Last Peace Officer

by Hays, A.Z.


The Last Peace Officer by A.Z. Hays is a true-grit tale of intrigue and personal struggle set in western Texas and northern Mexico. Persistent drought sears West Texas in the summer of 1955, and Tobias L.Z. “Toby” Brite stands to lose The T-Bar Ranch. The 34-year-old WWII veteran accepts the only option he has left—hiring on as deputy sheriff in sparsely populated Sandstone County to be able to afford interest-only payments on his mortgage until the rains return.

Following two years of routine duties, the deputy’s schedule races into overdrive when a young Mexican-American dies from a heroin overdose and the main witness is found murdered. Among those implicated are local bank president Jefferson Slovak and county attorney Hardison Landquist. Reports surface of the witness riding out of town in a tan sedan and of a red-headed gringo named Raul who deals drugs from a tan Chevy. With approval from his boss Sheriff Chuck Runnels, Toby elicits information from the banker’s sexy wife Celeste, who has set her cap for the unmarried deputy. He enjoys their affair until, during surveillance of the Slovak mansion, he observes her brazen behavior around the swimming pool once too often.

Toby’s fluent Spanish proves helpful in setting up a two-phase sting. The first part is an undercover drug buy across the border in San Rafael. While there, he meets a lovely young woman who stirs his interest. After Runnels is killed while investigating a night-time robbery, Toby leaves the department. With cooperative teams of Texas Rangers, U.S. Border Patrol officials, and state judiciales of Chihuahua, Mexico, the former deputy speeds ahead into the second part of the sting, hoping to earn reward money to help save his ranch.

Johnson Ranch & Trading Post Productions, 288 pages
Available in softcover


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