Author Name: J. R. Lindermuth
Book Title: Geronimo Must Die
Book Genre: Western/Mystery
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Synopsis: Geronimo and rascally half-breed Indian scout Mickey Free have never been friends.
Yet, Mickey has already saved Geronimo’s life twice (without acknowledgement) and is the only one who can keep the great Apache leader out of the sniper’s sights now. The sniper has already murdered several tribal leaders and Mickey believes it’s all a plot to prompt a great runaway from the hated San Carlos reservation.
Mickey’s efforts are stymied by Al Sieber, head of scouts, and John Clum, reservation agent, as well as suspicion of other Indians. Adding to his problems, Mickey is in love with a girl whose name he keeps forgetting to ask and who may be allied to the plot.
Only perseverance, risk to his life and, eventually, Geronimo’s help will enable Mickey to resolve this dangerous situation.
Excerpt: The first shot raised a cloud of dust between our feet. Flinging myself against Geronimo, I knocked him to the ground and covered his body with my own. The second shot struck and crackled into the framework of the wickiup. After a moment of silence and no more shots, Geronimo barked, “Get off me, fool.”
I complied. We rose, surrounded by a crowd of muttering warriors who’d been summoned by the shooting. The rifle fire came from a bluff above the camp and a number of men hurried off in that direction. They wouldn’t find the sniper. Having failed in his mission, I knew he was long gone.
For the second time, I’d saved Geronimo’s life. He seemed no more grateful than he had the first time. Brushing himself off, he inquired if those within the wickiup were unharmed. Assured of the safety of his family, he turned to me. “Why are you here?”
Sieber had sent me. A fool’s mission, though I hadn’t told him so. I learned a long time ago not to argue with Al Sieber.
Dawn on a frosty morning. Steam rising from the coats of the horses in the corrals. The boys watching the horses huddled with their arms clasped around themselves or blowing on their hands for a little warmth. Dry grass crackled underfoot. We were all hoping for an early spring. Winter was never easy at San Carlos and this had been no exception.
Arriving at Geronimo’s wickiup, I coughed loudly in hope those within would acknowledge my presence. It’s not our way to barge into another person’s home without invitation. I waited patiently. The only sound from within a series of grunts and squeals of delight. Geronimo rutting with one of his younger wives.
Another sound attracted my attention. She, the lovely one, had just emerged from the next hut with a water jug in hand. After a quick smile, she lowered her head and set off for the stream. As I watched, the older woman came out and gave me a sour glance which made me avert my gaze from the sweetly swaying rump of the departing younger one.
“The old lady would cut your heart out if she knew what you were thinking,” Geronimo said as he stooped and came out to stand beside me. I could only blush.
For a good twenty years or more–from the time the Mexicans killed his family and set him on a path of vengeance until John Clum brought him in without firing a shot–Geronimo had been the scourge of the West.
Yet, for those seeing him for the first time, Geronimo presents an unimpressive aspect. There is little at first glance to separate him from the average indio. His round face, framed by a mop of dark hair, is sun-ravaged and stern of expression. His dark gimlet eyes are like those of a sidewinder and his mouth is a wide slash turned down at the edges.
Spend a minute in his presence, though, and you’ll realize power radiates from this man like heat from a stove. You need to step back to keep it from burning you.
“What do you want, Mickey Free?” he asked.
I hesitated, seeking the right way to broach Sieber’s question. Like most White Eyes, Al thought Geronimo would answer my questions just because we’re both Apache. He didn’t understand Geronimo is Bedonkohe and I was raised Coyoteros, what you people call a White Mountain Apache. Our peoples have been allies and enemies at various times. And, Geronimo knows my background. Sieber does, too, though maybe he’d forgotten. Not only am I a scout who’s assisted the Americans in making trouble for Geronimo and his people, I’m also a half-breed. We’re not enemies. Nor are we friends–despite the fact I’ve now saved his life for a second time.
Geronimo stared at me with all the friendliness of a rattler. I noticed he’d aged in the months he’d spent at San Carlos. The skin stretched taut over his wide face was scoured with wrinkles, his hair was shot with gray, his broad shoulders were stooped and there was a dimness in his dark eyes. San Carlos is hard on people. So it had been since the winter of 1875 when Al brought the Yavapai and Tonto here. The clans brought in later have fared no better. Many people have died, and Sieber has not been forgiven.
The shooting started before I had a chance to speak.
Now Geronimo awaited an answer to his original question.
Dee-zho-ne had returned and was tending the morning fire. She’d recently arrived in the camp and I hadn’t learned her name, which was why I’d taken to calling her beautiful. My gaze kept straying in her direction even as Geronimo glared at me. “Did you come to see me or her?” he growled.
Reddening, I gave him my attention. “There’s rumor…”
“There are always rumors.”
“Someone is plotting to kill the chiefs who oppose leaving the reservation. Sieber thinks…”
Geronimo chuckled. “He thinks I’m behind it? Tell him—somebody just shot at me.”
About The Author: A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth is the author of 15 novels and a non-fiction regional history. Since retiring, he has served as librarian of his county historical society where he assists patrons with genealogy and research. He lives and writes in a house built by a man who rode with Buffalo Bill Cody. His short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society, where he served a term as vice president. You are invited to visit his website at: http://www.jrlindermuth.net.