When we think of a Wanted poster, we think of the Old West when those handbills were tacked on the sides of buildings or poles, declaring the name of the alleged criminal and their crime, often with a grainy illustration, a reward and inscribed “Dead or Alive.”
In truth, the Wanted posters had much humbler beginnings. From about 1840, they originated as a letter or a postcard with the specific information listed (physical description, crime, locale, etc.) and were distributed among frontier lawmen, who kept the paper folded in their pockets. Occasionally, the information was printed in newspapers, but rarely were the letters circulated widely or even to the public. Travel was difficult, slow and assumed hindering to most criminals; thus, the posters were kept within a small area of local towns and counties.
The Pinkerton Agency was instrumental in improving the Wanted poster as a means of spreading the word in hopes of capturing a known lawbreaker. The admonishment of “Dead or Alive” was merely a disclaimer that if it came right down to it, shooting the guy if necessary kept the bounty hunter or vigilante virtually blameless.
And those rewards? The amount was dependent on the outlaw’s ruthlessness and how much someone was willing to pony up for it. The money was usually split between the arresting lawman and the one who had compiled the information and distributed it.
As time went on, about the turn of the century, photography improved and photos were added. With more years rolling by, Wanted posters were even used as a form of propaganda throughout the world toward capturing Adolf Hitler, and later, Osama Bin Laden, who warranted a hefty $25 million reward in 2001. In the 1950s, the FBI created their Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list, including a broader range of criminals dictated by the unfortunate sophistication in their methods, namely terrorists and fugitives as well as missing or kidnap victims.
So you could say the Wanted poster was one of history’s first form of social media, right?
In my brand new re-release, WANTED!, Lark is a former outlaw turned responsible citizen and bank teller, who through circumstances beyond her control, finds herself under the care and protection of the man who once tried to arrest her.
Here’s a peek at how a Wanted poster complicates Lark’s life… or does it?
He strode into his bedroom and closed the door. He kept assorted pharmaceuticals on a shelf above his washbasin. But it was the bureau he headed for, and the bottom drawer he kept under lock and key.
Once he opened it, he found the flat, rectangular box he was looking for. He removed the lid, tossed it aside, his urgency growing as he rifled through the papers he kept within. Reports he’d penned. Payments he’d received. Documents from his past life as a bounty hunter.
He yanked out one in particular.
And there she was.
Lark Renault. Alias Wild Red. Once part of the notorious Reno gang. The artist’s drawing was at least seven years old, crude at best, but it was her. Thick, wavy hair, spilling from beneath a wide-brimmed hat. Eyes, dark and direct. She looked young in the drawing. Thinner, too.
But it was her.
She’d been there that day at the Turf Club. Ross was hell-bent on arresting her, but things turned ugly. Out of control. He never intended to shoot her down.
Catfish Jack took care of matters with his shotgun primed and ready. Ross never saw him coming.
He shut off the memories, dragged himself back to the present. Now, at last, he could finish the case he never solved, and the one person who could help him do it was sitting on his couch at this very moment.
The Wanted poster slipped from his fingers. He rose, strode to the door and yanked it wide open.
But Lark Renault had disappeared.
At this point, poor Lark and Ross are both caught up in quite a dilemma. I hope you’ll want to read more. #kindleunlimited
Here’s the link on Amazon
I’d love to give away an ebook copy of WANTED! (If you prefer a paperback copy, I’ll be happy to send that instead.)
1. To be eligible to win, just follow the above link to Amazon, click on the cover to read the excerpt and answer the following question:
Where is Mr. Templeton taking his family for the weekend, thus leaving Lark in charge of the bank?
2. When you find the answer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Leave a comment that you found the answer, too.
Check back tonight and I’ll announce the winner!