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over the brink cover

OVER THE BRINK

“Robert Kresge has an uncanny ability to take the reader on a journey back in time to the 1870s. From the dust and open spaces of Wyoming, to the more sophisticated homes of Buffalo, NY, and the toney hotels of Chicago, you’ll believe your’re actually there experiencing the sights, the sounds, and the smells of a bygone era. The chilling mystery threading its way through the story sets the stage for the exciting payoff readers of this series have waited for: will the fiesty, beautiful Kate Shaw sucumb to the charms of her cowboy friend and fellow detective, Monday Malone? You won’t get the answer until the very end. A must read!”
— Patricia Smith Wood, author of the Harrie McKinsey Series

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Over the Brink, the latest installment in the captivating Warbonnet mysteries, takes the reader away from the Wyoming landscape the author describes so beautifully to the well-tended lawns of New England. School teacher Kate Shaw has returned to her parents’ tree-filled, tradition-bound small town. Marshal Monday Malone follows her there, and also visits burgeoning Chicago, both rendered so vividly that the reader steps right into the late 19th century. The well-paced romantic tension between the two escalates as they struggle to discover why several young women have been discovered bruised and dead, and why their bodies remain unclaimed. This entertaining and well-written novel is a fine addition to Robert Kresge’s worthy series. Bravo.”
Ann Hillerman, author of the award-winning Leaphorn and Chee Navajo mysteries, including Spider Woman's Daughter and Rock With Wings

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“Plot twists, youthful indiscretions and the frailty of human emotions propel Over the Brink into the heart and mind of the reader.  This action-packed installment in the Warbonnet mystery series is Rob Kresge at his best.”
— Steven W. Horn, award-winning author of the Sam Dawson mystery series and Another Man’s Life

 


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UNEARTHING THE BONES

Unearthing the Bones—as with the entire Warbonnet series—is an historical mystery with strong protagonists, a vibrant cast of characters, plenty of suspense, and subtle romance, all wrapped up in language, customs, dress, mores and everyday details of the 19th Century American West.”
— Joseph Badal, award-winning author of Borderline and best-selling thrillers

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“In this winning series, Kresge doesn’t skimp on any essential elements of classic Westerns; he also gives us a healthy dose of reality.  He makes all the disparate elements of small-town Western life believable, spellbinding, and populated with likable characters.  If you’re interested in how we Americans got to where we are, pick up one of Kresge’s Old West mysteries.  But I should warn you:  They’re habit-forming.”
— Clyde Linsley,  author of the Josiah Beede historical mysteries and the forthcoming Old River 

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“This engaging and entertaining mystery transports us to a very real 1870s Wyoming.  Custer’s incursions into Sioux lands lend an undercurrent of darkness to this sparkling mystery, enlivened by Kresge’s portrayal of day-to-day life in the little town of Warbonnet.  Unique and true-to-life characters, paired with great dialogue, make this a wonderful and highly recommended getaway to the Old West.” 
— Susan McDuffie, author of the award-winning Muirteach McPhee mysteries 

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“Kresge’s straightforward writing style delivers a fast-paced story full of delights:  Characters speak and act convincingly for this time and place, rather than displaying miraculously modern opinions on topics such as racism and sexism.” 
— Laura Sanchez, author of the New Mexico mystery Killer Miracle 

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WARRIOR HEARTS

"In addition to the entertainment of a well-crafted mystery, Warrior Hearts gives readers a glimpse of the American West filled with mystery, mayhem, and romance.  Kresge's depictions of Indians and their interaction with white settlers and Army troops bring the past to life in remarkable detail.  The story moves at a clip and even manages a bit of Shakespeare. A fun read from start to finish." 
— Anne Hillerman, NY Times bestselling author of Spider Woman's Daughter

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"Robert Kresge has done it again with Warrior Hearts, a novel that grabs you by the throat and won't let go. Hold onto your saddle horn as Kate Shaw and Monday Malone take you for a wild ride across the Wyoming plains of 1873. Kresge's meticulous research and descriptive prose firmly deposit readers in the Old West with a pair of atypical sleuths and a cast of memorable characters." 
— Steven W. Horn, author of The Pumpkin Eater and Another Man's Life

