I don't remember who said "Protect me from my friends" but that is advice that Barney, the protagonist in David Schow's excellent suspense novel Gun Work, learns way too late.
When Barney's old friend Carl Ledbetter needs help reacquiring his wife Erica who has been kidnapped in Mexico City, he naturally calls his old war buddy and all-around ornery sumbitch Barney to help out.
But what seems simple at first becomes increasingly more complex with enough switchbacks, betrayls and twists to keep the reader eager to find out if Barney will escape his capture and take things up with the gang behind it all.
Schow wrote some of the most original and memorable horror fiction of the Eighties and Nineties. He had his own voice and his own approach to the genre, giving readers unique riffs on familiar tropes while always commenting on the era and its foibles.
In Gun Work all his virtues are on display. The action is relentless, the violence is brutal and the setting almost Third World in its depiction of a society ruled by gun and greed rather than law. And Erica is one dandy piece of work.
Hopefully we'll see more of Schow's new work soon.