William S. Ungerman, Author . Jove $6.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-515-13841-2

This gory page-turner from Ungerman, an ex–Special Forces operative, replays the Seven Samurai along the Rio Grande—but with only two samurai, ex–Delta Force snipers Myles Rawlings and Lon Grainger, who've been hung out to dry after an interagency snafu in Beirut led to the deaths of the wrong people. In Washington, D.C., Richard Stoneman, whose life was saved by the Delta Forcers in Mogadishu, is trying to unravel the mystery behind the Beirut incident. Meanwhile, Rawlings and Grainger are finding that Zapata, Tex., is full of both friends and foes. Friends include the local priests, who are trying to keep their church open as the last bastion of decency; Sloane Nadine McKenzie, a deep-cover DEA agent; and the two teenage boys who ran the ad that brought the shooters to Zapata in the first place. Chief among their enemies is Estaban Rios, drug lord and consummate thug, who's supported by a Cuban super sniper, a Santeria witch and a small army of well-paid and well-armed muscle. Needless to say, virtue triumphs, but the battle is plausibly long and bloody, while the secondary characters (not to mention the weapons) are drawn with abundant and often original detail. The graphic scenes of rape and torture may limit this contemporary thriller's appeal to a mostly male audience. Agent, Diana Finch. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
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