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"Warrior Hearts is an authentic take on the Old West that is true-to-life in language, mores, customs and dress.  Kresge injects historical events and characters that will take readers back to a wild time in U.S. history."  
— Joseph Badal, best-selling author of the the Danforth Saga and Ultimate Betrayal

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"Kresge's latest novel sets a charming school production of Romeo and Juliet against a plot that threatens to ignite an Indian war.  Monday Malone has his hands full with Kate Shaw, the school teacher who yearns to be a detective.  Kresge knows how to tell an enchanting tale of the Old West. Warrior Hearts is his best yet.
— Steven F. Havill, author of the Posadas County mysteries

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SAVING LINCOLN

"History comes to fire-breathing life in Rob Kresge's sweeping Civil War novel Saving Lincoln. From theater stages to prisons, boarding houses to board rooms, soldiers and spies fight, plot, and fall in love in this suspenseful tale."
— Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Spies and other novels

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"A tense saga of enemy spy masters, their women, friends, and family during the Civil War. A diabolical plot is revealed at the very start, but Kresge maintains suspense by weaving a story that includes many twists and turns and a surprise ending."  
Dana Lombardy, Civil War author and historical consultant for The History Channel

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"Saving Lincoln is a rare treat of a Civil War 'what if' novel that is rigorously researched with an entirely plausible Confederate plot for a desparate and dramatic stroke against Abraham Lincoln himself. Its primary antagonists, both North and South are well-matched, cunning adversaries who engage in a constantly escalating game of move and countermove in an ever-tightening circle of suspense and intrigue, culminating with a true nail-biting finish."  
John Hill, award-winning author of the Johnny Reb series of Civil War games

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"Saving Lincoln has an interesting plot, good development of the central characters, and a crisp storyline with unexpected twists!"  
Scott Mingus, Civil War historian, author of Flames Beyond Gettysburg and others

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DEATH'S ICY HAND

"Murder for Greenhorns was a finalist for the 2011 Bruce Alexander Award for Best Historical Mystery and the captivating sequel (Painted Women) is equally good.  Kresge succeeds in incorporating deduction into the Wild West, and this series will be enjoyed by fans of Steve Hockensmith's Holmes on the Range and William de Andrea's Lobo Black/Quinn Booker series." 
Publisher's Weekly

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"Painted Women, Kresge's picturesque yarn, is entertaining and presents the reader with a fine whodunit to solve.  Though Kate Shaw might seem like the typical smarty-pants schoolmarm, fear not.  She's no sterotype.  This is an enjoyable story with lively characters, a quick pace, and plot twists which keep readers guessing as Monday and Kate pursue the cold-blooded murderer who will do anything to cover his tracks."
Historical Novels Review

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"The series achieves new heights in Death's Icy Hand, where Kresge puts the capital H in historical by centering the story around the visit of Russian Grand Duke Alexis, whose entourage includes Buffalo Bill and George Custer.  His writing is both strong and subtle, deftly handling the veiled romance between Monday and Kate against the backdrop of the majestic sweep of the American West.  A winning series!" 
Mike Orenduff, author of the award-winning Pit Thief mysteries

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When a Russian Grand Duke visits the American west in 1872, his journey takes him and his entourage--his beautiful mistress and her complicit husband, a British maid servant, treacherous Russians, Buffalo Bill Cody and Colonel George Custer--on a Wyoming train trip accompanied by Warbonnet's Marshall Monday Malone and Kate Shaw, schoolteacher and Wyoming's (and America's) first female deputy sheriff.

Echoes of the Orient Express, gone West! Fast-paced lessons of history the way it's best-told, filled with action and romance, Death's Icy Hand is the third mystery in Robert Kresge's Warbonnet series. It traps the appealing Malone and Shaw along with licentious royalty and iconic Americans we thought we knew--the womanizing Custer and poker-sharp Bill Cody--isolated in a snowbound train with a clever killer who threatens them all.

