Posted in excerpt, fiction, Giveaway, Thriller on January 9, 2018


A Texas Story (Volume 2)



  Genre: Historical Fiction / Thriller

Publisher: Canned Peas Productions

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

Number of Pages: 244

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The Anahuac of 1972 is more than just an isolated outpost on Texas’s Trinity Bay – it’s a place where greed and justice uncomfortably intermingle, where the evangelical fervor of charismatic preachers resonate, where blacks and whites navigate a fragile co-existence, and where a murder leads to even darker mysteries than murder.

Jim Ward, introduced in Morgan’s Point as a young, idealistic Houston prosecutor, returns in Anahuac as an older, more conflicted, more complicated man, coming to Anahuac to defend a man who appears guilty of a horrible crime. His discoveries lead to entanglements in the very nature of good and evil, in a town that is at once of its time and timeless, steeped in a history that is unexpectedly but definitively drawing Ward in its narrative web.


“Austin writer William D. Darling’s second novel, Anahuac, is an entertaining, engrossing legal thriller that offers both darkly humorous and good-natured thrusts at life, love, and law . . . first-rate reading, especially for readers who enjoy legal thrillers, lawyer procedurals, suspense, Texas settings, and characters who live large.” – Lone Star Literary Life

“Darling draws vivid portraits of his setting while also bringing in historical currents like women’s liberation, the growth of container shipping, and the rise of the prosperity gospel, adding interest to what’s otherwise a fairly simple courtroom drama.” – Kirkus Reviews

I’m a Texan originally from the east coast who’s had occasion to meet some of these characters from another planet. Darling weaves us through the minds of lawyers with jealousies, insecurities, questions of faith, honor, and guilt as they tackle the case of a horrible crime that has the potential to put a man of God away forever. I held on tight as we went through the engrossing trial, which did not disappoint! If you love history, crime, passion, religion, and suspense, this is a must read! – Kristy Recker (an Amazon reviewer)

EXCERPT from Anahuac: A Texas Story

By William D. Darling

This excerpt from Anahuac, which sets the novel in motion, centers around a briefly-seen yet memorable character, Sarita Jo Franklin, who lives on Palmetto Ranch, an isolated spread was 12,530 acres of pastures, fields and bayous located at Smith’s Point on the shore of Galveston Bay. As Darling writes, “Palmetto was the way Texas used to be.”

It was getting late and the sun was going down. As was Sarita’s custom, she ate a peanut butter sandwich and poured herself another stiff bourbon, but without the branch water. She picked up her little turquoise transistor radio and hobbled back to the porch to look at the stars and find radio stations far away from her struggles on the ranch. The frogs and cicadas were serenading and the sky was clear. She’d never had time to worry about what would happen to the ranch when she was dead. She was too busy staying in control. Now she recognized her death would mean Clete would inherit the ranch if she didn’t write a will to prevent it. All of her work and sacrifice would be for nothing. The reality staggered her and she had no answer.

Sarita turned the tiny dial on the radio until a hypnotic voice floated melodically out of the speaker. Not even the scratchy static of a distant station could distract Sarita’s fascination.

“Do you have what you need? I’ll say it again. Do you have what you need to get into heaven? Do you have money, but not love? Do you have money and no family? You can’t take it with you. Yooou might not know, but I know what you need to do. You can make sure the Randall Clay Prayer Hour stays on the air. Can you help me assure God’s works are done here on earth? God rewards those who make sure his word is spread. All you have to do is send your check to the Reverend Randall Clay Prayer Hour at P.O. Box 823, Hope, Arkansas.” Randall Clay managed to turn the town’s name of Hope into a three syllable word.

Reverend Randall repeated the address over and again. “Now get up and get a pen or pencil and write this down.” He repeated the address. “I know there is someone special out there who is wondering if this is the right thing to do. God knows you’re thinking about it.  He told me straight out right before I came on the air. Don’t you disappoint him! He won’t disappoint you. May Gaaaaawd’s grace be upon you. Once again that’s P.O. Box …”

Sarita Jo Franklin stared down at the little radio after the sermon ended, lost in the enormity of the moment.  She was not religious and not even sure whether God existed. But the visit from Clete, her aching hip, and the uncertainty about what would happen to the ranch after she was gone was upon her with a vengeance. Sarita had thought she was indestructible, but now she knew different.

Sarita walked into the house, repeating “P.O. Box 823, Hope Arkansas, P.O. Box 823.”  She rummaged through the roll top desk for a box of Palmetto ranch stationery and a fresh sheet of carbon paper. Carefully she aligned the carbon paper between the white sheet of stationery and a thin sheet of onion skin paper for Clete’s copy. Satisfied they were aligned, she rolled the sheets into her ancient typewriter. She struck the keys of the manual typewriter forcefully to assure that the carbon paper left a clear image on Clete’s onion skin copy. The rhythmic slapping of the typewriter’s keys comforted her as she typed a letter to the Reverend Randall Clay.

On the bottom of Clete’s copy she hand-wrote a note. “You are no better than your daddy!” When she sealed the two envelopes she felt better. There was just enough time for one more drink before she went to bed. Tomorrow Sarita Jo would fire up the old Chevy truck and drive into Anahuac to the post office. The sooner she and Reverend Randall Clay met up, the better it would be.

William D. Darling is a lifelong storyteller and very nearly a native Texan, arriving in his beloved state as an infant in 1942. His first novel, Morgan’s Point, introduced readers to both the mid-‘60s rough-and-tumble world of the Houston courts where Darling came of age, and the Galveston Bay region that has long fascinated him. His latest novel Anahuac, serves as a sequel to Morgan’s Point as well as its own fascinating tale.

Darling, who has lived within the legislative bustle of Washington, D.C. and in the beauty of a Central Texas ranch, currently resides in Austin, where he and his wife have built a longstanding law practice.

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January 12, 2018, 7:00PM

Anahuac Reading & Signing

Deep Vellum Books, 3000 Commerce Street, Dallas, TX, US 

January 20, 2018, 10:00AM

Anahuac Reading in Anahuac
William D. Darling brings it on home! He’ll read from Anahuac in the city where the new novel is set for the first time ever.
Chambers County Library, 202 Cummings Street, Anahuac, TX, US 

February 17, 2018, 4:30PM

Anahuac Houston Release Event
William D. Darling will sign and read from Anahuac, celebrating the release of the book with friends and well-wishers in the city he once called home, as part of a multi-author event.
Murder by the Books, 2342 Bissonnet, Houston, TX, US 




January 5-January 14, 2018

(U.S. Only)


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