By Peter Brandvold
Berkley, April 2012
Cuno Massey may be a federal fugitive, but he’s Deputy U.S. Marshal Spurr Morgan’s best chance to run down a gang of gunrunners. A wagon train of rifles, ammunition, Gatling guns, and dynamite was stolen by U.S. Cavalry deserters who intend to sell the weapons to a Mexican general waging war against Yaqui Indians.
To even the odds against them, Cuno and Spurr form an alliance with Ojos del Fuega – “Fire Eyes” – a Yaqui queen as savage as she is beautiful, and her band of renegades. With so much firepower and so many deadly players on the warpath, Cuno and Spurr know that they’re sitting atop a powder keg with a sizzling fuse…
Book eight in the Cuno Massey series begins shortly after the end of the previous book, .45-Caliber Desperado. The story opens in the middle of a deadly duel between Massey and a Yaqui brave. This fight leads to Massey and his companion running for their lives pursued by more warriors. One exciting action scene quickly following the other, and this is pretty much how the story plays out, each savage fight leading straight to the next.
Due to Peter Brandvold including Gatling guns amongst the stolen weapons gives him the perfect opportunity to increase the death toll as these early machine guns are used to devastating effect as all sides get to use them at some point during this fast moving and violent tale.
During one of the brief lulls between the bloodletting Massey ponders on his future that only seems to have a bleak and lonely outlook. Can there possibly be something on the horizon to give his life purpose? Until then he seems content to throw himself into every dangerous situation going without much of a care to his well-being.
Peter Brandvold has created a wonderful selection of vicious characters for Massey to battle, from gunrunners, Federales, bandits and Yaqui warriors. And it’s not just tough men Peter writes about, Fire Eyes and other female characters are just as strong and capable when it comes to killing and surviving in the authors’ savage lands where life is cheap.
Once again we see the welcome return of Spurr Morgan (an aging lawman who is soon to star in his own series – the first book Rusty Spurr: The Last Lawman coming out in October), who instead of arresting Massey persuades him to fight on the side of the law which results in them facing massive odds that end in a double battle centred around a train that brings the book to a brutal and spectacular close.