Miles North’s father had suddenly saddled up and ridden away without a trace or explanation. At the same time, just as young Miles found himself in a showdown fight to hold the mighty range, a group of ornery strangers rode into the land, lined themselves up alongside Hammer’s foes, and started to close in.
But Miles was no quitter. He knew that even though the odds against him had doubled, there was at least one way to save his hide and his father’s holdings. It would involve taking a backtrail into the distant past – one that would lead either to utter disgrace or to the kind of discovery that would bring all the guns of Hammer into thundering action!
As expected from Barry Cord, this tale is a tough, hardboiled read that gallops forward at a tremendous pace. Full of hard men who will stop at nothing to achieve their aims, which is to either take control of Hammer or defend it.
From the opening scene we find that Miles North can be as vicious as any of the cold-hearted killers he'll come up against as the fairly straight-forward tale progresses. I say fairly straight-forward, as Barry Cord includes a couple of neat plot twists that keep what is essentially an often-used storyline in westerns interesting and fresh. This mainly revolves around the content of a mysterious letter that Miles’ father has left behind that no-one knows about other that the sheriff who is killed before he can read it. Of course, this letter becomes the central point around which the plot revolves.
Barry Cord is a pseudonym used by Peter Germano and I’ve read quite a few of his books and enjoyed them all. Whilst The Guns of Hammer might not be right up there with his very best, I did find it to be entertaining and would say that most fans of western fiction would find it a satisfying read too.