Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Texas Rangers...then and Now

 By Glenda Thompson

Please give a big welcome to our guest.   A sixth-generation Texan with Scottish roots, Glenda Thompson can 'bless your heart' with the best of them. As a former emergency medical technician married to a south Texas Lawman, she's used insider information from both their careers as inspiration to build her Broken world of Texas Rangers with hidden pasts and dark secrets.

“No man in the wrong can stand up to a man in the right who just keeps on a-comin’.”—The Texas Ranger Creed.


Texas Rangers have long been considered the biggest, baddest, best cowboys in Texas. In 1823, the Father of Texas Stephen F. Austin hired ten men to act as a defense for the 700 newly settled families who arrived in Mexican Texas. Established to protect frontier settlements from Indian attacks, the Rangers gained their reputation for ferocity when they fought in the Mexican War of Independence. They fought so hard with no thought of surrender that they became known as “Los Diablos Tejanos”—The Texas Devils.


“One riot, one Ranger” is a quote attributed to Captain Bill McDonald. According to legend, which may or may not have been exaggerated a tiny bit, in the 1890s a prizefight was scheduled in the heart of Texas… or maybe along the Rio Grande… or even West Texas… anyway, somewhere in Texas a prizefight was scheduled that the citizens wanted stopped. They called the Rangers to prevent it from happening. The mayor and prominent citizens met the Rangers at the train. Disappointed painted their faces when a single Ranger stepped from the train. The mayor asked, “Where are the rest of your men?”


Captain McDonald is said to have replied, “There’s just one prizefight, isn’t there?”


In 1935, the Texas Department of Public Safety became the governing body of the Rangers. Prior to this, the Rangers were a unique proposition. They didn’t belong to the regular army. They weren’t a militia nor a national guard, and they were never declared an official police force. Rather, they were one of the most colorful, deadly groups of irregular partisans supporting law and order that the country has ever seen. They said a Ranger would charge hell with a bucket of water. 


Rangers pride themselves in being able to take care of their business with minimal aid, but they aren’t too proud to ask for help when they need it. Since the Department of Public Safety began in 1935, there have been a few occasions in which it took the efforts of every Ranger in the state to resolve the situation. In the 1950s, illegal gambling in the Galveston area was out of control. The Rangers checked into Galveston’s Buccaneer Hotel and didn’t check out again for three and a half years. After that, they dealt with the slant hole drilling business of the early 1960s in Kilgore, Texas. A third event was the Lone Star Strike in 1968. Rangers hated working strikes because they are a lose-lose situation. Each side felt the Rangers favored the other.


Today’s Texas Rangers are just as tough, but still human. My novel, Broken Toys, follows an investigation into human trafficking while showing the human side of my Rangers.


Texas Ranger Noah Morgan has his life together—with a great job and the girl of his dreams. Too bad it's all based on a lie. A single phone call threatens to bring it all crashing down. After an irate citizen complains shoddy workmanship has left him with a booby-trapped driveway, and the local sheriff's office is too busy to respond, Noah takes the call. The investigation of local scam artists uncovers a human trafficking ring, Noah fights to avoid being swept back into the sights of his murderous family—people he escaped at the age of seventeen.

Can he keep his past a secret or will his carefully crafted life come to a violent end?

 “His life is perfect. Too bad it’s built on a lie.”


“While we wait for the mobile crime scene lab to arrive  from Austin, I need you to sign this consent-to-search form. Next, Ranger Trammell and I will photograph the scene to preserve it in situ—as it currently is.” 

“Now you wait one cotton-picking minute,” the old man growled. “How long will all that take? What if I don’t want to sign your verdammt form? I need my car. The old lady has several doctors’ appointments in San Antonio this afternoon.” 

Noah lifted his hat again and brushed sweat off his forehead before it rolled into his eyes. “Tell you what. Sign this piece of paper giving us permission to search your driveway, and as soon as we finish the photography, Ranger Trammell and I will change your tire. Then you can pull your car out of the driveway. If you don’t sign it, we will have to find a judge and get a warrant. Going the warrant route will delay things considerably.” Noah shrugged. “The choice is yours. Either way it goes, you won’t be able to pull back in for some time. We’re going to have to tape off your driveway and process it as a crime scene. Is there somewhere you could stay for a few days?” 

“Crime scene?” Mr. Schmidt crumpled as if he’d been kicked in the solar plexus. Bewilderment flooded his features. For the first time since the rangers arrived, the man looked old. “My driveway is a crime scene?” 

“I’m afraid so, sir,” Noah said, using the tone he reserved for scared kids, grieving family members and sagging old men who hadn’t tasted sweet tea in more than sixty years. “Hip implants, bits of bone and teeth are not normally used for road base. It looks like someone may have disposed of a body in your driveway.”


Pre-order link: 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/35I46EX

You can keep up with Glenda at www.glendathompson.com or follow her on Twitter @PressRattler or Facebook @Glenda Thompson, Author.

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Julie Lence said...

Hi Glenda! Thank you for filling in for Andrea today. Loved the info regarding the Texas Rangers. Such a daring and heroic bunch. Your upcoming release sounds intriguing. I love a mystery and preordered a copy. Hugs!

GiniRifkin said...

Hi Glenda: Thank you for the great post, so interesting and I learned a lot. Your excerpt is a real grabber. Love a good mystery too.

Glenda Thompson said...

Thank you! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

Glenda Thompson said...

Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it.