2017 - Will Rogers Silver Medallion Award Second Place Winner, Western Romance
Autumn 1880 in the Rocky Mountains brings frost, snow, and the return of Silver Queen Saloon owner Inez Stannert to Leadville, Colorado.
In this silver rush boomtown, those who are hungry for material riches seek their fortunes in precious metals. Others, hungry for spiritual relief, seek to pierce the veil between life and death with the help of fortunetellers, mediums, and occultists. Deep in the twisted byways of Leadville's Stillborn Alley, soothsayer Drina Gizzi awaits the promised arrival of her benefactor, the mysterious Mr. Brown. When she is found murdered, strangled with a set of silver and gold corset laces, no one seems to care except the three who find her body - Inez, her lover Reverend Sands, and Drina's young daughter, Antonia. The mystery surrounding Drina's death deepens when her body vanishes without a trace.
As Inez and Antonia band together to seek out Drina's killer, they unearth disturbing evidence of underground resurrectionists, long-held grievances, and white-hot revenge. Meanwhile, Inez's husband, Mark Stannert, true to his word that he only "plays to win," contrives to drive Inez and Sands apart, gambling that he can convince her to abandon her plans for divorce. But what can gold buy, after all? A new life? Freedom from the past? Truth and justice for those murdered and unmourned? Or a final passage for Inez and Antonia into an unmarked grave and the world of the dead?
And what of Mr. Brown, whose missing presence hovers over all, like a spirit from beyond?