The centerpiece is a locked sleeping car where the principal suspect is found beside one murder victim's corpse. A locked room puzzle! But, in this collection of sophisticated travelers, who will trust the solution sought by an uneducated marshal and a mere woman? Good out of the gate, Kresge's splendid series gets even better book by book.
— Richard Peck, author of Schmidt's Mill and One Jiim West

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Best of the three Warbonnet series. Continued character development as the two lead characters, Kate and Monday, mature before the reader. Good supporting cast of characters leads to a real "who dun it?". (Kresge) likes weaving real characters (such as) Custer and Cody into the tale. Keep up the good work Robert. Can't wait for the next installment of the Warbonnet series.
— John Steed

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A murderer lurks on a Russian Grand Duke's train as he travels across America. Investigators Monday Malone and Kate Shaw try to catch the killer in this pulse-pounding adventure. Robert Kresge shows a flair for research and description in his gripping Warbonnet mysteries. Readers will want all these stories!
— Stephen Brewer

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PAINTED WOMEN

"Monday Malone is the sole lawman in the frontier town of Warbonnet, Wyoming Territory. When his brother is framed for the murder of one of Laramie’s “soiled doves,” Malone turns to Kate Shaw, the brainy Warbonnet schoolteacher, for help in tracking down the real killer. After all, she had already helped Monday solve one murder.

Robert Kresge, a former CIA senior intelligence analyst, is also the author of Painted Women. This Western murder mystery is the sequel to his Murder for Greenhorns, which featured the team of Malone and Shaw. I haven’t read Greenhorns, but it wasn’t needed before reading Painted Women. Kresge’s picturesque yarn is entertaining and presents the reader with a fine whodunit to solve.

Formerly a Texas cowhand, Monday is now a fine sheriff, tough enough to survive a stampede and clever enough to single-handedly capture two criminals in the backwoods. He’s a little sweet on Kate but is also a gentleman who can handle Laramie’s painted ladies and fend off a rancher’s forward daughter.

Though Kate might seem like the typical smarty-pants schoolmarm, fear not. She’s no stereotype. The engaging Ms. Shaw fibs her way onto the Hayden expedition’s 1871 survey of Yellowstone as one of the artists recording those natural wonders for the rest of the world to see. She sketches alongside Thomas Moran, and toys with posing for another of the painters in a canyonside tableau – au naturel.

Painted Women is an enjoyable story with lively characters, a quick pace, and plot twists which keep readers guessing as Monday and Kate pursue the cold-blooded murderer who will do anything to cover his tracks."
Jo Ann Butler, Feb 2012 issue of the Historical Novels Review

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“Kresge’s first installment in the Warbonnet Mystery series—the western Murder for Greenhorns—was a finalist for the 2011 Bruce Alexander Award for Best Historical Mystery, and this captivating tale is equally good.  Set in the late 19th century in Warbonnet in the Wyoming Territory, Marshal Monday Malone faces a quintessential close-to-home crime when he learns that his brother, Tom, has been locked up for murder in Laramie.  A young woman named Francine was stabbed with Tom’s knife, making the circumstantial case against his brother very compelling.  Despite family tension (Tom cheated Monday out of his share of the family ranch), the lawman agrees to look into the case, aided by the very capable Kate Shaw, a schoolteacher angling to land a spot on a geologic survey.  Given that the killer sliced Francine’s heart in two with one blow, Monday suspects a second, shallow wound may be a key to the mystery.  The author succeeds in incorporating deduction into the Wild West and this series will be enjoyed by fans of Steve Hockensmith’s Holmes on the Range and (the late) William DeAndrea’s Lobo Blacke/Quinn Booker series.”
April 2012, Publishers Weekly

