REVIEWED BY TIM DEFOREST
This one starts with even more of a bang than most of the action-packed Fargo novels usually do. We find Neil Fargo fighting for Pancho Villa, manning a Lewis machine gun as he fights a one-man rear guard action against the Federales.
Once the Lewis runs out of ammo, the ensuing running fight is used to remind us of each of Fargo's usual personal weapons. It's a fun twist on the usual formula, in which Fargo's personal weapons are inventoried for us while he inspects them before heading out on a job. That opening fight leads into a succession of unusual situations.
Fargo is accused of treachery and sentenced by Villa to die by firing squad. After this situation is resolved in a bizarre but satisfying manner, Fargo finds himself on a secret mission.
The Great War is raging in Europe. To prevent the United States from joining in, the Germans are manipulating a faction of the Mexican army to start a war with the U.S. To stop this, Fargo has to make a dangerous journey back across northern Mexico, with an uncooperative and possibly treacherous woman for company.
Violence, captures, and escapes follow. In one intense chapter, Fargo finds himself buried in the ground in an upright position, with only his head exposed inside a corral. A very ill-tempered stallion also occupies that corral. It's all great stuff.
I think the character twists involving the woman are predictable, but the fast-paced action never lets up. This is yet another winner in the Fargo series.