Chapter OneAbilene, Kansas
A pair of gaudy red shutters hung on spring hinges served in place of the customary bat-wing half doors in the entrance of the Trail's End Saloon. From the boardwalk, Joseph Carrigan peered across the shutter tops into the crowded room beyond. What passed for music blew out against his face like a foul wind: An untuned piano with tacks on its hammers was assaulting a dance tune while a drunken Mexican man with a battered and equally untuned guitar struggled to keep pace.
Joseph shook his head. Terrible, how the unsophisticates of the human race abused the divine gift of music. It was first...