Hoby Tibbs, a forty-one-year-old hamburger cook, has a secret-he has the power to cure bad hamburger meat. His gift is timely-an epidemic of ptomaine poisoning has infected the hamburger parlors of the American Southwest that threatens to alter the eating habits of the entire population. With the grit and determination of a latter-day knight, Hoby rides forth to do battle with the pernicious microbes. In pursuit of this quest, he discovers the ptomaine outbreak is not the product of natural causes, but rather part of a devious plot by fast-food moguls to corner the franchise industry. This discovery turns into an exciting chase that brings this fast-paced, action-filled, comic-fantasy adventure to a shocking and surprising conclusion. CONGER BEASLEY, JR. was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, and educated in Connecticut and New York City. From 1970 to 1982 he worked as an editor at Universal Press Syndicate and Andrews and McMeel Publishing Company in Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to “The Ptomaine Kid,” “Hidalgo's Beard,” and “Messiah: The Life and Times of Francis Schlatter,” all from Sunstone Press, he has published three books of poetry, and three volumes of short fiction. A collection of essays, “Sun Dancers and River Demons,” was given the Thorpe Menn Award for the best book published by a Kansas City author in 1991. “We Are a People in This World: The Lakota Sioux and the Massacre at Wounded Knee” won the Western Writers of America Spur Award for the best contemporary nonfiction book published in 1995.