Sam Townsend, rheumy-eyed, weatherbeaten and heavyset, sports a face folded with age and memories. If you ever searched for him in a crowd, he wouldn’t be difficult to spot. He wears a black stovepipe hat with an eagle’s feather jammed into the hatband.

Half Osage Indian and a Vietnam combat veteran, Sam is conflicted by visions rooted in his native American background, and nightmares erupting from his memories of the killing grounds of Southeast Asia. For instance, when he tells his old friend and veteran storm chaser Chuck Rittenburg to Beware the thunder, it turns out he wasn’t warning of thunderstorms.

Sam owns and operates The Gust Front Grill, a strange but popular gathering place for storm chasers that exudes an acid-rock Zeitgeist of the 1960s. Clinging to existence on the windswept grasslands of Oklahoma, you might find within the Gust Front’s confines on any given day in the spring, the height of the tornado season, a wide variety of chasers: TV news crews, tour groups, researchers, dedicated hobbyists, and maybe a few amateurs.

Within the chaser community, a legend has grown to surround Sam, but no one knows how much of it is truth and how much is fable. The story goes that he has a fortune hidden away somewhere in or near the Gust Front and that it’s guarded by a mysterious but fierce sentinel named Monty.

Fiction or fact? Is the fortune real? And if so, is Monty real? You’ll find out in November—-when Supercell thunders into the book world.

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