ON THE TRAIL
Thank you for stopping in for a visit.
Wanted Man is in homage to the only song Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash ever wrote together, doing so at a celebrated gathering in February 1969. It was recorded by Cash a week or so later as a gem for the live album, At San Quentin.
It's all about wandering, brokenness, sin, and redemption, which is the stuff of life.
Days of Purgatory is historical fiction. The novel is a mystery thriller set against the backdrop of westward expansion. It explores some disturbing themes regarding the depravity of the human heart and does so in a manner that ought to cause readers to examine the meaning of faith, hope, spirituality, and the broken nature of life. The action and intrigue rolls across the frontier landscape of the 19th century as the ensemble cast of characters is swept along on the currents of time, chance, fate, or destiny. Their lives intersect at those hard crossroads where faith meets reality.
From the idealism of the River Brethren of Conoy Creek to the passions of the abolitionist movement, Deke Coburn becomes entangled in the horrors and societal upheaval of the Civil War. His story is part historical epic, part spiritual odyssey. He is a man on the run, encountering friendship where he can find it. In his travels to escape his past and come to terms with his own wrongdoing, he stumbles upon a nightmare—a loopy twitch—who preys upon innocence. What happens next sets in motion terror that threatens to destroy the future. He and his companions are thrust into the place where good—however ambiguous it may be—must make its stand against evil.
Shadows of Revenge continues the story that began with Days of Purgatory. The sequel is an adventure mystery set in and around Abilene, Kansas in 1872. Deacon Coburn, a realist galvanized by his past, is startled when remnants of yesteryear track him down.
Longing and brokenness are everywhere. A headstrong orphan girl seeks to live out her dreams; a childless widow pursues meaning; a reformed prostitute desires a return to her childhood faith; a young man makes tragic choices.
It’s a tale of hope and redemption. No matter how ugly our past, every individual can choose new beginnings. In the words of a stealthy drifter, “Hope is always nearby, as sure as thunder follows lightning. Search your heart. Hope is there to lead you onward.”
Echoes of Evil, rejoins Deacon Coburn and company in a new adventure that picks up storylines and characters from Days of Purgatory and Shadows of Revenge.
Joys and sorrows are woven throughout the mosaic narrative. The pursuit of justice extracts a great price as gripping scenarios unfold and secrets are confronted in the midst of upheaval. True to his sojourner outlook, the whiskey-sipping philosophizer from Conoy Creek, always comes to the aid of others at just the right time and embodies a life-theme: “We ride upon the rippling currents set in motion for us by the Almighty. We merely lean into eddies we choose.”
Populated by old west heroes and outlaws, Echoes of Evil introduces a cunning scoundrel unseen in the saga until now. The novel is a life and death struggle that has harrowing turns and supernatural overtones.
Nightmares of Terror, continuing the saga that began in Days of Purgatory, is set in and around Dodge City in 1882. Several characters are having their sleep disturbed by dreams that are flares from the past or harbingers of the future. Deacon Coburn, flint-eyed and tenderhearted, aids others and comes to terms with hardscrabble troubles by applying gritty faith.
An outlaw is on the rampage; his life has been violent and he’s realizing that hell is a real place. A former prostitute is seeking a new life, while a teenager stretches her wings. One strong man is having a crisis of faith; while another, is in a mess of troubles not of his making. Two women are expecting and due at roughly the same time. A Texas cattleman arrives in the Queen of the Cowtowns to conclude a business deal, which unbeknownst to him, forces a onetime slave to come face to face with a seedy episode from bygone days.
All these threads are woven together in a compelling narrative in which the supernatural is commonplace and real. An overarching theme is voiced by Eliza Weitzel: “Faith is all about having confidence that whatever will be will be, and by God’s grace we have the hope that he sustains and supports us no matter what.”
Pieces of Justice, is a tale on the move that continues the adventures of Deacon Coburn and company which began in Days of Purgatory. The everlasting conflict between good and evil weaves its way through the storyline to a stunning conclusion awash in an array of natural and supernatural elements.
