(RELEASE DATE 2018)
Wichita Snake will be the second work of fiction in the Maddox Men Series and is scheduled for release in 2018.
It is 1907 and Monongah, West Virginia has just experienced what will become known as one of the deadliest mining disasters in American history.
Local Glen Marshall has never cared for the mining life though his father, a miner himself, believes devoutly that the profession is good enough for any man in the Marshall family. And yet, as Glen witnesses the alarming symptoms of black lung in his father’s deteriorating health and begins to feel the same creeping effects from his years underground, he knows he needs to get out.
Abigail Maris, a young and outspoken iconoclast from a French-American family, also sees Monongah as a dead end and fears for her brother’s safety, which becomes justified when he dies in the same disaster that claims the lives of more than 360 men and boys.
Wed in a small private ceremony and bonded by the desire for a better future, Glen and Abbie resist the conventions of their family and community, and abandon Monongah. As their train barrels westward toward the Pacific Coast and freedom, both believe they have escaped a life of tedium, hardship and danger.
But their boldness unexpectedly brings them face-to-face with a group of murderers in eastern Kansas. In the ensuing struggle, Abbie is brutally killed. Shocked and grief-stricken, Glen arrives in Wichita with a choice to make: return to West Virginia in shame or continue on to California to live the dream of freedom for both himself and Abbie.
One more twist awaits, though, as he finds the small band of criminals that killed his wife is actually part of a broader statewide crime syndicate operating with a kind of legitimacy under the sponsorship of the chamber of commerce. Glen stumbles upon a local pocket of resistance at a local boarding house known only as Earp’s Haven whose members have also suffered personally, socially and economically under the syndicate.
Glen is a foreigner to the Great Plains. Kansas is not his home and, having suffered greatly, at this point he only wishes to mourn his lost wife. But as the extent of the criminal activity in this town becomes apparent, he recognizes the potential to join a far more noble cause than any he has ever known before. He can still leave. He can return home. Or he can stay on with this new band of allies, though doing so will mean coming face-to-face with the kingpin of the crime syndicate, a sly and notorious figure known only as the Wichita Snake.