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"Robert Kresge's MURDER FOR GREENHORNS changed my mind about historical mysteries. I was never opposed to them on principle. But I never found one I liked and eventually stopped trying. I read Kresge's first book only because so many friends in New Mexico recommended it. After reading the sequel, Painted Women, I realize I like Kresge's works because he actually gets the historical part. Most historicals seem to be about modern characters caught in a time warp. You know they are historicals because, for instance, Wellington is at Waterloo, but the soldier protagonist is just a soldier. Change his uniform and speech and he would work just as well as a member of Caesar's Legions or the French Foreign Legion. Kresge's Monday Malone could exist only in the American West of the late 19th Century. Monday embodies the ethos of that time and place. It is not merely the details of his everyday existence - horse, saddle, gun, food, speech, etc. Kresge is a painstaking researcher and all those details are spot on. But the genius of Kresge's writing is how Malone's actions and statements define his character. Neither Malone nor the narrator tell you what he is like. It is the classic approach of writing 101 - Show, don't tell. Kate Shaw is equally well-drawn and the perfect foil for Monday Malone. She embodies the distaff side of the ethos of the period, but unlike Malone, she is not a child of the Wild West. She was raised in a genteel New England family and came west to teach and - like Malone - to escape bad memories. Kresge has deftly told us just enough of their backstories in each book to explain their present situation and to keep us intrigued and waiting for more. Kate is educated and refined. Malone is rough around the edges and can't spell words with more than one syllable, but his rustic chivalry is charming. They are in love, of course, though neither would admit it, and Malone may not even know it. And at any rate, they are in no position to make permanent plans. Kate is torn between staying out west and returning back east. Malone never intended to become a lawman. We don't know what their futures hold, but we do know they will handle it well. Despite their differences, they are both intrepid. You read through the story in a single setting because you care about what happens to Monday Malone and Kate Shaw. Indeed, all the characters are endearing.

In Painted Women, Monday's brother (only by adoption as Monday was taken in by the family) who swindled him out of his inheritance is in jail in Laramie accused of murdering a "painted woman" or "soiled dove" at the local brothel. Monday is not surprised that Tom seems headed to a bad end, and his initial response is to let the law take its course. But Kate, as always, urges him to search his conscience. Monday goes to see Tom who admits he was so drunk that he doesn't know if he murdered the woman or not. Monday's investigation leads him to believe Tom is innocent. Finding the truth proves tricky as does wrestling with demons from his past.

Painted Women has something for everyone - humor (a case of switched ladies frillies is classically funny), adventure in Yellowstone, and Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran. Kate thinks of becoming a Painted Women in the sense of an artist's model, not a saloon girl. There are bad guys you love to hate, innocence, love, courage, and more atmospherics than an Annie Oakley traveling show. Malone has matured in this story, but he is not yet the man he is destined to be. I hope there are many forthcoming volumes to be enjoyed."

J. M. Orenduff, author of The Pot Thief

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"Rob Kresge has created the most entertaining crime-solving Westerners to come down the trail in quite a spell. It's a wonder the West could stay Wild with a pair like Monday Malone and Kate Shaw on the job!"
Steve Hockensmith, author of the bestselling Holmes on the Range mysteries

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“I loved Painted Women.  Rob Kresge expertly weaves terrific characters, mystery, and Old West Wyoming into a plot that kept me turning the pages in this latest adventure featuring small-town schoolteacher Kate Shaw and Marshal Monday Malone.  Keep ‘em coming, Rob. I’m a fan.”
Janet Dawson, author of the award-winning Jeri Howard mysteries, including Bit Player

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"Kresge nails the feel of the Old West with Painted Women’s fast-paced storyline and strong characters. An author to watch." 
— Aimee and David Thurlo, authors of the award-winning Ella Clah Navajo mysteries and other series

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“Spunky Kate Shaw and noble Monday Malone are back on the track of the bad guys in Rob Kresge’s riveting Painted Women.  Nobody has a better feel for murder and mayhem in the Old West than this master of high country crime!
— Virginia Swift, author of the bestselling Mustang Sally mysteries

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MURDER FOR GREENHORNS

“Kate Shaw and Monday Malone are a fresh and engaging pair of detectives!  Murder for Greenhorns is a clever and funny romp through the Old West where bad guys abound and must be stopped from committing murder . . . .  Rob Kresge has written a page-turner of a debut mystery, with characters you’ll want to visit again and again.” 
— Margaret Coel, New York Times bestselling author of the Wind River series, including The Spider’s Web