A mosaic of subplots dovetail into the overarching theme. A brassy woman with a mysterious past is on a cross-country mission to find Deacon Coburn, and she keeps her intentions hidden. Times are changing, which has a rakish gambler immersed in nostalgia, while a world traveler revisits Dodge City. Lives and perspectives are altered when a beloved mother and friend gets sick and dies. A River Brethren woman is overwhelmed by melancholia that is exacerbated by spiritual abuse. There are also revelations about characters that increase the intrigue.
Through it all, words of encouragement from Whitey Fitzgerald to a grieving boy provide a framework of truth: “Let me tell you something about hurting, boss. Hurting has no end. We get some faith and healing and distance enough to kick the past to the past, but nevertheless, we carry every scar until jubilee day when the Lord calls us home to glory.”
Set in and around the boomtown of Creede, Colorado in 1892, Altars of Tomorrow is the final chapter of the Deacon Coburn narrative that began in Days of Purgatory. It is a poignant story that explores the triumph of hope and redemption in the context of human frailty.
Worn down to a ragged frazzle, the River Brethren man from Conoy Creek arrives in town after being in the saddle for nearly eight months. He discovers his daughter now has two rough and tumble sons running along a thin line between shenanigans and delinquency. Coburn comes to the aid of a victim of their mischievous pranks, extending tender mercies to a soul-scarred man whose mind was broken at Chancellorsville. The mystery of Lucinda Enochelli is drawn to a surprising completion when she delivers Coburn a document from his past.
The ensemble cast of characters are woven into reflective subplots imbued by the tension that comes from confronting questions about life and death, and the contrast between the temporal and the eternal. The words of Sally Twosongs serve as a ribbon wrapped around the ambiguities to provide a bedrock foundation on which to stand: “The Creator’s plans and purposes are beyond our ability to reason or comprehend. As it has always been and always shall be.”
An Ordinary Story of Extraordinary Hope, Days of Purgatory, Shadows of Revenge, Echoes of Evil, Nightmares of Terror, Pieces of Justice and Altars of Tomorrow are available at AMAZON in both book and Kindle format.
Ken and his wife Anita, serve the Overcomers Program at Navajo BIC Mission south of Bloomfield, New Mexico. The Overomers Program is an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program with a proven track record since its inception in 1997. It is directed primarily, but not exclusively, to Navajo men who have succumbed to the ravages of addiction. It consists of a three month residential session and then three months of aftercare follow-up. It combines a clinical approach with a Scriptural base and has a success rate between sixty and seventy percent.
The vision is for expansion of the program’s reach, especially in the area of follow-up. Ken and Anita will help in the step by step process of setting in place the groundwork for growth, along with actively recruiting Home Living Coordinators, who are an essential element of the program.
Everything at Navajo BIC Mission is financed through individual gifts and offerings. Therefore, for this adventure it is necessary for Ken and Anita to raise support funds. If you are interested in partnering with them in these vital ministry efforts, you may send donations directly to Navajo BIC Mission: Navajo BIC Mission, 240 Hwy 57, Bloomfield, NM 87413. Checks should be payable to the Overcomers Program and include a note (not written on the check) designating the monies for Ken & Anita Abell’s support. OR you can donate via PayPal by using the easy access button below. THANK YOU. All contributions are much appreciated.
“We ride upon the rippling currents set in motion for us by the Almighty. We merely lean into eddies we choose.” ~Deacon Coburn~
“Faith is all about having confidence that whatever will be will be, and by God’s grace we have the hope that he sustains and supports us no matter what.” ~Eliza Weitzel~
“Let me tell you something about hurting, boss. Hurting has no end. We get some faith and healing and distance enough to kick the past to the past, but nevertheless, we carry every scar until jubilee day when the Lord calls us home to glory.” ~Whitey Fitzgerald~
“The Creator’s plans and purposes are beyond our ability to reason or comprehend. As it has always been and always shall be.” ~Sally Twosongs~