Title: Judas Pistol
Status: 81% complete
Judas Pistol, a 70,000-word amateur sleuth novel, is set in the gun culture of Montana during two weeks of April 2001. Les is deaf from the service in the Gulf War. He can barely get by on army disability and prize money from shooting matches, so he investigates historical sites and is hired to prove a popular sheriff and a young tribal policeman didn’t go bad. D’arcy and Gunz have different occupations and challenges of their own but find themselves working with Les to solve a series of murders linked to a futuristic weapon handgun and treasures of the "Treasure State."
Toole County, Montana, April 14, 2001
Saturday, high noon
Les Huntsman leaned against recoil as if bucking gusts of headwind. Flash! His revolver jumped again, sending a second ounce of lead to topple another silhouette. His front sight found a third set of head and shoulders. Flash! Muzzle blaze and bounce were all he perceived--no roar, no splat of bullets hitting home, not a sound when heavy figures smacked into skiffs of snow.
Three more shots and empty. One hand swung the muzzle up to thumb the ejector. Hot casings fell to melt holes around his boots, while his other hand blurred up with a fresh speed-loader. Burnt nitrates stung his nostrils. Shockwaves meant his opponent was still shooting. Les slapped another half dozen rounds into battery. Six more jolts up his arms. Six more silhouettes down. At twenty-five meters, only a trio remained. One more reload, three quick flashes, and the last form sprawled on its backside.
To his front, the green light winked off. The red cease-fire lamp blazed in its place. Les had already caught three empty cases and three unfired .480s in his glove, his Ruger held up and open for inspection.
He felt a touch on his shoulder and turned his head. Arthur Burnside had a microphone clipped to his coat collar, but loudspeakers did Les no good. He focused on the range officer’s lips. "Duel goes to shooter on the right . . . Huntsman." Les waited. "Clear on the right. Good to see you back in action, Doc. Go ahead and holster your weapon."