(Note: This review originally appeared on Amazon.com)
In the full-length novels "Dillon and the Voice of Odin" and "Dillon and the Legend of the Golden Bell", Derrick Ferguson introduced us to his titular modern pulp-hero: a cocky-yet-likeable badass who dives into trouble head-first and often brings everybody and their mothers in with him. These novels have cemented both the character and his creator as forces to be reckoned with in the "New Pulp" movement, but with "Four Bullets For Dillon" we are treated to four early and hard-to-find short stories: bite-sized installments that are great starting-points for Dillon newbies or great fun for those experienced with "the Road Runner of pulp".
Starting off with "Dillon and the Bad Ass Belt Buckle", we find Dillon & his stalwart and grizzled ally Eli Creed as they attempt to return a kidnapped actress back to safety. Unforseen circumstances intervene, however, and they end up stuck in the Cambodian jungle with their charge. It's after they stumble upon a lawless little town in the middle of nowhere called Cheap Prayer that things start to get interesting, and Dillon must compete against Cheap Prayer's tough little ruler in a gauntlet where the odds are stacked against him.
"Dead Beat in La Esca" by Joel Jenkins is a blast: Dillon and Jenkins' character, rock guitarist and mercenary Sly Gantlett, encounter each other and end up butting heads in a New York nightclub. The joke's on them, however, as a trap is sprung on the heads of the two adventurers. What then erupts is something like a mid-80's action flick crossed with a Looney Toons short. Another meeting of the two characters is supposed to be in the works, and I'm looking forward to it.
"Dillon and the Judas Chalice" is pretty much the centerpiece of the collection, and it almost feels like a full-scale Dillon novel. After a real slam-bang opening- the kind of action-scene that some other stories would put near the end!- Dillon is hired by a dying man (who has some rather unique operatives) to recover the titular artifact: a cup forged from Judas' infamous thirty pieces of silver, and an object worshipped by followers of Judas... What follows is a terrific action story with a great cast and a great beat-the-clock climax.
To wrap up the book, we have "Dillon and the Escape from Tosegio", a great little story about the aftermath of a double-cross and Dillon's flight to escape some very cool and comic-booky pursuers. This fills in the background between Dillon and Awesome Times, a booming, bearded, and filthy mercenary "friend" of Dillon's who appeared in "Dillon and the Legend of the Golden Bell".
Overall, this collection is a giant blast. I really can't recall anything that I didn't enjoy about these stories, and as always Ferguson and Dillon get my highest recommendation. Snap it up and strap yourself in- it's another great ride with Dillon.
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