Friday, February 18, 2022

#7: Valley of Skulls by John Benteen

In the early 20th century, tough mercenary Fargo heads to Central America to rescue a party who has discovered a priceless treasure in John Benteen's Valley of Skulls.

Benteen (Ben Haas) was a well-regarded western writer who also wrote the Fargo series, which at first glance look like westerns but are really more "men's adventure."

This one is a little wilder than most, with the priceless treasure being a giant solid-gold cannon that Fargo finds actually comes in handy.  Fargo's manly exploits start on page one--when he gets into a fight at a cockfight!--and run straight through to the last page.

I like reading a Fargo novel when I come across one, and I found this one cheap for my beloved Kindle.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

#6: The Basel Killings by Hansjörg Schneider

A hard-drinking, hard-living cop stops for a bathroom break in an alley on the way home from a bar and finds the dead body of a friend, driving him to solve a case he's too close to in Hansjörg Schneider's The Basel Killings.

Schneider is a popular Swiss crime writer, with this the first in his series translated into English.  Although his detective is your standard melancholy noirish cop, the setting in Basel--a city whose suburbs lie in France and Germany--is unique.

As is the milieu, as the detective finds himself most comfortable on the seedy side of the street, among pimps, prostitutes, and outlaws.  Ethnic clashes between these people and the Swiss gypsy community, called the Yenish people, has a key role as well.

A solid European-style police procedural with a colorful cast and setting.  Recommended.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana and read it quickly.