Friday, November 07, 2008

Gun Work -- David J. Schow

This latest Hard Case Crime volume is a bit longer than usual 249 pages. I liked it anyway. It has guns, firefights, and (I'm not making this up) Mexican wrestlers. I'll bet that can't be said of the last few books you've read. Having said that, I need to warn you that just about everything else in these comments is a spoiler.

Barney is a guy who's good with guns, somebody people call on when they have trouble. His old buddy Carl call for help when his wife, Erica, is kidnapped in Mexico. Barney agrees to help out. He goes to Mexico, he and Carl get the ransom money, and make the drop. Things (don't they always?) go wrong, but in this case they go really wrong, and Barney learns that everything he'd seen and heard was a lie.

He learns this too late, of course, and he finds himself in a sort of kidnap hotel, where he's tortured for many, many pages. He gets out of it eventually, but minus his trigger fingers on both hands. After a period of recovery, surgery (look carefully at the cover illustration), and more recovery, he puts together a team and goes out for revenge. Lots of people die, and Barney learns that once again, he's been wrong about nearly everything. When he finally meets Erica, she turns out to be real piece of work.

Okay, that's it for the spoilers. I saw this as sort of a Gold Medal novel on speed. Hardboiled, fast-moving (except for the middle part), and well written. Check it out.


Todd Mason said...

I assume you've read Schow's previous novels? I remember THE KILL RIFF fondly. As I mentioned on Juri's blog, I'm now waiting for the Lansdale (and the Crider) Hard Cases...

Juri said...

Hear hear to both.