With Blood in Their Eyes (Hardcover)

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Ron's June 2013 Staff Pick:  On February 10, 1918, Tom and John Powers, their father Jeff, and ranch hand Tom Sisson rose to the sound of gunfire. They were under attack. Minutes later three of them were on the run, down into Rattlesnake Canyon, on into the Dragoon Mountains of Arizona, working their way to the Chimichura Mountains, and from there, hopefully, to Mexico. John had a splinter in his eye, the casualty of a bullet that missed him but hit the doorjam to his left. Tom’s left eye was blind, too, glass splinters from a blown out window. Off they rode, sure to be pursued, for the men who’d attacked them were the law.

If Boleto is smooth and quiet and sober, With Blood in Their Eyes is a wild and dangerous chase, raw and muscular.

“He gave himself over to the race, pushing farther down, laying his shoulder into the horse’s lowered neck. His body was tense, nearly horizontal, and his heartbeat sped up to match that of his horse. There was no controlling the horse now. The horse was in full run, operating on a combination of terror of whatever was behind them and the desire to outrun the other horses. The horse was far beyond any commands a human might give it, and that suited John fine. He pressed himself into the horse, trying to make himself one with the animal.”

Want an old-fashioned western told well, With Blood in Their Eyes is for you.

— From Ron's Picks


Winner, Spur Award for Best Western Long Novel (Western Writers of America) and Southwest Book Award (Border Regional Library Association)

On February 10, 1918, John Power woke to the sound of bells and horses' hooves. He was sharing a cabin near the family mine with his brother Tom and their father Jeff; hired man Tom Sisson was also nearby. Then gunfire erupted, and so began the day when the Power brothers engaged the Graham County Sheriff's Department in the bloodiest shootout in Arizona history.

Now Thomas Cobb, author of Crazy Heart and Shavetail, has taken up the story in this powerful and meticulously researched nonfiction novel. What seems at first a simple tale of crime and pursuit takes on much greater meaning and complexity as the story traces the past lives of the main characters and interconnects them--all leading back to the deadly confrontation that begins the book. Cobb cunningly weaves the story of the Power brothers' escape with flashbacks of the boys' father's life and his struggle to make a living ranching, logging, and mining in the West around the turn of the century. Deftly drawn characters and cleverly concealed motivations work seamlessly to blend a compelling family history with a desperate story of the brothers as they attempt to escape.

Grappling with themes of loyalty, masculinity, technology, and honor, this sweeping saga reveals the passion and brutality of frontier life in Arizona a hundred years ago. Richly authentic and beautifully written, With Blood in Their Eyes breathes dramatic new life into this nearly forgotten episode of the American West.

About the Author

Thomas Cobb is the author of Crazy Heart and Shavetail as well as an award-winning short-story collection entitled Acts of Contrition. He grew up in Southern Arizona and now lives in Rhode Island with his wife.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780816521104
ISBN-10: 0816521107
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Publication Date: July 20th, 2012
Pages: 209
Language: English