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Since Bass Reeves (2010) Craig has been out of the western movie business. In May of this year he completed work on another western titled The Oldest Posse.
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Craig Rainey has appeared in more than 60 feature films. He has been nominated for and won many acting awards.
Author of 7 novels and 1 non-fiction book, Craig Rainey has a large reading audience. Most popular are his Carson Brand action thriller novels.
Craig Rainey's screenplays have won numerous awards including, Best Screenplay, Most Likely to be Produced as a Movie, Best Historical Action Screenplay, he won Best Breakout Writer in 2017.
In this fast-paced crime action thriller, Carson Brand and his best friend Bert cross the Mexican border for a night out. Brand doesn’t know about his friend’s secret association with organized crime. He also doesn’t know this will be his last night with Bert. Brand is pursued by murderous Sicarios, sought by federal and state authorities, and seduced then betrayed by the lovely Christina.
In this action thriller, Carson Brand is hired by a congressional candidate to work in his election campaign. As he gets deeper inside the organization, Brand learns that there is a side to the political process that the voters never see. Brand uncovers questionable tactics, shady operatives, and self-serving donors with agendas of their own. Brand's involvement threatens their plan to rule the country, targeting him for elimination.
Carson Brand wakes up in a stranger’s bed with no memory of who he is or where he has been. The beautiful stranger, Dehra, and her brother Leon, stumble upon an international plot to control the American people and the government. With no memory of his past and the enemies who hunt him, Brand must protect his new friends from mercenaries dispatched to silence the two before they tell what they know about the plot, while avoiding his own enemies’ efforts to exact revenge for actions he can’t remember.
Carson Brand believes he is leaving the problems he had with the DEA and the FBI behind when he gives up his work as a federal contractor. Taking a job with Sovereign Services, an elite private security firm, lands him once again into the complicated world of national and international intrigue. Framed for a kidnapping he did not commit, Brand has to elude the FBI’s Abduction Task Force and a state police force convinced he is one of the FBI’s most wanted. Learning that one of their elite operatives has gone rogue, Sovereign Services acts quickly to rescue the daughter of one of the richest men in the world, and exact deadly retribution for Brand’s betrayal.
In this western fiction classic novel, Boyd Hutton is a desperate and ruthless outlaw, known for his swift and deadly actions. His latest crime, the attempted robbery of the most secure bank in the western frontier, ends with the destruction of his devoted gang of outlaws. Alone, he eludes the pursuit of a vengeful posse and determined Texas Rangers. He is joined along the way by young Cab Jackson, who helps him across the Rio Grande into Mexico where Hutton continues his crime wave.
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Set in the backdrop of one of the bloodiest range wars in Texas history, HooDoo War is the story of Boyd Wechsler, the son of a lovely young widow, who grows up on his wealthy grandfather’s ranch. He learns the truth about his long-dead father when a ruthless outlaw and his gang are arrested and condemned to death at the hands of a corrupt sheriff. After learning the secret his mother and grandfather kept from him his entire life, he finds himself on a path shared by those who seek revenge against his grandfather and the men who support him.
The men moved in. Two of them grasped Bert’s arms and dragged him to the nearest SUV.
Brand took two steps towards the group. The guard pulled the snap on his leather holster. He grasped the butt of his service weapon.
“On the ground, gringo,” he commanded as he drew his pistol.
Brand spun on his left foot and dropped the guard with a hard right to the face. He moved with him as the guard fell. He punched him twice more in the face.
The stunned guard lay on the warm tarmac bleeding from his nose and mouth. Brand grabbed his pistol and chambered a round. He ran towards the two SUV’s. Bert struggled against his captors. Brand pushed the gun ahead of him and fired two shots. The first broke the window out of one of the open doors of the first SUV. The second punched a hole in the door below the broken window. The men drew weapons and sent a volley of bullets at Brand. Luckily, the bullets flew wide as they jumped for cover. The distance was great for hand guns. Brand leapt to the side and fired rapidly, perforating the lead SUV with multiple hits.
