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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
384 pages
Aug 2007
The Writers Cafe Press

Light at the Edge of Darkness

by Cynthia MacKinnon

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


“COME ON IN TO Snyder’s Casino, the best place to gamble

without going to Reno. Come on in to Snyder’s Casino.”

Snyder put his feet up on the chips counter. He could listen to

that all night. The dancing girl quit after a mere two hours of

singing that, so now he just played a loop from his radio ad.

That had been a calculated risk—Idaho had a law against


He puffed on his cigar. Not much of a smoker; the cigar just

projected the right image.

The sheriff sauntered in. “Got my money?”

Most in these parts had a superstition against the international currency, or rather

that trading in it required a computerized ID tag embedded in the right wrist.   

Irrational or not, who could resist the big bucks available tax-free on the underground


      He pulled out a pile of silver from beneath the desk and slid it across the counter.


      The sheriff pocketed the archaic currency. “Mind if I play a few?”

      “Sure.” Snyder opened his drawer and handed the sheriff fifty red chips. “First

fifty dollars is on the house.” He’d have his silver back before dawn.

      Thank God Mama Borden still lived in Boise. He’d disappointed her enough

without the casino. Still, for a high school dropout who chose enlisting over the pen—

and got court-martialed three years ago to boot—he hadn’t done half bad. Most

twenty-two-year-olds he knew were up to their noses in debt and bussing tables, or

something equally glamorous.

      Chico ran in. “Boss, someone outside wants to see you.”

      “Tell them to come in.”

      Chico frowned. “He refused to enter a place that hires Spics.”

      Snyder reached under the counter and grabbed his old friend Colt.

      The scent of fear poured from Chico. “Hey, Boss, you promised your old woman—”

      “—I’ll try and be peaceful.” Snyder slipped the gun inside his coat. “But it doesn’t

hurt to be prepared to speak a language he’ll understand.”

      Out on the porch, Snyder approached a White man with a handle bar mustache,

and a permanent scowl chiseled on his brow.

      The bigot folded his arms. “You A.L. Snyder?”

      Snyder took a puff from his cigar. “If you’ve got magazines, I’m not interested. If

you’ve got religion, ditto. If you’re running for office, I like the people we’ve got.

They’re willing to take a gamble.”

      “I’m Hal Specter, Chairman of Citizens for a Better Moscow.”

      Idaho’s worst. Those racist animals would’ve left Snyder in slavery rather than let

a Black woman carry a White boy to term. “Good for you.”

      “I’m concerned about the undesirables in your employ.”

      Snyder set his jaw. Hal wouldn’t be so polite if he knew about Mama Borden. “I’ve

never hired you.”

      Hal glanced through the glass door at Chico. “I’m talking about these minorities.

Moscow is proud to be a place of White Heritage.”

      Snyder blew cigar smoke in Hal’s face. He put out his cigar in Hal’s pocket. “Send

my regards to the rest of the committee.”

      Hal took a swing, but Snyder kicked Hal in the stomach, knocking him to the

ground. He punched Hal in the face and placed his knee near Hal’s privates.                 

      “Everybody whined about me and my men running a gang. Said to do something

with our lives. Well, we’ve done it, and now you’re whining about that. Get off my

property before I call the police.”

      Hal smirked. “So, they can arrest me for disturbing your illegal casino’s peace?”

      Snyder waved at the door. “The sheriff’s inside. So’s the judge.”

      He released Hal. “Have a nice day and thanks for coming by. Don’t come back

again soon.”