By John Benteen
Piccadilly Publishing, May 2014
The Mexicans needed guns and Fargo needed money—so they made a deal. Getting the arms past the cavalry patrols along the border would take some doing, but Fargo thought he could handle it. There might be a problem later with the Mexicans—you never knew which way the sons of senoras were likely to jump—but as always Fargo figured to take it one man, one bullet at a time.
The kind of trouble he didn’t count on when he took the job turned out to be the worst trouble of all – the Apaches. Geronimo was dead, and the big wars were over, but deep in the mountains the last of the Mescaleros still prowled like rabid wolves.
Originally published way back in April 1970 it’s great to see Piccadilly Publishing bringing it back as an ebook some 40+ years later, giving those who missed it the first time around a chance to catch up with this classic series.
Neal Fargo is a soldier of fortune, a hired gun who will tackle any problem if the money is right. Here he takes on a straight-forward gunrunning mission only for it to become much more complicated. Greed seems to be the fuel that drives all parties, except the girl whom Fargo finds himself reluctantly saddled with; she’s looking to pay a ransom for the return of her brother.
John Benteen, a pseudonym used by Ben Haas, doesn’t let up with the action in this book as Fargo is vastly outnumbered. The Apaches prove to be formidable foes and force Fargo to fight a couple of tense duels which were the highlights of the book for me. To escape their clutches will take all of Fargo’s talents and a large amount of luck.
Benteen’s prose is a joy to read, his plot quite brutal at times, his characters equally as hard. Although the storyline doesn’t offer any major surprises, the book does prove to be a gripping read and left me looking forward to reading the next in the series.