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“There’s no one I welcome into the folds of western/mystery more than Rob Kresge; his sense of history and drama hit me like the tang of well-oiled gun leather.”
— Craig Johnson, award-winning author of the Sheriff Walt Longmire series, including The Cold Dish and Junkyard Dogs

 

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“Rob Kresge expertly captures the spirit of the Old West in this tale of mystery, duplicity, and romance.”
— Ann Parker, author of the Silver Rush mystery series, including Leaden Skies

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Murder for Greenhorns takes you back in time to wild west days in Wyoming through the eyes of its compelling characters.  For outdoor mystery, or just good old-fashioned storytelling, take a ride with Kate and Monday and experience the real West.”
— Sandi Ault, Mary Higgins Clark and Willa Award Winning author of the WILD Mystery Series, including Wild Indigo, Wild Inferno, Wild Sorrow, and Wild Penance

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Robert Kresge's MURDER FOR GREENHORNS is a great read. So great, in fact, that it did something I didn't think any book could do - change my mind about an entire genre. I've gone from just liking historicals to being a big fan. Even though I love Robert Parker's Spenser, Sunny Randall, and Jesse Stone series, I could never warm to his westerns. Now I know why. Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch seem like characters from a Spenser novel victimized by time travel. Parker was too good a writer to make an obvious mistake like having them use contemporary slang or use a gadget not yet invented at that time, but there is something about their demeanor that blocked the disbelief I am usually able to suspend. And I didn't realize this until I read MURDER FOR GREENHORNS. His work made me realize that an authentic historical can be a great read. And when it comes to the old west, Kresge does it better than Parker.

MURDER FOR GREENHORNS transported me to the summer of 1870 in Warbonnet, Wyoming, where the people I met were just what I expected. Kresge did all the research required to get the horses, six-shooters, food, dress, wagons, miners, buildings, soldiers, music, dances, and every other detail of life in that era correct. More importantly, he captures the ethos of the people and the time, and that is the charm of the book. All his characters are well-drawn, even the youngsters, something many authors struggle with.

Monday Malone is a cowboy headed to Montana looking for work. Kate Shaw is the beautiful young woman from back East traveling to Warbonnet to be the town's first teacher. Sam Taggart is a lawman who will be the little town's first marshal. Taggart is to accompany Miss Shaw on the ride from Laramie. Malone tags along, in part because it's handy to have a second gun in the unsettled area they will traverse, in part because it `s less seemly for a woman to travel alone with one male companion, but mainly because he is smitten with her. It is not a plot spoiler to say that romance eventually blooms. You know this from the start, and seeing the twists and turns along the way is part of what makes the reading so much fun. About halfway to Warbonnet, Sam Taggart is gunned down by an unseen assailant using a long-range rifle. Because of the distance of the shooter, neither Malone nor Shaw gets a good look at the shooter. But Malone finds the spot from which he fired. There he finds clues in the form of a spent cartridge, hairs from the horse caught on the bushes and fresh horse manure that shows oats rather than grass. Shaw thinks the likely explanation for the shooting is that someone in Warbonnet didn't want the law in town. She wants to find out who, especially since she will be living there. She convinces Malone to pretend to be Taggart so that he can serve as marshal long enough to help her solve the crime. They take Taggart's body to Warbonnet where he is buried as Malone. Keeping up the identity switch proves difficulty, and the investigation proves to be even more so. The plot is just complex enough to make the mystery a fun puzzle, but not so convoluted that you get lost.

I started by saying that this book changed my mind about historicals. But it is also almost a cozy in its own way. Malone is not only pure of heart; he is also a bit of a bungler, especially around attractive women. The characters in this book are so good that I hope there is a sequel. Soon. If you want an excellent mystery woven into a feel-good story, you cannot do better than MURDER FOR GREENHORNS.

Mike Orenduff, Author of the Pot Thief Murder Mysteries

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