Last of the Gunmen
by Hock Hochheim
Gunther Rides Again!
The United States is floundering deep in the struggle to recover from the financial Panic of 1907 and the San Francisco earthquake. Then someone murders a philanthropist tycoon on the streets of Fort Worth. A flamboyant police detective stands accused of the crime. While he languishes in jail, a gang of killers murder his beautiful, exotic wife in a daring daylight robbery. In the process, they also kill a former Louisiana judge who gets in their way. The killers? Members of a minor league baseball team who commit an assortment of sadistic crimes across the country while on tour with their team.
Meet the first criminal biker gang and Texas Ranger Chester Winch, the mastermind behind their deadly killing and robbery sprees. Combine the gang’s thirst for money with an independent and sinister plot by robber barons to alter the American and world economies with secret injections of money, and you have a ticking time bomb of crimes waiting to explode. What happens when the most modern and organized criminals of the day go after the largest pocket of secret money in the world? Who can the Texas governor call for help? Who does the accused police detective call for from his jail cell? Johann Gunther of Remedies Detective Agency.
Yes, Gunther is back from his death-defying adventure in Afghanistan, as chronicled in My Gun is My Passport with a new and different, but no less dangerous, case. Now, with his partner Jefe, and some critical help from the legendary Bat Masterson, Gunther faces brutal violence and vicious death right in his home town of Fort Worth and on the flatlands of West Texas in a climatic firefight to rival that at the O.K. Corral.
In a new 20th Century world of cars, guns, motorcycles, baseball, hit men, corruption, global economies and organized crime, who are the last of the gunmen? And what will it take to stop their crime wave and bloody reign of terror? Johann Gunther aims to find out, and he aims and shoots to kill.
"Johann Gunther, West Point graduate who, following service in Afghanistan at the request of President Teddy Roosevelt, now is the proprietor of Remedies Detective Agency in Fort Worth, TX with his Pilipino partner, Jefe with whom he served in the Philippines. They are attending an exclusive party given by one of the wealthy individuals they have helped in the past when approached by the lovely oriental fiancé of the man’s son because she needs protection from attendant would-be kidnappers. They discover that the fiancé is not exactly what she has appeared to be while ‘taking care’ of the men. After reporting the situation to the man and his son, they receive a call from the Governor of Texas who is in need of help in solving a robbery and several murders extending from Fort Worth to Austin.
The robbery took place on the highway with the wife of an ‘unusual’ police officer and her woman attendant being murdered along with a former Louisiana congressman and judge who had attempted to intervene. The judge was a friend of the Louisiana Governor who was a personal friend of the Texas Official. The situation was further complicated by the fact that the police officer whose wife had been killed was in jail accused of having murdered a wealthy entrepreneur. The story gradually unfolds as Johann and Jefe attempt to solve the crimes and discover they not only are battling a minor baseball team, members of which participate in vicious crimes, but also a crooked Texas Ranger, a sadistic ‘hit man’, a group of the country’s wealthiest industrial barons and even a couple of Johann’s former West Point associates. The characters are interesting and even include the legendary Bat Masterson and the action is relentless as Johann moves to solve the crimes in his own manner.
Discussion: The author has provided a western that is quite unique. He has presented a story in which a gunman with the attitude and attributes of the ‘old west’ must function in a changing world where modern concepts of crime and punishment are evolving and vying for acceptance. This in a world somewhat chaotic with simultaneous interspersion of newly devised automobiles, and motorcycles extending the mode and distance of travel, methods of communication similarly rapidly expanding, new methods of crime solution being recognized and even the appearance of activity by Sigmund Freud. 5 Stars For devotees of the genre." - John Manhold Reviews