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  West of Empty    
 

 
 
   
  365-page trade paper
ISBN 0-9665430-5-X
   
  Awards:
 
Finalist, 2003 WWA Awards for Best Original Paperback
 
 

 
 
Like a hot dust-devil, charismatic Phineas Farrow arrives in a small West Texas railroad town in 1896. In short order, he cooks up a hare-brained scheme to make a fortune for the struggling townsfolk by staging a head-on wreck of two derelict train engines just west of the desolate little community. The plan is to import wealthy Easterners to pay for viewing the historic event. Phineas convinces reluctant but ambitious stationmaster, Marvin G. Crush, to persuade Stella Villard to fund the event with her entire fortune of recently inherited railroad stock. In addition to the wreck, thirteen year old Felix Manguson urges the organizers to bring in a seedy side-show he has learned about: Attaboy, The Amazing Mayan Mummy and Frieda, The Talking Head. In this raucous narrative based on actual events, social, religious and racial tensions collide explosively just like two speeding train engines, leaving the town changed forever.
 
 Words of Praise:
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"Texas is famous for promotions... Bob Cherry weaves a rousing fictional account around this little-known actual event in 1896."
—Elmer Kelton, author of The Time It Never Rained

"Bob Cherry introduces us to a cast of characters that we might not want as guests at our Sunday dinner table... nevertheless we find them all with their undoubted flaws as a likeable bunch...A good story well told."
—Don Johnson, author of Brasada

"Somewhere we should hang a paper moon over the efforts of the original con man Phineas and Bob Cherry's delightful cast of characters who support Phineas' efforts to stage the great train wreck. A well paced novel with plenty of tastes of the dying frontier... you'll enjoy it."
—Dusty Richards, author of The Natural