A total of four men forced Bert into the second SUV. He resisted mightily until one of them struck him in the face with a pistol. They finally wrestled him into the back seat. The last Brand saw of his friend before they closed the door was his face contorted with a terrified look of despair. Brand stood with the pistol hanging at his side as the men entered the vehicles with slammed doors. They put the trucks in gear and sped away from the border crossing. Soon the taillights faded into the dull night.
Brand heard the guard moan as he slowly regained his faculties. Brand returned to him quickly.
“I should kill you,” Brand threatened through clenched teeth. “Where did they take him?”
The guard glared at him. His cut and bloodied face showed no intention of cooperating.
“You are next, Carson Brand,” he said spitting blood.
Brand straightened and drew a surprised breath before he brought the gun down hard into the man’s hate-filled face. He pulled the clip and cleared the breech. He moved to drop the pieces on the pavement. After a quick reconsideration, he threw the weapon’s components off the bridge. He turned north and crossed the bridge, the Rio Grande unseen in the darkness far below.
THE SEVENTH FLOOR OF THE HARRIS COUNTY Lock-up was one of Houston’s best-kept dirty secrets. Brand was now a part of that secret hell. It was called Gladiator Floor. The Harris County jail was a nightmare at any rate. Poor living conditions and an inadequate number of guards made the typical day a hazardous one for inmates. For years, Houston newspapers had run opinion pieces and features decrying the shoddy conditions and the rising rate of fatalities within the jail. At in-processing Brand had been printed and booked ahead of many who had been there for hours. During his brief stay in the pre-booking hold, much of the conversation within the large, crowded holding cell had to do with being magistrated at the P.C. Court and posting bond. Brand had been allowed neither of those. He had been stripped and dressed in a stiff jumpsuit and black Crocs. After a rapid booking, he had been marched upstairs to permanent housing.
Four days later found him jailed with the hardest gang bangers in the Harris County lock-up. Each night since his arrival, the guards had staged fights between inmates, betting on the outcomes. Although the battles were staged, and the participants forced to fight, every tattooed hard case there was trying to make his bones. Brand’s introduction to the fighting event had been short but compelling. His cellmate had broken down the details for him as the guards approached his cell, calling his name.
“You fight when the guards tell you to. There is no refusal. Those who refuse to fight are raped.”
Brand stood alone in the wide concourse, cells bordering both sides. He was new, which made him a target. His bare feet felt raw on the concrete floor.
A lean, sinewy black man glared fiercely from the opposite side of the grey corridor. Corded muscles moved beneath his skin like angry pythons within a shining sack. Sweat slick tattoos covered him from the top of his bald head, down his torso and into the black and white striped jumpsuit, draped low where it was tied off at his waist.
From their cells, inmates yelled as they craned their necks to get a view of the combatants through rough bars.
Three guards stood against the far wall, grinning cruelly.
“The white boy is going down,” one said to his companions.
The sweat-slicked black man, Williams, was their longest reigning champion. Of all the inmates, he was one of the few who seemed to enjoy the fights. Others fought because combat was preferable to the alternative if they refused. Williams thrived on the conflict. He reveled in the notoriety and the stench of fear that ran down his opponents’ legs.
To all who surveyed the combatants, guards and inmates, the fresh-faced new guy was obviously no match for Williams. He was around six feet tall, unremarkable in his medium build, with only a hint of athleticism about him.
Their disregard for the new man’s chances rested chiefly upon his manner. He lacked the predatory nature common to those who had scraped victory from the violent battles. Their champion, Williams, had all the physical traits and the inner rage of a career hardass. He eyed Brand hungrily, like a ravenous wolf on the blood scent. He bounced on light feet, surplus energy demanding release.
The guards placed their bets, offering odds on the duration of the fight rather than upon the outcome. They were confident in the inevitable end awaiting the new guy.
Brand sensed the overwhelming sentiment against him in the shouted remarks from inmates and particularly in the confidence of the angry man before him. He paid no attention to the baiting and the dire warnings of the crowd. His sole preoccupation was the fierce black man before him.
Brand angled his stance slightly away from his opponent. He flexed his knees in a ready position. He had no idea how the attack would come, but he knew it would happen soon. He felt himself growing angry. He disliked being pressed into a fight he hadn’t started. He certainly resented the obvious opinion that he was an easy victim for the tattooed criminal. Although new to prison, Brand was no novice in a fist fight.
