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Dead Run: The Murder of a Lawman and the Greatest Manhunt of the Modern American West MP3 CD – Audiobook, 25 Mar 2014

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Amazon.com: 74 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Captivating Real Life Thriller that Proves the West is Still Wild 8 April 2013
By Eliza McEvoy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
DEAD RUN is one of those nonfiction books that proves life is stranger than fiction. The book opens with the shocking, tragic murder of small town Colorado cop Dale Claxton, and the adrenaline rush continues as law enforcement from across the country converge on the Four Corners area to track the killers through some of the most brutal, rugged terrain in America. I couldn't help but think of Cormac McCarthy books while reading. This sensational case's twists and turns will keep you guessing as to the motives of the killers, and whether they will be apprehended. The larger takeaway, however, is how eerily relevant this story is to contemporary discussions of gun control and America's glorification of vigilante justice. A great read for those who enjoy American history, Journalism, and True Crime.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Dead Run - Beware Black Helicopters 14 April 2013
By William P. Foster - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Jason McVean, Bobby Mason and Alan Pilon all believed, in varying degrees, that one day true patriots would be called upon to fight it out with "the New World Order", a cabal controlled by Jews and United Nation proponents - the controllers of the black helicopters throughout the world. On one day in May, 1998 they started their own war on police in the sleepy town of Cortez, Colorado, starting with the theft of a water truck.

Why? No one really knows. State and federal law enforcement, dismiss the trio as "smash and grab" punks who, realizing they would never evade the seamless web of Western police work, took their own lives.

Author Dan Schultz does a creditable job of bebunking the "official story" of the crime, the chase and the end. That storytelling is the strength of this book.

Of lesser rigor is his speculation as to why they did it. Plausible, but not plausible to the exclusion of many other possibilities the reader can logically spin up her or himself while page turning.

And of even less substance is the explanation of how each died. Here's the explanation of one ending in the last paragraph of the book . . . "in the fifth year after McElmo Bridge, they at last caught up with him . . .". The reader is left to wonder, "who is 'they'?" Schultz provides not a clue. Schultz's theories are little more than speculation piled upon inference linked to possible innuendo. Sadly, Schultz's logic on these points is little better than the crazy conspiracy theories of McVean, Mason and Pilon.

Unless, of course, those folks in the black helicopter really are behind it all.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
DEAD RUN is a fine retelling of these men's noble efforts as well as their manifold failings 21 May 2013
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
DEAD RUN is a litany of mistakes. Nobody in it comes out looking good, with perhaps one exception. The whole story starts with a routine traffic stop and ends nine years later with three dead suspects, millions of dollars spent, and a host of lingering questions. It is not a heroic tale, and perhaps the best that can be said for it is that it did not end as horrifically as can be imagined.

It begins in rural Colorado in 1998, when three young men with anti-government political views and a sizable arsenal stole a tanker truck. It is not known exactly what their plan was, although a tanker truck packed full of improvised explosives could do a massive amount of damage to even a hardened target. Unfortunately for them, the theft was noticed, an all-points-bulletin was sent out, and a lone police officer stopped the truck just past a small bridge. The three disaffected youths opened fire on the police car, killing Officer Dale Claxton before he could fire a shot in return.

What happens after that is incredibly well documented in Dan Schultz's narrative, and to recapitulate it would be to destroy some of its suspense. But in the end, the three gunmen were allowed to walk into the vast blasted deserts of the American Southwest, where they eluded the long reach of the law.

What Schultz does in DEAD RUN is to create a brutal, unsparing analysis of the decisions that were made --- and not made --- in the manhunt. The search for the three gunmen was, by necessity, both sprawling and multi-jurisdictional. The initial crime took place in the Four Corners region, where four different states and the Navajo Nation share borders. The gunmen escaped into a national park, which brought in the Forest Service and the FBI, and both Colorado and Utah would call out National Guard troops before it was all over. Schultz points out, again and again, that no one was in control of the situation and that lawmen kept stepping over each other's toes as a result.

The narrative suffers somewhat from a lack of heroic figures on the side of law and order. What Schultz tries to do is counterbalance the ineptitude of law enforcement by throwing light on the criminals. Although he regularly invokes the shades of Butch Cassidy, Clyde Barrow and Billy the Kid, his three fugitives aren't nearly as interesting or compelling as the ghosts of past outlaws. The gunmen are presented fairly evenhandedly, but they were not romantic figures --- just young, rootless men caught up in video games, illegal drugs, overpowering weaponry, and whackadoodle anti-government conspiracy theories.

Schultz is a dogged reporter and has clearly mastered the details of the manhunt. He offers two conjectures on disparate aspects of the events. The first has to do with the death of one of the fugitives, reported initially as a suicide. Schultz makes a rational, convincing case that the gunman's death could not have been suicide and that he was done in by persons unknown --- which could have included renegade law enforcement officers.

The second conjecture, though, is a bit harder to swallow. Schultz believes that one of the fugitives had a plan to use the stolen tanker truck to blow up the Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona, which --- if successful --- would have led to widespread downstream devastation and ecological and agricultural catastrophe. The evidence presented for such a plan is scant, and mostly leads to one of the fugitives' appreciation for a book called THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG, in which a fictional character hopes for the dam's destruction. While that is a lurid enough picture, it is possible that the fugitives had another target in mind. (One of them, just for example, had received a large tax bill before the initial shooting and may have targeted the Denver IRS office.)

The only person who comes away with any sort of glory or credit in this whole sad episode is the book's author, who does a fine, precise job of cataloguing all the mistakes that caused the manhunt to be so protracted and expensive. Theodore Roosevelt famously said that it was not the critic who counted, but the man in the arena fighting for a cause. In this case, the arena was simply too large and daunting, and the men in the arena were not able to overcome the disadvantages they were dealt. DEAD RUN is a fine retelling of their noble efforts as well as their manifold failings.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Amazing story, fantastic book 2 May 2013
By atexreader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I only vaguely remembered the murder of Officer Dale Claxton and the manhunt that ensued. I didnt know the details of this story other than that Claxton died at the hands of right-wing, militia extremists. The true details of this entire saga are simply unbelievable. The book is very well written... gripping, there is never a dull moment. Non-fiction with the skill of a novelist. Schultz takes you there while also covering every angle from a factual perspective. I finished the book in three days... reading it well into the night, and then picking up where I left off by audio book (which I would strongly suggest)in my car. Officer Claxton died a hero, almost certainly preventing a massive tragedy at the hands of domestic terrorism. In the light of the manhunt of the Boston bombers this book had particular poignancy. I will most certainly read/listen to it a 2nd, 3rd time, etc.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent reporting of a years-old mystery 6 July 2013
By J. Brynda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The American West is alive and well, with independent thinkers, gun-toting conservatives, and more than few vigilantes. This is the story of 3 friends, none of which very likable, who take it upon themselves to commit domestic terrorism, 3 years before the 9/11 attacks. Their plans are thwarted by a likable small-town cop, and in an instant, they ruin the lives of the cop, his family, and hundreds in the area.

Author Dan Schultz has done an exhaustive amount of research into the crime of McVean, Mason and Pilon. He reports it all from different vantage points and perspectives. Along the way he tells a tale with great detail and careful prose. It's a joy to read.

One caution: it's tough to read before bed with any hopes of drifting off. This is a page-turner.
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