Authors: Jeff Noonan
THE DEADLY RIVER
AN ACCIDENTAL WARRIOR
He was a teenager innocently passing through town when he found himself in the center of a war. He didn’t know the people, or the reason they were fighting, but somehow he’d become a target.
It was the spring of 1959 and the young orphan had hiked into the Montana mountains to honor a promise made to his dead parents. But when he became stranded in a small logging town, his life was changed forever.
The youngster, Lee Raines, was quietly eating dinner in a local café when the place was robbed. He intervened and the thief was captured. But this crime turned out to be the opening salvo in a small war and Lee was in the middle of it. He didn’t even know the antagonists, but within days a local politician was murdered and Lee also became a target.
Eventually, Lee was able to satisfy the promise to his parents. But in doing so, he accidentally witnessed major crimes committed in the beginning of Montana’s environmental movement. Before he could leave town, Lee found himself in a shooting war, forced to defend himself against powerful, brutal, enemies.
Finally the shooting stopped and the sheriff made arrests. Time moved on and the judge passed sentence on the offenders. Only then did Lee realize that the problems were more complex than anyone had realized.
Nothing was yet settled. It took a final gun battle, a battle that resulted in real Rocky Mountain Justice, to end the war.
THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN JUSTICE TRILOGY
The Deadly River
is the second volume of the
Rocky Mountain Justice
trilogy. The three volumes, which span a time period from the 1940’s through the 1970’s, are as follows:
Book #1: Rocky Mountain Justice (The Legend of Camel’s Hump)
. The year is 1949. Deep in the Montana mountains, four teenagers fight a depraved sheriff in a war that sees death visit both sides. But the sheriff’s gang is too strong for the teens alone, so they turn to two combat-hardened former marines who recruit an Indian Nation to fight alongside them. Some die and some disappear, but the battle is won and a legend is born.
Book #2: The Deadly River
. It’s ten years later, in the same Montana mountains. Two of the original young heroes from
The Legend of Camel’s Hump
return. Once again, they’re thrust into battle against cold-blooded killers. Lee Raines, an orphan from Pennsylvania, stumbles into the middle of this new battle and becomes the key to their eventual victory.
Book #3: Home Goes the Warrior
. The year is 1974. Lee Raines, now a Navy Lieutenant, has come home after being badly wounded in the Viet Nam jungles. After that experience, he just wants to finish his service, marry his fiancée, and find a quiet home in the suburbs. Instead he finds himself caught between the Mafia and the FBI as he battles thieves, murderers, and a Soviet espionage ring on the mean streets of Philadelphia.
THE DEADLY RIVER
BOOK TWO OF THE
“ROCKY MOUNTAIN JUSTICE”
BY JEFF NOONAN
This book is dedicated to the descendents of my many good friends living in the Montana mountains
Some of these friends are loggers, some are miners, and others are environmentalists. All of them are good people who love the mountains and the lives they’ve created there
It is my most fervent hope that Montana’s industrial and environmental advocates, and the politicians who support them, can come together to create a more prosperous Montana while preserving the place we all love
Our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and their descendents deserve no less
OTHER BOOKS BY JEFF NOONAN
The Long Escape
Rocky Mountain Justice (The Legend of Camel’s Hump)
Home Goes the Warrior
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015 by Jeff Noonan
Library of Congress Control Number: 2015900287
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE: PENNSYLVANIA, 1959
t was a tiny room in a building filled with identical tiny rooms. At a desk in this room, a young man was bent over an engineering text.
The man at the desk, Lee Raines, raised his head and stared wearily out his window. Today the campus was quiet, a perfect day for studying. A huge snow storm had been lashing the area and the university was almost totally closed. Everyone had been advised to stay indoors for the past two days. Even the Villanova Chapel was dark.
In the distance, he could see a white plume rising ahead of a speeding snow plow. A lull in the storm was allowing a few hardy souls to struggle their way across campus. In the nearby parking lot, most cars were just white lumps. But a few recent arrivals, clearly identified by the steam rising above them as well as the deep furrows behind them, stood nakedly uncovered, clashing with the pristine surrounding landscape.
What could be important enough to get people out on the roads in this weather?
Shaking his head, he turned back to the book in front of him.
A short time later, footsteps broke through the silence outside his door. There came a knock that Lee answered with “C’mon in. It isn’t locked.”
Probably someone needing food
. Trying to concentrate, he didn’t look up until he heard the voice. Startled, he swiveled around. It was his uncle, Michael Hare, and the look on his face told Lee that something was wrong, very wrong.
Lee almost tripped trying to extricate himself from the desk and chair in one motion. The chair fell with a clatter, but neither of them noticed. Lee’s eyes were fixed on his uncle’s face. “What is it, Uncle
Michael? What’s wrong?” His uncle didn’t answer at first. It seemed like he was having trouble getting the words out. He slowly removed his gloves with his eyes never leaving Lee’s face. He tried to speak twice, but stopped both times. Then he crossed the room in one huge stride and gathered the startled boy in a bear hug.
“Lee, I don’t know how to tell you this. But there was an accident last night.” Several inches shorter than Lee, his voice was muffled by the boy’s shoulder. He stopped and shuddered, unable to continue. His body was shaking violently. Lee pulled back, staring wide-eyed. He had never known his uncle to show emotion of any kind, no matter what was happening around him. Something was definitely wrong!
Finally, Michael pulled himself together with a hugely visible effort. “Your dad and mom were coming home from Philadelphia last night and they hit an icy patch on the highway. Lee, they didn’t make it! They slid head-on into a bridge piling. They both died instantly. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” He kept repeating himself as if he couldn’t think of anything else to say.
Lee was stunned. His knees gave way and he found himself sitting on the side of the chair that had fallen when he stood up. Mindlessly he reached back, picked the chair up and sat in it. His brain wouldn’t work. It was frozen. He sat there with a totally blank look on his face, listening to his uncle repeat those words again and again.
Slowly Lee raised his head, his eyes finally fixing on his uncle’s face. Michael stopped talking and stood there, looking back at Lee. Lee knew that he should say something, but nothing would come. It was Uncle Michael who lost control first, the sobs coming loud and long as he knelt on the hard floor and buried his head in his hands. Instinctively, Lee stood and moved to him, resting his hand on Michael’s shoulder in a gesture of compassion. Then it hit him. He collapsed in front of his uncle, finding his voice with a long piercing scream, “Nooooooooooooooo. Nooooo. No. No.” He couldn’t stop. His uncle reached across to hold him and they both sat there crying and holding
one another. That’s where other dorm residents found them when they came to investigate
The next few weeks flew by for Lee. He lived in a daze and consciously tried to forget each day as it passed. Life was just too painful.
The funeral was a major event in Media, Pennsylvania. His parents had grown up in rougher sections of South Philadelphia before marrying and making their life in this suburb. Lee had been raised in Media, a relatively sheltered child whose family was well-known and respected. His father had been a popular attorney who had been active in local political circles. As a result of this background, the funeral attendees ranged from more recent acquaintances, professionals at many levels, to childhood friends who were now becoming infamous as leaders in the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra.