Wichita Snake is a novella-in-progress from the Maddox Men series by Jay Lemming. It is Spring 1908 and 31-year-old Glen Marshall, a miner from Monongah, West Virginia, has fled his hometown with his new wife, Abigail Maris, for a better life in California. Following a mining disaster the previous winter, both decided the time was right to leave.
Unfortunately, a crime syndicate dominates temperance-era Kansas and as the young couple passes through while riding a regional rail route, they stumble into its midst. After Abbie’s murder, a sorrow-struck Glen is left to decide whether to turn back home in disgrace or to continue out West to honor his and his dead wife’s dream.
But the single night he intended to spend in Wichita only deepens his involvement in the criminals’ operations, especially after he meets the Wichita Snake himself, Old Smokey Jones, who heads the syndicate while acting under the protection of the local chamber of commerce.
Glen also encounters some unlikely allies who express sorrow for his loss but explain that they have been in thrall to Old Smokey Jones and his sadistic ex-convict nephew Jacob Bartlett for some time.
Is change in the air? Will Glen turn home or will he recognize how his tragedy has introduced him to resist baleful forces and bring long-desired freedom to the lives so many Kansans across the state?
Wichita Snake is scheduled for publication in July 2016. In the meantime, read more about the Maddox Men series here.