Monday, March 31, 2014

Top notch. My review of FOUR BULLETS FOR DILLON.

I'd like to say that I became familiar with Derrick Ferguson's stories by chance. I'm sure I would have discovered his work eventually, but sooner is better than later. I had picked up How the West Was Weird: Campfire Tales on a flier. It was on my recommendations on Amazon, and really, why not? Weird and West(ern)... sounded like my cup of tea. The collection, as a whole was great reading (Hint, hint. You should take a look!), but Derrick's Sebastian Red tale was a standout. An interesting and engrossing character, with plenty of action, and a mysterious background. So I did a bit of internet digging and came across his Dillon series, and picked up FOUR BULLETS FOR DILLON, along with two more tales (Yes, I was that impressed by my first encounter with Derrick's writing. I knew I would enjoy them, so I got more than one.). I've been writing up reviews of other works that I had lined up, but I thought it was high time to review the character... but where to start? I figured, why not ask the man himself, and was recommended FOUR BULLETS... and what a ride it was! Anyhow, let's get to the meat, and start the review, prefaced with a bit of a synopsis, of course.

Dillon is a soldier of fortune, working the types of contracts that usually send his rivals heading for the exit doors. Don't pigeonhole him as common merc, he will (and has, quite frequently) open himself up to various global organization's wrath by eliminating a threat that they can't (or won't) touch. It's not about the money for him (although money is always appreciated). He's a professional, and a rising star in the field. A great number of people would like him dead, but he has so far disappointed them. Basically the type of guy I wouldn't mind buying a beer for (or in this case, a couple shots of Demerara rum).

First off, story-wise, we have 'Dillon and the Bad Ass Belt Buckle'. Dillon, and one of his mentors, Eli Creed, have been hired by a movie studio who's most recent leading lady has been kidnapped by a crew of thugs while in Cambodia for a movie shoot. That's the easy part, and the problem is sorted toot sweet! Except for the fact that they are traveling through Green Hell, have a number of pissed off mercs tracking them, and are dragging along (in Dillon's mind) a total hindrance to the plan, in the person of Jenise Casile, the object of their mission. Although she might surprise him (and you) with her hidden depths... Add to that encountering a thrown-together barter town in the middle of the jungle, ruled over by a warlord who is Jenise's biggest fan, and happens to own a Bad Ass Belt Buckle that's caught Dillon's eye... and you have the basic recipe for a FUBAR type scenario. Not to mention all those pissed off mercs creeping up our hero's backsides looking for retribution, and more importantly, their payday. What transpires? I'm not telling, so mum's the word.

Secondly, we have 'Dead Beat in La Esca', which Derrick co-writes with Joel Jenkins. Dillon happens to meet Joel's character Sly Gantlet, who is another operator in the whole black bag scene, except with a twist! Sly's cover story is that he is the lead guitarist in the world's most popular metal band, Gantlet (and yes, you should be reading Joel's Gantlet Brother series, or pretty much anything else by him). Two alpha males in one small venue, and of course the game of "I'm better than you" starts immediately... exactly as a shadowy outside source planned, who is looking to catch two very valuable birds with one stone, and has meticulously plotted out every variable involved... except for the fact that it's Dillon and Sly Gantlet they're dealing with. As they say "The best-laid plans of mice and men" especially when you're dealing with Dillon and Sly...

Next in line we have 'Dillon and the Escape from Tosegio'. We open with a quote from the Warmasters of Liguria, from when they trained Dillon. Wait, didn't I mention that? Dillon was raised away from contemporary society, and was groomed to be one of the Warlords mentioned. Might have a bit to do with his unerring skill of doing the right thing, even if it's the hardest possible road to follow. His ego is a bit of a problem, but what do you expect? He's top shelf... and never lets  it get in the way when it absolutely matters. As far as this caper goes, we start out with Dillon on the run, on a hidden island, running from those that should, rightfully, be his allies. You see, Dillon has fallen in love with the Princess of Tosegio, Sathrya, during the course of events. Said events include Dillon and his buddy, Awesome Times, getting contracted to stop a coup on Tosegio, and save the Princess. Along with turning her over into the waiting hands of her father, the King of Tosegio. Things, of course, go badly, which is why we open with Dillon on the run. Those closest can sometimes wound the most...

Lastly, we have 'Dillon and the Judas Chalice'. Starting out with Dillon on the run from the police, you may think this par for the course. It's not. After finding out about a tid-bit of information, and getting no response from the powers that be, my man is on his way to take care of the situation personally, or so he hopes. In the meantime, he's leaving a pile of wrecked police cars behind that puts the chase scene in The Blues Brothers movie to shame. Seriously, lots of collateral damage, but worth it, because of the supposed endgame. Which is an end, but only to the first chapter. Needless to say, the authorities are a bit miffed with Dillon's escapade, despite the fact it actually benefits them in the end (cue the theme song Don't Let Me Be Understood), so to the hoosegow he goes. Despite the local D.A.'s wishes, he's a hot potato and gets handed off to... representatives of The Nine Unknown Men. Despite the action from before, here is where the actual adventure(!) starts. Contracted by a wealthy backer, after thorough vetting, Dillon agrees to recover the Judas Chalice, which represents everything opposite of the Grail. It will grant your every wish, as long as you betray someone close to you. This entry is longer than the other three stories, and the story is fascinating...

Derrick Ferguson's style of writing is not only entertaining, but well paced and has an element of mystery that is much appreciated. His characters come to life, and always have some history waiting in the wings, as we all do. A mix of some of the most entertaining action movies available, and some well worn tropes regarding the universal hero, we get the best of both worlds. His writing is very cinematic, and easily adaptable to the big, or little, screen. That's a hint, Hollywood, I'd rather be watching Dillon's adventures than 9/10's of what I see on the screen nowadays. He develops the characters as needed, plugging in much needed back-story as we go, and world-builds throughout. What it really comes down to, should you be reading this? Of course you should! What the heck, these stories should get your crank turning!

 Here's the product page for FOUR BULLETS FOR DILLON. Here's Derrick's Amazon page. Why don't you head over and take a shuffle around? Keep reading, and happy discoveries!


  1. Thanks for the great review! I'm currently in the midst of writing a Dillon/Sly Gantlet sequel called Dead Beat in the Gobi Desert.

    1. That sounds great, Joel! I'm looking forward to reading it.