Extraneous thoughts scattered as Williams lowered his head, his jaw working in a ripple of flexing muscles. He approached Brand openly, his hands hanging low along his sides. Brand circled as he kept the man in front of him, maintaining his angled front.
The guard who had discounted Brand’s chances in the fight chuckled without humor. He shifted his weight, impatient for the blood which was soon to be spilled. Williams moved slowly, his deceptive tact bringing him imperceptibly closer to his quarry. Anyone who had seen Williams fight had seen this technique.
“The white guy is toast,” the guard muttered through set teeth.
Williams continued his disguised forward movement until he saw the smallest shift as Brand moved to create space between them. With incredible speed, his right hand shot towards Brand’s face.
Brand turned his head, reducing the impact to a glancing blow off his jaw. The full impact of the punch would have knocked him flat. The lessened force delivered enough force to draw an immediate response from Brand.
Brand’s reaction was as blindingly quick as William’s punch. The off-balance combatant caught the blow fully in the center of his face. He felt his nose break and his teeth rattle loose. Brand pressed his weight onto his left foot and collapsed William’s throat with a sharp left.
Williams made a strangled sound as he fell, holding his throat. He clawed at his neck as he tried to open his airway. Brand stepped in, grabbing Williams by the throat. He delivered a rapid flurry of rights into his face.
BRAND AWOKE SUDDENLY. He lay in Dehra’s bed, frozen in place, his senses strung tightly. He inhaled lightly and slowly. He detected the faint smell of gasoline. To his left Dehra breathed rhythmically in her deep sleep. He listened intently but heard nothing. He was troubled, unsure what had roused him from a dream of his old friend Bert.
In the dream he and his late friend sat together in an unfamiliar living room, in an unfamiliar house, watching a dark television. Bert turned to him with a serious look and said, “You’d best watch your ass, tough guy.”
Brand had awakened with a start. He remained stock still, listening with tensed nerves. Still, he heard nothing…There! He heard a muffled sound outside the window on Dehra’s side of the bed.
Brand slipped from the bedding. He gave only a moment’s consideration to his nudity, dismissing it for the moment. He moved quietly, settling his weight carefully on the pads of his bare feet. He picked his way soundlessly across the floor, parting the curtain from the window frame enough to see outside. Below him, a man wearing dark clothing flicked a lighter, setting a small fire under the mobile home.
He saw the man more clearly in the new firelight. He wore a full-faced ski mask and black gloves. Brand made out the shiny leather of a slung holster in the growing light of the blaze.
The arsonist cast a cautious glance at the window but seemed oblivious to the slightly parted curtain. Perhaps the flame had spoiled his night vision. Brand watched as the man moved quickly out of the fire’s glow towards the front of the mobile home. Another flickering light caught his attention from the other end of the narrow mobile home. Another fire was being set.
Brand moved towards the back door. He tried the handle and the door opened only a fraction of an inch before it jammed against an obstruction. The door had been barred from the outside.
He was trapped. It occurred to him that maybe he was not trapped, instead that he was being flushed towards the front door. His reasoning sped along crazily as he struggled to come to terms with assailants in clandestine uniforms setting fires to a mobile home, locking the occupants inside or maybe to drive them to the front door. How could the Cartel have found him so quickly?
He considered dressing to meet this foe. Instead, he made his way silently to the front door, the smell of smoke filling the air around him. He had to know the intentions of his attackers. The front doorknob turned easily. He pushed the door open no more than a fraction of an inch. The door moved without impediment. That confirmed that the assailants expected him and the others to flee the fire out the front door. His training and his common sense warned him of an ambush. He carefully pulled the door closed and turned towards the bedrooms in the rear of the trailer.
Brand arrived at Leon’s bedroom first. He clapped a hand over Leon’s mouth as he woke him from his loud snoring. “Mmmmpff,” a startled Leon managed through Brand’s restricting grasp.
“It’s me,” Brand said in a low but authoritative tone. “Shut up and listen to me. The house is on fire. We have to get out of here, but there are men with guns waiting for us outside the front door. I need you to get dressed quickly and wait for me here. I will get Dehra and we will leave together. Do you understand?”
