PRESS RELEASE

Farmer's Third Novel Hails to Days When Politics Was a Blood Sport

Michael Farmer's new novel, Conspiracy: The Trial of Oliver Lee and James Gililland, revisits one of the greatest mysteries of the Old West. Based on the true story of the murder trial that followed the disappearance of Albert Fountain and his young son, it provides a stark picture of how politicians have used the law to get away with murder or to hang innocent political opponents.

Smithfield, VA, July 24, 2009-Michael Farmer's new novel, Conspiracy: The Trial of Oliver Lee and James Gililland, based on the true story of the disappearance of Albert Fountain and his young son and the murder trial that followed, revisits one of the greatest mysteries of the Old West. It tells of an 1899 trial in New Mexico Territory that provides a stark picture of how politicians have used the law to get away with murder or to hang innocent political opponents. It's easy to forget that politics can be a blood sport in this day of twenty-four news cycles, "expert" talking head commentary, and politicians weeping in the harsh glare of television lights. Conspiracy: The Trial of Oliver Lee and James Gililland, just released by Sundowners, a division of Treble Heart Books, is quick to remind us.

Albert Fountain-tough frontiersman, respected attorney, newspaper publisher, and Republican Speaker in the territorial legislature-and his eight-year-old son Henry vanished on a cold winter's day in the desert near White Sands, New Mexico Territory in 1896. They were never found. Within two days after learning of the Fountain disappearance, Republicans claimed Oliver Lee, a leading Democrat and deadly gunman, murdered the Fountains. The territorial governor brought Pat Garrett, killer of Billy the Kid, out of retirement, hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency to gather evidence, and contributed to rewards that totaled $20,000 to catch the killers. Three years later, Oliver Lee and his friend James Gililland went to trial in Hillsboro New Mexico.

Conspiracy: The Trial of Oliver Lee and James Gililland shows the trial from the perspective of a young reporter, Quentin Peach, one of many from national newspapers attending the trial. He finds a madam certain the defendants are innocent, powerful businessmen certain they are guilty and the little village where the trial is held filled with blood enemies. It is Pat Garrett's last big case, a case where he fails to arrest the defendants after a dawn firefight and his key witness disappears at the start of the trial. It's a case filled with political warfare where Yankee Republicans accuse Texas Democrats of conspiring to murder an eight-year old boy and Democrats accuse Republicans of conspiring to hang innocent men. It's a case that can stop New Mexico from becoming a state for the next fifty years. It's a case that will change Quentin Peach's life forever. The book is available from Treble Heart Books and Baker & Taylor. 506 pages. Paperback. Price: $16.00. ISBN: 978-1-932695-98-4.

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