careless of other men's.


EDWIN BOOTH was the author of over fifty classic westerns. Like his contemporary LOUIS L'AMOUR, he was born and raised in the west, primarily New Mexico, Nebraska and California, had worked on ranches, and knew the old-time sheriffs and gunfighters as a young man—which gave his work an unusual level of depth and authenticity. It's not surprising that his books were often compared to those of L'Amour and were published by the same publishers.