Monday, November 6, 2023

The Trailsman #87 - Brothel Bullets

Jon Messmann (1920-2004) created the popular Trailsman adult western series and the superior, but less successful, Canyon O’Grady series. In Trailsman #87 from 1989, Messmann brings these two heroes together for the first time in a battle against the white-slavery skin trade.

The paperback hits the ground running with Skye Fargo (The Trailsman) rescuing a teenage girl from a thug who snatched her off the trails to make her work as whore in Cactus Corners, Arizona. Fargo is a sex-positive kinda guy, but this forcible arrangement offends his sensibilities. The girl’s sister is being held at the brothel, and there’s a rich father who will pay to have his daughters returned. It’s hero time.

Recovering the girls is simple enough, but Fargo is re-hired to capture the human traffickers behind this kidnapping operation and deliver them to the father’s ranch for some frontier justice. Along the way, he teams up with a plucky woman whose best friend was kidnapped by the same crew.

Brothel Bullets was released in March 1989, three months before the first Canyon O’Grady novel. It’s clear that Messmann was hoping to hype the character in The Trailsman before rolling out the full O’Grady experience. O’Grady doesn’t make his appearance until page 122 of this 166 page paperback. It’s a brief team-up, and O’Grady doesn’t even get laid or discuss his day job as the President’s own secret agent. In fairness, O’Grady’s appearance isn’t mentioned on the book’s cover, description or inside blurb, so the publisher wasn’t overtly hyping this prequel. I suspect I’m probably the only reader mildly excited about this glimpse into the Jon Sharpe Extended Universe.

In any case, Brothel Bullets is a damn fine installment in The Trailsman series. There’s a solid mystery regarding exactly who is behind the sex trafficking operation and plenty of action sequences along the way. Because this is an adult western, there’s many hot sex scenes, if that’s your jam. The adult westerns tend to be fungible with little to distinguish one title from another, but this one is a standout among them. Read and enjoy.

Fun Fact: Canyon O’Grady and Skye Fargo team up again in Trailsman #100: Riverboat Gold from April 1990.

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

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