Monday, July 30, 2012

Availabel Now - RIO MATANZA

Available now on Kindle, print version to follow in a couple weeks.
This is Book #2 in the Bodie Kendrick – Bounty Hunter series. Plenty of gritty, hardboiled Western action to be found here.

This one partners Bodie with another manhunter, Doc Turpin, out of Texas. In quick order, they dispatch the bloodthirsty Klegg-Harrup gang that has mercilessly slaughtered innocent citizens during a bank robbery in the town of New Gleanus. But that's only the start …

Here's the "back cover" blurb:
Bodie Kendrick had a reputation for being one of the most relentless bounty hunters throughout Arizona and New Mexico.
Doc Turpin, out of Texas, shared similar renown.
When the two of them partnered up to bring in the Harrup-Klegg Gang, it was the end of the trail for the bloodthirsty outlaws who had robbed the New Gleanus bank and then needlessly, mercilessly slaughtered innocents as they shot up the town riding away.
The gunsmoke from that encounter has scarcely cleared, however, before Doc is mysteriously lured away in the middle of the night by a rebelista firebrand known only as Estraleta. Troubled by his new partner's sudden and ill-explained departure, Kendrick pursues the pair in order to try and find out what is going on. His only clue is that they reportedly are bound for the notorious south-of-the-border town called Bordados.
Quicker than the rapid-fire discharge of a Gatling gun, Kendrick finds himself embroiled in a conflict between local rebels fighting to regain their town and a corrupt Rurale official backed by a wolf pack of American desperados who've found haven in Bordados and are hell bent on keeping it. Once again, Kendrick and Doc—along with the savagely beautiful Estraleta and a tormented former Confederate colonel—fight side by side against stacked odds.
But that's never stopped either one of them before …

And here's a "teaser" excerpt from the text:
While Doc was keeping his man pinned down, Kendrick walked over to Chulla, who’d managed to smother the flames that had caught his clothing and was now rolling back and forth on the ground, mewling in pain. Kendrick paused long enough to kick him nonchalantly in the head, knocking him unconscious and putting him out of his misery. That done, he drew his Colt and turned to Turpin, saying, "Lend a hand there, Doc?"
"Join in if you like," Turpin answered. "Workin' on flushing out a yellow dog."
But before Kendrick got off even a shot, Bedney called from behind the tree: "Wait a minute!  Hold it!  Hold your fire. I ain’t no match for the two of you, not no how. I’ll throw my guns out … I’ll do anything you say."
"Talk is cheap," Turpin said. "Let’s see those guns come out."
Bedney hesitated. "How do I know you won’t shoot me anyway?"
Kendrick said, "If we’re of a mind to shoot you, then shot is what you’ll get, regardless. Comin' out unarmed with hands high is your best chance. Believe it."
After several clock ticks, Bedney’s Colt sailed out and landed on the ground seven or eight feet from the tree. "That’s it. That cleans me out."
"Haul yourself out from behind that trunk then, where we can see you," Turpin said. "Hands high, like you were told."
Bedney emerged, visibly shaken. His bug-eyed stare swept over his fallen comrades. "My God, look at ‘em … all my pards … every one cut down." His eyes found Kendrick and Turpin, danced nervously back and forth between them. "You two are a couple of holy terrors, you know that?"
Turpin blinked away some of the blood dripping down off his left brow and said, "Not a damn thing holy about us, old man…we’re just doing a job."
Hopefully, there's something there to stir your interest.
Hope you give it a try, I think you'll be glad you did.

Persevere — WD

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Noteworthy Reads: BLACKJACK by Andrew Vachss

No one has portrayed evil—true evil—more powerfully than Andrew Vachss has in his writing. This carries even more of an impact when one understands that the whole purpose of his "fiction" has been to hold a mirror up to the factual evil he has encountered in his life's work (as a lawyer representing children and youth exclusively) combating predators who prey upon the young and vulnerable.

"Family of choice"—as opposed to birth families, who, with tragic frequency, are often at the core of the most brutal acts against their own—is another recurring theme in Vachss's writing.
This is once again true of Cross and the "family" of outcast mercenaries who are at the center of this novel. They are held together by a fierce sense of loyalty to one another and an equally strong lack of loyalty or sense of belonging to anything or anyone else. Their leader is Cross. He is a man for hire; a killer, an eliminator. And his team will help him finish any job he takes on—no matter what.
Many readers will already be familiar with Cross and crew from the series of short stories appearing in past Vachss collections, Born Bad (1994) and Everybody Pays (1999). A seven-issue series of illustrated Cross stories, titled simply Cross, also came out in 1995 from Dark Horse Comics.

In BLACKJACK, the first novel-length Cross, the ultimate mercenary is enlisted by a mysterious group calling themselves Unit 3, admitting only to being part of a "multi-national" organizational that has been tracking a long string of gruesome international killings where the bodies have all been found with their heads and spines removed. They want to hire Cross to hunt down one of these specialized killers—only in this case strictly to capture "the specimen" alive. Cross believes he has spotted a pattern to the series of killings and agrees to take the job but only with some special provisos of his own, one of them being an authorized-at-the-highest-level "Get Out of Jail Free" card for future use by him and each of his men.

The plot is complex and wonderfully twisty, the action intense, the cast of characters large yet distinctly drawn and memorable. All of it presented in Vachss's stripped-down prose, crisp dialogue, and quick-cut sequences that propel the reader along and practically commands you to keep turning the pages.
There is a paranormal element to this tale that builds steadily throughout and finally erupts in the climactic scene at a maximum security prison. Without giving too much away, let me say only that the "specialized killer" turns out to be what might best be described as an almost-supernatural purging force of accumulated rage, bent on removing a specific segment—the worst and most evil—from our species.
Perhaps Cross himself sums it up best when, after surviving the bloody prison encounter, he states: "But if a hard rain's coming—if the filth is being washed out of our race—then, whoever they are, this is one job I want them to pull off."

I predict readers will be echoing similar words, to the extent they'll be glad this is one more job Vachss has pulled off.
Another exciting, provocative read from one of the most powerful writers of our time.
Strongly recommended.