By Peter Brandvold
Berkley, September 2011
Cuno Massey killed those deputy U.S. marshals all right, but only because they were about to rape the women he was escorting to safety. Thrown into a federal penitentiary, he faces a death sentence – until the beautiful Camilla and her cutthroat gang bust him out and head for the Mexican border.
Pursued by lawmen as brutal as the desperadoes he travels with, Cuno rides a bloody trail, unsure where his allegiances lie, and wondering if he was better off waiting for the gallows….
Right from the very first line, “The bald giant’s first was a battering ram” this book punches hard all the way until the end as Cuno Massey finds himself riding a savage trail to freedom after being sprung from prison in a violent jailbreak, even if freedom means becoming an outlaw himself.
Of course being on the run means the law will do its best to track Massey down and here we see the return of the Sheriff Mason who put Massey behind bars in the previous book. But he isn’t the only lawman to make a return appearance, for Peter Brandvold adds Spurr to the mix, the aging Deputy U.S. Marshal I last read about in another of Pete’s series - the second book in his Colter Farrow series, The Killers of Cimarron, written as Frank Leslie. I thought Spurr made for an excellent character in that book so was very pleased to see him in this one.
As well as struggling to stay alive Cuno Massey has to fight with some tough personal issues regarding his new lifestyle. Can he be happy living as an outlaw? Can he gun down people in cold blood, be they lawmen chasing him or those he is robbing? And what of Camilla? Can he accept this new side to her? These questions all see Peter Brandvold further developing the character of Massey and as they aren’t all answered ensures that the reader will be eager for the next book in the series: .45-Caliber Crossfire, out in April 2012.
If you’ve never read a Cuno Massey book then this could well be a good place to jump into the series as it seems to be a new beginning for Massey. Peter Brandvold includes enough memories of Cuno’s past so a new reader will have some idea as to Massey’s background.
For me, Peter Brandvold just keeps getting better and better.