After a few final checks, Brett released the brakes and the plane moved smoothly forward. As the aircraft cleared the protected hangar area, the wind turned its fury upon it. Without the buildings to block the gusts, the little plane’s wings dipped and shook. They taxied a short distance to the runway. Brett oriented the aircraft into the wind, decreasing the wind’s effects on the wings. Brett powered up the engines and the plane eased forward.
“What the fuck is that?” Brett called over the noise of engines and weather.
“Shit,” Steven yelled as a muffled explosion sounded outside the plane. The aircraft shuddered as if from an impact. Another muffled blast sounded. Madison looked out her window to see Brand wielding a shotgun. He fired two more times into the starboard engine. The motor belched smoke and flame as it sputtered to a halt. Hugh unlatched his safety belt and climbed out of the door, freezing air chilling the cabin. Vittorio flung open the back door and squeezed out into the chilly night.
Steven pulled Brand’s Sig from his pants.
Brand shot him dead center.
The pistol clattered onto the tarmac as Hugh fell on his face, his head striking the pavement with a sound like a hurled melon. Vittorio charged Brand, his hands at his sides, curled into claws. Brand pumped the shotgun and pulled the trigger. The mechanism clicked hollowly. He was empty.
Vittorio was upon him, grabbing his arm. He pulled back a giant fist and punched at Brand’s head.
Brand ducked the blow, bumping into the bigger man, pulling him over his lowered shoulder.
Vittorio grunted as he struck the ground with his full weight. Brand kicked him in the head. A second kick ended in one of Vittorio’s big hands. He twisted Brand’s leg, forcing him to the ground rather than suffering an injury from the powerful wrenching.
The big Jamaican rose to his feet, clinging to Brand’s foot.
Brand slammed the heel of his free foot onto the man’s big fingers.
Vittorio’s grip weakened sufficiently for Brand to free himself with a violent tug.
Brand rushed the bigger man, surprising him with the move. He brought a knee up into Vittorio’s groin. An elbow followed to the face causing a stream of blood to leak from Vittorio’s nose. With the power of a huge pneumatic hammer, the bigger man swung an arching punch at Brand.
Brand stepped inside the path of the punch, striking him twice in the face. A left to the throat constricted his airway and Vittorio clutched his neck as he struggled to breathe. Brand moved to Hugh’s body. He collected his Sig, checking it for a round in the chamber. He pulled the magazine clip. It was full. He turned as Vittorio who clutched his injured throat with one hand, using the other to crawl on his knees towards Brand. His face was a contorted mask of hatred and fury.
Brand shot him three times in the head.
Vittorio sagged to the tarmac.
The boy on the roan gelding, Boyd Wechsler was not much older than those attending school lessons. He was seventeen years old, but his broad shoulders and direct manner gave him the appearance of a grown man.
Making his way past the courthouse, he guided his mount towards a point in front of the hotel.
As he drew rein, he watched from horseback as three boys surrounded a small tow-headed boy. The boy was Boyd’s younger cousin, Hans.
Although smaller, with none of the might of his elder cousins, Hans faced the three larger boys with a fearlessness Boyd did not understand but admired despite its foolhardiness.
The hotel was empty of all its school goers and patrons, including schoolmaster Ellis, gathered outside to witness the inevitable destruction of the German rancher boy.
Boyd remained in the saddle, curious to see how long his cousin’s courage would hold. He wasn’t eager to allow little Hans to be injured, but his fascination with the courage of the diminutive sprat stayed his succor.
He had grown up with the bloody violence of a war fought between friends and brothers. His experience was of blue coats inflicting postwar cruelty upon southern folks despite participating in military service or not. Even the foreigners, Germans immigrated to Texas to claim awarded land grants, were not immune from northern brutality. Boyd’s grandfather had suffered the loss of cattle and supplies, taken by Union Army Peacekeepers in claimed support for the army’s protection.
Most Union Peacekeepers were civilian volunteers, pilfering a profit from war weary, and male depleted settlers along the frontier.
