The Cavalry Man series is a combination crime/western, the type of stuff Mr. Gorman does so well. I was quite pleased with these three novels.
Noah Ford is an investigator for the Federal government specializing in weapons and explosives. Though southern, he fought for the North during the war. He’s been on the outs with his family ever since.
THE KILLING MACHINE
It’s 1881 and Ford is out to find and arrest his brother, an arms dealer and former spy for the South, who he hasn’t seen for years. The man who’d made an improvement on the Gatling gun has been murdered and his invention taken.
Ford knows his brother has it now and plans to sell it to the highest bidder. As he’s moving in on the barn where his brother is hiding, the gun opens up, killing the two deputies with him, and wounding him.
When he regains consciousness, Ford learns that his brother was found in the barn, his throat cut. So who shot the weapon at them? Where’s the gun? Four suspects, arms dealers in town to bid on the gun. Which one?
Then someone starts killing off the arms dealers.
There’s a “Robin Hood” like bandit, who also happens to be the local ladies’ man, robbing a series of banks owned by one man. A disgraced friend is assigned to investigate. The man maintains his innocence and the two agents he blames are on the case as well.
Ford stops by to keep an eye on things. He doesn’t trust the pair of rogue agents either.
Then his friend is murdered. Believing the pair of agents are responsible, Ford stays around to prove it. When the pair grab the “Robin Hood” bandit and carry him in for the glory, all three are shot in the back.
Who’s the killer? The banker? Or more likely someone he hires? Things get even more complicated when the banker commits “suicide.”
Here, in 1885, Ford is looking for a missing investigator, as well as a scientist who was developing a hand held explosive device.
He wakes up from a nap with a straight razor at his throat, held by a beautiful woman who wants to know the location of the missing agent. Easily disarming her, her tune changes and she wants him to let “Uncle Bob” in from the fire escape. It is cold outside.
Seeing a skinny old man waving from out there, Ford goes to let him in when three shots from outside ring out, propelling the old man’s body through the glass. With Bob dead, the young woman suddenly won’t talk.
The local sheriff, hoping to shake her up, puts her in jail for not cooperating She still refuses to talk. When, while the deputy on duty steps out for food one night, leaving the door unlocked, someone sneaks in and strangles the young woman.
What have these two murders to do with his missing agent exactly? When the body of the scientist turns up drowned, Ford has another mystery on his hands. Is the missing agent doing all this? If so, where is he?
Three fine crime/western novels worth checking out.