The Last Shot: The Story of Max Williams who found fame on the basketball court and a fortune in the Texas oilfields
Caleb Pirtle III
Review: “This a must read for anybody who loves small town basketball and the booms and busts of the Texas oilfield.”
Max Williams should not have been a great basketball player. He was too short. He came from the small Texas town of Avoca. He had only twelve in his graduating class. But nobody could stop him or slow him down. Max Williams became the all-time scoring leader for Texas High Schools. He was an All-American at SMU, a flashy passer, a deadly shooter.
Max Williams should have not even been in the oilfield. He had majored in insurance. He had been a high-dollar player in Dallas commercial real estate, but the bottom fell out of the market. He was dead broke when he gambled on oil exploration and ventured into the Austin chalk of Giddings, Texas. He knew very little about the business, but he drilled on guts and on gumption alone.
Giddings was known as the field of broken dreams. Major companies had drilled in the chalk and left behind dry holes and empty pockets. But Max Williams didn’t flinch. He defied the dreaded Austin Chalk and developed the nation’s greatest and most profitable oilfield in half a century.
He was never afraid of adversity. He was never afraid of failure. All Max Williams ever wanted on the basketball court or in the Texas oilfield was a chance to take the last shot.
Meet Caleb Pirtle III:
Caleb Pirtle III lives in the present but prefers the past. He is the author of more than eighty books, including four noir thrillers in the Ambrose Lincoln series: Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of Lies, Night Side of Dark, and Place of Skulls. Secrets and Conspiracy are also audiobooks on audible.com. All of the novels are set against the haunting backdrop of World War II. His Lonely Night to Die features three noir thrillers in one book, following the exploits of the man on the run, a rogue agent who has fled the CIA. He takes the missions no one else wants. He is expendable, and he knows it.
His newest novel is Eulogy in Black and White, Book 2 in the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles, developed by ten authors all writing about strange, sinister, and frightening happenings in a small Texas Hill Country town. Pirtle’s latest book is a nonfiction historical account of a West Texas boomtown: Borger: Last Dance at Sundown.
His award-winning Boom Town Saga includes Back Side of a Blue Moon, the story of a con man who comes to a dying East Texas town during the Great Depression, promises to drill for oil, and falls in love with a beautiful woman who just may have killed her husband. In Bad Side of a Wicked Moon, the lawless have come to the oil patch, and justice has left town. In Lost Side of an Orphan’s Moon, a fancy dancer is mysteriously killed, an eccentric tent revivalist comes to town, and a small boy searches for his daddy in oilfield.
Pirtle is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.
Pirtle has written two teleplays: Gambler V: Playing for Keeps, a mini-series for CBS television starring Kenny Rogers, Loni Anderson, Dixie Carter, and Mariska Hargitay, and The Texas Rangers, a TV movie for John Milius and TNT television. He wrote two novels for Berkeley based on the Gambler series: Dead Man’s Hand and Jokers Are Wild. He wrote the screenplay for one motion picture, Hot Wire, starring George Kennedy, Strother Martin, and John Terry.
“One of my favorite books of all time. Entertaining while staying true to the history Max Williams’ basketball exploits in Avoca and at SMU, as well as the drama of drilling in the treacherous Austin Chalk.”
“A true telling of a Texas oil adventure in a small town. But there is nothing small about Max Williams, a legendary basketball player, and his mad search for oil down in the dreaded chalk below Giddings.”
“This a must read for anybody who loves small town basketball and the booms and busts of the Texas oilfield.”
“The Austin Chalk broke drill bits, hearts and fortunes. It made poor folks wealthy, wealthy folks poor. The characters who drilled for oil with Max Williams faced challenges, disappointments, and rich rewards from a stubborn oil deposits in Central and South Texas that grudgingly yielded its treasures.”
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