On frequent occasions, Boyd had joined the men as they pursued rustlers and thieves. Despite his participation and his sharing in the bloodletting with the men, the Wolf showed no deference to him. Instead, the old man continued to thrash him for his misdeeds as he did the younger children in his family, like a schoolboy.
Boyd was acquainted with Hans’ three assailants. Two were the brothers, Pogue and Gayle Spears, nearly Boyd’s age. He guessed Gayle was perhaps a year his junior. There was little doubt they were the catalyst for the conflict. The Spears brothers reminded Boyd of a pair of stray dogs, filling their loafing boredom with violence, ganging up to inflict cruelty upon the helpless.
The third boy was Trace Worley. His father was deputy John Worley, trusted second to Mason County’s Sheriff John Clark.
Pogue’s lantern jaw jutted ahead of his tall knobby frame, daring Hans to take a swing at it.
Gayle leered cruelly, restraining himself from launching a sneak attack. Trace Worley kept a cautious distance, content to follow the others’ lead.
“I heard you been jawing about us,” Pogue lied, spit carrying his words across the distance between them.
“You square heads think you own this town. I got news for you. You don’t.”
Hans watched Pogue carefully, familiar with his penchant for surprise attacks. He knew it would come, and he was certain he could not avoid it.
“He ain’t denying it, Pogue,” Gayle said with an accusing hiss.
“Ain’t no denying it,” Pogue agreed, though he shook his head as if he didn’t. “Everybody knows him and his kind don’t belong here. No piece of paper can say otherwise.”
Oblivious to the crowd, Hans said nothing in reply to the Spears’ comments, choosing instead to save his energy and his attention for the violence ahead. Pogue nodded as though Hans had indeed made a retort. He aimed a fast-moving fist at the smaller boy’s face. The impact sounded like a stone thrown against a rotten tree trunk.
Boyd dropped lightly from the saddle, dust puffing beneath his heavy boots. He moved through the crowd with long strides, arriving at the fray as Trace Worley moved in to join the Spears brothers in the beating.
Boyd grabbed a handful of Trace’s curly hair and yanked him away from the fight, flinging him onto his back in the dirt. Pogue turned to counter this new threat and Boyd backhanded him across his nose. Blood spurted in a wide arc, staining the ground in a thick red line.
Gayle aimed a hard fist at Boyd’s face.
Boyd bowed his head, taking the blow on the crown of his skull. Gayle’s knuckles collapsed against the hard bone. He yowled as he clutched the injured hand to his chest.
Boyd blacked his eye, then dropped him with a punch behind the ear.
Despite being rescued from a certain beating, Hans repaid Boyd’s heroism with a dark look.
Boyd gripped his arm, dragging the resistant Hans through the crowd to his horse.
He saw movement from the corner of his eye. His gaze went to the open doorway. Another silhouette was there, again leaning against the door jamb, arms crossed.
“You need any help, Chief?”
Cab Jackson pushed his hat back on his head, keeping his right hand near his holstered colt.
Hutton straightened and peered at Cab in dis-belief.
“Good god,” he breathed. “Cab, I thought you were cold in the ground by now.”
Cab straightened and walked into the stables. He halted out of shovel range.
“Come close a couple of times, but I’m still foggin’ glass far as I can tell.”
Hutton looked Cab up and down. His voice held little warmth and much caution as he spoke to his long absent trail partner.
“So it appears. What brings you to this neck of the woods?”
Cab was surprised at the tone of Hutton’s voice. Did he detect a hint of apprehension – perhaps fear? He shifted his weight as he answered.
“Two things,” he replied, “One of ‘em ended up there on the ground.”
He indicated the dead man at Hutton’s feet.
“I been tracking this man eater since we split up.”
Cab removed his hat and tousled his long hair.
“You sent him on quite a bloody tirade. He was easy to follow when he was around polite society, but he don’t hardly leave a track in open country.”
“And what’s the second?” Hutton grasped the shovel handle more firmly. “You reckon to croak me now? It’ll have to wait till I dig this hole.”
Cab looked at him for a long time. His face registered deep thought as he considered his reply.
Hutton stiffened behind his dispassionate expression. He saw much in Cab with which he was very familiar. He knew that many of his own victims had seen this same air of judgement in their last moments.
