When excavators find a buried cattle trailer still attached to the truck that pulled it, it becomes a missing bull/missing person case that could derail a new start for Veterinarian Dr. Gil Tailor.
Cripple Creek native John Sharpe, who now calls Pueblo home, has crafted one good murder mystery in “No More Bull.”
Sharpe’s familiarity with the West, rodeo and cattle raising all shows in the details of this eminently readable book filled with plot twists, intrigue and colorful characters.
Sharpe draws Tailor as a man who has hit bottom but is ready to climb out of the bottle he climbed into after the death of his wife two years earlier. But when Deputy Jarmillo calls him away from his temporary job at the Spanish Peaks Veterinary Clinic to take a look at the bones found in the buried trailer, which Tailor just happens to own, it looks like things are going to start falling apart again.
Sharpe calls his book a “cowboy mystery” and the name fits. It has Longhorn cattle, rough and tumble cowboys and a tough cowgirl, too. One of the main characters besides Tailor and Jarmillo will be recognized by anyone who has spent time in Cripple Creek — George, the female donkey who started out life with the city’s free-roaming donkey herd. Another animal character is a gelding named Sue, who was a rather indifferent rodeo bronc before being rescued.
George is a good judge of character that Tailer should have listened to a little more closely and Sue is notional when it comes to occasionally bucking off his rider.
Sharpe has lived in Colorado for most of his life and graduated from Cripple Creek-Victor High School. He earned a degree in communications from the University of Northern Colorado and taught school in Colorado Springs for a few years before coming back to the Creek where he ran a real estate office and the Old Town Gift Shop and Café.
In the 1970s, Sharpe and his wife Cyrenne moved to La Veta, where “No More Bull” is set, and ran a restaurant. They went on to found a national magazine for the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association in Fort Worth.
They came back to Cripple Creek in 1991 where he was the executive director of the Cripple Creek Chamber of Commerce. He sits on the Cripple Creek District Museum and is a trustee for Cripple Creek Elks Lodge No. 316. Retired, Sharpe is now a full-time writer. “No More Bull” is his first published work.
The book is available at the district museum and through amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. An eBook version is available at smashwords.com. To read the first four chapters, along with some interesting observations about John Wayne, Longhorns and other Western subjects, visit johnsharpebooks.blogspot.com.