Sep 302016

The Outfit - To Hell and BackHard to believe it was May when I last prairie-dogged these pages. What better reason to pop up again than to announce the kick-off of my new series! It’s called THE OUTFIT — think the A-TEAM in the Old West and you’re halfway there. Plenty of cigar chomping, whiskey sipping (real men don’t guzzle the uisce beatha), dove whimpering, fisticuffing, bullet cranking, horse-riding fun.

Book 1, THE OUTFIT: TO HELL AND BACK, is officially released on October 19, 2016 as a handsome hardcover through Five Star Publishing. It’s available for preorder at Amazon and other online sources.



Rafe Barr, master tracker, spy, and war hero, is locked away in Yuma Territorial Prison for life, wrongly convicted of the murder of his wife and son. But five years into his sentence, Warden Talbot Timmons, who has made Barr’s time at Yuma a living hell, offers him a deal: full pardon in exchange for rescuing the young daughter of California’s Governor Pendleton from Deadwood’s top bad man, Al Swearengen. Rafe smells a rat, but agrees.

On the trail to Deadwood, Rafe rescues his old pard, explosives expert Cookie McGee, from a dicey situation. In Deadwood, Rafe and Cookie find the girl and a whole lot of trouble, and barely make it out with their skins … only to find their backtrail fogged by El Jefe and his Hell Hounds, a gang of cutthroats and desperadoes hired by Warden Timmons. Rafe, Cookie, and the girl ride hell-for-leather toward the hidden Colorado valley where Rafe’s ranch once stood.

Along the way they pick up a crew of colorful characters with peculiar talents—gambler, safecracker, and former slave Black Jack Smith; feisty widow Arlene Tewksbury; and local doctor, inventor, and drunk Deathbed Jones.

The fuse is lit as a mob of desperadoes and renegades led by the Hell Hounds swarms the ranch, and Rafe, Cookie, and the rest of the gang find themselves in an explosive battle for their lives. And that’s only the beginning for…THE OUTFIT!

May 272016

The Hunted Audiobook

My 2013 novel, THE HUNTED, just came out as an audiobook, and the sample I’ve heard sounds mighty fine—and the cover’s a corker, too. Here’s a link in case you’re tempted to give it a listen:

Big Charlie Chilton knows better than to lose his temper, but when a loudmouth threatens to expose his long-buried secrets, he can’t help but teach the man a lesson about being quiet. Unfortunately, it turns out the man was about to make an important supply run for the town, and Marshal Watt knows just enough about Shotgun Charlie’s past to draft him into service in his stead.

The trek north would be treacherous enough with the snow and the threat of an Indian attack, but the ragtag drunkards running the freighting outfit put Charlie ill-at-ease. When bad blood springs up between them, Charlie is left for dead on the side of the mountain. But they should have made sure he was really gone–because the wounded bear of a man isn’t down for the count, and he’s ready to bring vengeance on those who did him wrong…

I had so much fun with Big Charlie Chilton that I brought him back a couple of years later in SHOTGUN CHARLIE (a prequel to THE HUNTED). It came out in 2015 and explains how Big Charlie gained his ill-fitting moniker. Here’s a link:

Feb 022016

Hornswogglers, Fourflushers and Snake-Oil SalesmenA fine review by Erin H. Turner in the Winter 2015 issue of Big Sky Journal of my recent non-fiction book, HORNSWOGGLERS, FOURFLUSHERS & SNAKE-OIL SALESMEN: True Tales of the Old West’s Sleaziest Swindlers….


HORNSWOGGLERS, FOURFLUSHERS & SNAKE-OIL SALESMEN: True Tales of the Old West’s Sleaziest Swindlers by Matthew P. Mayo (TwoDot, $18.95) spins 22 yarns about the bandits, conmen, conwomen and bunko artists who populated the West, drawn by the chance to make their fortunes by taking advantage of those who responded to the siren calls of gold and free land.

Mayo proves the adage that everyone loves a heel, making sympathetic characters out of the most disreputable reprobates, putting them in a historical framework with an accessible, lively story-telling style. More than that, however, he puts them in context with each other and poses questions about what makes a villain a villain.

How much does Ned Buntline’s sketchy personal history and questionable veracity affect the fact that his dime novels shaped much of the mythology of the West? Why do we feel twinges of sympathy for con artists like Doc Baggs, who preyed on the greed of his wealthy marks?

Mayo’s novelistic approach reaches for truth about these characters and their victims. He’s succeeded in producing an entertaining and enjoyable read that also adds to our understanding and appreciation of the Wild West.