With a dismissive chuckle, Cab’s demeanor relaxed.
“You could always make me laugh Chief.”
Cab sniffed audibly. The smell of cooking was strong on the fresh-ening night air.
“You seem pretty settled down for a bad man.”
Hutton looked towards the ground. He turned his back to the younger man and sunk the shovel once again. Cab watched him dig with mild interest.
“Juliana and I got a nice life playin’ out.”
Hutton did not look up from his task.
“She deserves at least that.”
Cab produced the makings. Hutton glanced at him as he rolled the smoke with his left hand. The shovel again stabbed the earth. Hutton spoke as he dug.
“You been busy pickin’ up where we left off. From the rumors, you have become a full-grown man yourself.”
Cab shrugged as he lit the cigarette.
“You took the attention off of Juliana and me.”
Cab blew smoke at the ceiling.
“You’re done with all that, I take it,” Cab said through a cloud of smoke.
Hutton stood up and leaned against the shovel as he considered the youth. His face registered genuine respect.
“I gotta hand it to you kid. You’re wearing long pants now.”
A sarcastic laugh escaped Cab in a single grunt.
“A lot has changed for both of us.”
Hutton shook his head. His expression became sober and his look direct.
“I’m done son.”
Cab nodded towards the dead man.
“It don’t look that way.”
“This here is old business needed tending.”
Cab smiled grimly then pulled at his cigarette.
“Is that how you see me: old business?” he asked through exhaled smoke.
Hutton detected a hint of menace in the question. His eyes met Cab’s for a moment. He felt his short hairs stand. The older outlaw spoke with an edge to his tone.
“There ain’t no need to take this thing further.”
He waited a moment for the younger man’s reply. When none came, he narrowed his eyes in resolute acceptance.
“She ends how you decide.”
Hutton’s voice had lost much of its casual tone. “I reckon you’re man enough for the job however you decide to manage it.”
Cab considered his words. He watched Hutton, his cigarette un-moving in his mouth.
“Simple as that?” He finally asked around his cigarette.
Hutton felt his next words were important to his future.
“More easy than simple is how it adds up to me.”
In an instant the youth’s posture relaxed and he rubbed his hands together, drawing on the cigarette, the ash glowing red. Cab was again the youth Hutton had known on the trail.
“I reckon there is nothing to do but slope then. A clean break is best.”
Cab looked at Hutton one last time.
Finally, he said, “Adieu Chief.”
He turned and strode through the doors. Hutton heard horse’s hooves beating the ground as Cab left.
Best Actor in a Feature - The Oldest Posse (Bass and Belle Film Festival 2023)
Action Thriller Crime Adventure International Film Festival 2023 (Stolen Valor)
Top Script Awards 2023 (Stolen Valor)
Atlanta Screenplay Awards 2023 (Stolen Valor)
Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood 2024 (Stolen Valor)
International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel (These Toxic Things)
Average Rating – 4.8/5
"Rainey keenly depicts an unforgiving landscape throughout this novel – a nearly lawless world where brutal violence can erupt at a moment’s notice."
"THE AUTHOR PAINTS VIVID SCENES…HE SHEDS LIGHT ON DRUG TRAFFICKING AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING…WHICH THE AVERAGE PERSON DOESN’T ENCOUNTER DAILY. THE EXCEPTIONAL EDITING ADDS TO THE BOOK’S QUALITY. STOLEN VALOR DESERVES A RATING OF 4 OUT OF 4 STARS BECAUSE IT IS A GRIPPING AND EYE-OPENING READ. I WILL RECOMMEND IT…TO LOVERS OF CRIME STORIES, AND LOVERS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars."
"Reading Dark Motive feels like watching an action movie in 3D display. The author’s way of describing scenery and unfolding events is quite gripping and adds to the momentum, as the reader is left wondering with anxiousness about what is going to happen next. This book is a masterpiece and deserves the maximum stars!”
"Wow! Great first book in a series I will follow!"
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Since Bass Reeves (2010) Craig has been out of the western movie business. In May of this year he completed work on another western titled The Oldest Posse.
Craig Rainey won best Actor in a Feature Film 2023 for his work in The Oldest Posse as the main character, Walker.