As by Daniel Rockfern
A Black Horse Western from Hale, 2005
When Hugo Lyedekker, along with other fugitives from the Yuma Territorial Prison, held up a passenger train in Arizona he hadn’t realized he was about to hit the jackpot. For aboard the train were a number of high-level VIPs including the Attorney-General, senators and Supreme Court judges.
Seeing his chance to demand a large ransom and a pardon, Lyedekker sends word to the President himself in Washington. But this proves to be his first big mistake for Frank Angel is given the mission to bring back the hostages alive – by whatever means necessary and with no questions asked!
Before long, the Maricopas mountains will run red with blood…
First published way back in 1978 in Germany only it had long been thought this book would never be published in English. Frederick Nolan, whom this version is credited to, even though Mike Linaker wrote the book, discovered the manuscript and submitted it to Hale so it is now available for fans of the Angel series to read at last. The original Angel series ran for nine books, all written by Fred Nolan as Frederick H. Christian and Mike stepped in to write a further five for the German market. Only one other of the latter has been published in English and my review of it can be found here.
Mike Linaker’s descriptions of landscape, heat, dust and fear are excellent. The action sequences are superbly portrayed and are very graphic at times. Angel’s race to save the VIPs is frantic and tense.
Among those kidnapped is Amabel Rowe, the Attorney-General’s secretary, whom it has often been implied throughout the series is someone Angel has a soft-spot for, and it is she who has many of the best lines in my opinion – her quick sarcastic tongue often having me laughing out loud, although it nearly brings about her death too.
The threat to Amabel’s life brings out the best (or should that be worst?) in Angel, and at times he is shown to be just as savage as any of the men he is intent on bringing to justice. The final fight between Lyedekker and Angel showing just how brutal he can be.
For fans of Mike Linaker’s work, the Angel series, or just fast moving blood-drenched westerns then this book is definitely worth tracking down.