Harney's Peak

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Xlibris Corporation LLC, 2012 - Fiction - 136 pages
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The President of Western Dakota School of Mines (WDSM) in Rapid City is shot and killed while viewing a "shootout" staged for tourists. How the shooter had live ammunition remains a mystery for some time. The unpopular, power hungry, and ambitious Vice President Dick Rafferty of WDSM assumes the Presidency and initiates controversial changes at the school. The narrator Jim Harrison as well as Bill Harney his friend are physics professors at WDSM. Harney is a very well regarded scientist and he is suspicious of the circumstances. Harrison and Harney investigate the events as best they can aided by Betty Turner a news reporter for the local Rapid City paper. She enlists the aid of Gerald Thompson a national reporter for the New York Journal. Thompson, in effect, breaks the story wide open. Motives as well as connections of Rafferty to the shooter Buzz Franklin are discovered. Rafferty is implicated in the shooting by Franklin and is put on paid administrative leave of absence while Harney is appointed acting President. Included in the motives is the closure of the nearby Homestake Gold Mine and plans to convert it to an underground science laboratory with subsequent valuation of property in the neighborhood. Franklin is indicted for the shooting but before the story reaches a dramatic climax in the trial of Franklin, conflict arises between Rafferty and the faculty, particularly Harney and Harrison, as to the objectives of the school. When Franklin is convicted, he immediately non lethally shoots Rafferty (who was not idicted) and others with a smuggled gun. After Rafferty recovers he resigns his (on leave) Presidency and goes into real estate. Harney proves his mettle by insisting on returning to his position as professor while the mine is converted to a laboratory and WDSM ends up increasing its stature by connections with new lab.

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