Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Gun Work Mass Market Paperback – March 29, 2011
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The main character in David Schow's Gun Work has certain Parker-like qualities. He is a man without ties who operates outside of the law when necessary. Barney is not a thief but, when necessary, he can be a gunman. For Carl Ledbetter, an old war acquaintance, Barney's skills are necessary. Carl's in Mexico City, where his wife has been kidnapped for $1,000,000 ransom. To get his wife back, Carl enlists Barney.
Barney comes to Mexico City, where he quickly suspects that there is more going on than a mere kidnapping. Unfortunately, what's really going on will not become apparent until it's too late. Betrayals will occur and Barney will become a prisoner himself, subjected to torture and slated for gangland execution. Of course, it wouldn't be much of a story if he didn't eventually get free and seek revenge against those who wronged him, and Schow does deliver the goods.
This is the first time I've read Schow and I had fun reading Gun Work. This is not classic literature filled with multiple levels of meaning and symbolism, but it's not meant to be. Instead, it is intended to be pure entertainment, a lean mean crime story, and as such, it works perfectly. If you enjoy the Parker books, this one should be a good read.
I was tempted to give this book four stars right after finishing it, because the ending is good. But too much of "Gun Work" has problems. This is basically a typical violent action story about a loner tough guy who's betrayed, left for dead, and roars back for vengeance. The book's most interesting elements occur when the author tries to deepen this predictable plot a little, but he doesn't go far enough. Barney, the hero, remains undeveloped; the reader never finds out enough about what makes him tick. Instead we have to settle for some interesting ambiguities about whether Barney is, or wishes to remain, as cynical as he tries to be. And ultimately he's pushed out of his cynicism, and that occurrence is almost enough to redeem the book.
But not quite. The early pages are flawed by too much of what amounts to "scene summary" rather than scenes. These are clearly set-up pages, and I would guess the author wanted to get through them quickly in order to get to the real meat of the plot within the space limitation of a Hard Case book. This tendency to summarize actions rather than show them quickly becomes annoying. For example, when Barney and his friend walk into their hotel room to find a dead body waiting for them, it's mentioned almost in passing, with no effort to make the reader experience the shock the characters must have felt.
After the set-up (which ends somewhere around page 60), the action kicks in fast, and doesn't let up.Read more ›
However, there are a lot of coincidences that seem forced, a few "Why did they do that?" moments, and a number of plot surprises that failed to surprise.
If you're a real devotee of this series, then dig in. Otherwise, there are at least three dozen better books in the series.
Gun Work is a terrific fun book that fits well with soldier of fortune or spy novels. It is not a mystery (at least after the first section).
There are three main parts to the book. The main character is Barney, an ex-US Army soldier, returned from battle in Iraq, where he met a news correspondent, Carl Ledbetter. Barney is ensconsed at a gun range in Los Angeles, where he works and practices his shooting every day. He keeps his most valuable possessions in his safe at the gun range and is not terribly connected to modern society. He is the kind of friend polite people don't associate with much except when they need some real muscle and firepower to protect them and get them out of a jam. "When you worked at a range with a piece on your hip, every customer was your pal from bangers to cops." Indeed, "people tended to seek Barney's counsel whenever they fell afoul of some extralegal difficulty, the kind of gray zone balls-up that consistently befalls people you think of as completely normal and law-abiding." The author tells the reader to rate your friends and acquaintances and admonishes the reader that you already know which friend you'd ask for help "when shady bad stuff rears up in your life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
David J Schow takes a departure from horror here, but that certainly doesn't mean that this novel is anything shy of amazing. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Sven McGaha
Fast moving and well written but ultimately misses the bullseye in that the main character is actually not that interesting, nor is the supporting cast. Read morePublished on August 20, 2013 by Ken
The reviews I've read of "Gun Work" by David J. Schow seem to emphasize how hard it is, and it certainly is not all fun and games. Read morePublished on May 17, 2012 by Neil Sarver
A Hard Case favorite. I agree with the previous reviewer that it resonates Richard Stark's: Parker. Shades of Block's: Kellerman too, without the criminal motive. Read morePublished on September 3, 2011 by J. L. Date
This story just goes to show you, people change and not always for the better.
Also shows that you really can't kill a "true" tough guy and you better watch out if you... Read more
I expected to read a good hard boiled detective story, but all I got was blood, guts and plenty of it. Read morePublished on April 5, 2011 by BullDog
Gun Work is a fast-paced, complex novel. Mexico comes to life and brilliantly painted, without the two-dimensional characters we are normally fed. Read morePublished on November 18, 2009 by Noir Fan
Gun Work qualifies as pulp fiction for the 21st century. Unfortunately its appeal is limited to a very distinct niche audience. Read morePublished on July 30, 2009 by Michael G.
The experience of reading Gunwork is more akin to watching an action movie than reading a crime novel, this book's fast pace and energy makes for good weekend reading. Read morePublished on July 4, 2009 by Parker