Monday, 23 July 2012

Cover Gallery: The Tracker

By D.R. Bensen

Across the West, following every faint scent and clue, rides a man sworn to hunt and kill the outlaws who murdered his family. Today, tomorrow and always, he is The Tracker.

The night of fire and blood drew a smear of red across lawyer Cole Brandon’s life – his wife and family slaughtered by the vicious Kenneally gang. The gang escapes unscathed, and the only one captured is set free on a legal technicality. Brandon’s trust in the law is now shattered – and he becomes a walking dead man. Then an encounter with a tough old mountaineer gives Brandon new life and a new purpose – vengeance. Using any name, any role, any means, he’ll track the gang and their monstrous leader, Gren Kenneally, and kill them one by one.

A faint clue leads him to a brawling Kansas cowtown, then to Bascom, Texas, and a ranch that might hide his man. But before Brandon – now hardcase Carter Bane – can unearth his prey, the town explodes in a private war that throws him in with his prime suspect!

The mayor was a con man who gambled his power for control of the mining boomtown of Kampen, Arizona Territory…the miner put up his savings for some unsuspected riches from the earth…stage robbers waged their lives for fast loot…but gambler Beaufort Callison hadn’t come to Kampen to play poker. Just to find one man and kill him. For Beaufort Callison is really Cole Brandon, The Tracker, and he’s following a clue that may lead him to his quarry.

Kampen may hold one of the men The Tracker is pursuing: a member of the Kenneally gang that slaughtered his family back in St. Louis. Once an ambitious young lawyer, Brandon is now a single-minded avenger. He’s gambling that his prey will cross his gunsights – if he survives the life-threatening hazards of Kampen and its gold-crazed citizens!

On the booming frontier, a reporter needs a nose for news, an ear for a lie, an eye for danger – and a gun for insurance. So does a manhunter. Cole Brandon is both.

Following a wild hunch, Brandon came to Spargill, Colorado, in search of the killers who wiped out his family. Bluffing his way into a newspaperman’s job, he has the ideal cover to sniff around Spargill and turn up the men he seeks. But the job becomes more than a disguise when Brandon’s masterful scheme brings a railroad line in – and saves the town from ruin. Spargill’s starting to feel like home, and a very desirable lady is luring him in another direction, but for Cole Brandon there can be no respite – until his gun has claimed its final revenge!

Carter killed ruthlessly but professionally, to uphold the law as he saw it. Kenneally killed as naturally as he breathed, for profit, fun or convenience. Brandon hunted patiently and killed implacably, slowly filling the bloody ledger of vengeance.

Cole Brandon’s quest for the surviving members of the Kenneally gang, who annihilated his family, leads him to northern New Mexico and the small town of Bezan. There he enlists in a company of irregulars whose aim is to destroy an outlaw band lead by the very man Brandon is tracking – Peter Kenneally. Captain Anson Carter, embittered exile from the Texas Rangers, whips his untrained outfit into seasoned shape, readying them for an all-out assault. But a wily Kenneally stratagem puts Carter out of action at the crucial moment, and it’s up to Cole Brandon to find a way to carry out Carter’s mission…and his own secret one.

A seasoned Texan can make almost anything out of rawhide – a lariat, a crude sledge, a supreme instrument of torture and death. Soft-spoken Cole Brandon was new to Texas, but as rancher Ray Volker’s trail cook he learned fast, feeding the men on the cattle drive and looking for the one among them he would have to kill – with rawhide, bullet, or bare hands.

Gren Kenneally’s gang had slaughtered lawyer Cole Brandon’s family – and left Brandon with one purpose in life: to hunt down and destroy every man who had ridden with Kenneally. Now Brandon watches and waits on the thousand-mile drive to Kansas for the man he seeks to show himself…and die.

He’s a lone-riding salesman, with windmills for his wares. Bigsbee’s a town with a reputation for tranquillity, a precious boon for any weary traveller.

Neither the man nor the town is what it seems. For the rider is Cole Brandon, once a lawyer, now a single-minded avenger, tracking down the renegades of the Kenneally gang who slaughtered his family. And Bigsbee’s been hit hard by the depression that followed the Panic of 1873, making it a battleground for homicidal outlaws and vigilante mobs. Fighting to survive, Brandon gains unlikely help – from one of the Kenneallys he’s hell-bent to destroy. Now Brandon has to make an enemy an ally, and face the deadliest decision a man ever made.

When a warehouse explosion in Philadelphia blasts away the last of the vicious Kenneally gang, Cole Brandon believes his quest to avenge his family’s slaughter is finally done. A former attorney who stepped outside the law for justice, Brandon’s only bedfellows have been fate, fear and death. Now winsome and enterprising Jess Marvell may be the one person who can help him discover his true self – a man buried beneath years of false names, flickering campfires, and flying lead. But just as Brandon dares to make a rendezvous with peace, Gren Kenneally rises from the ashes.

The ruthless gang leader is a target Brandon must confront, though Kenneally now sees behind his many masks. Through Yellowstone’s untamed wilderness Brandon will pursue him – to a roaring waterfall where one of them will be silenced forever.

Cover art by Bill Dodge. 

Published by Pocket Books, the first appeared in June 1992 and the last in December 1993. 


benbridges said...

A great trip back down Memory Lane, Steve. Thanks for that!!

Joanne Walpole said...

These look good - I'll have to have a gander. I especially like the covers.

Oscar said...

The Tracker is busier than a one-armed bricklayer. Nice covers.