My Gun is My Passport
By W. Hock Hochheim
Winner of the 2013 Beverly Hills Book Award for Military Fiction!
The early 1900s. A time just after the American gunfighter, and right before the noir detective. A time when men with a certain experience were called upon to solve difficult problems – men like Johann Gunther, former military officer, ex-Texas lawman, and owner of a special firm called Remedies in Ft. Forth, Texas.
Gunther, having served under Teddy Roosevelt in Cuba, finds himself summoned by the president in 1905 for a special assignment. His job, to accompany a U.S. and British Army expedition to faraway Afghanistan and find a missing Colonel. Once he arrives, he discovers the Colonel is involved with Russians in the “Great Game” of turning Afghanistan into a pivotal point in a land grab for all the riches of the Asian continent. Join Gunther as he tracks renegade Indians in Montana, then battles foreign spies in a deadly Atlantic crossing. Ride with him as he fights vicious, bloodthirsty tribesmen and political madmen through the Straits of Gibraltar into India and up the Khyber Pass for a climactic battle at a fortress atop the world. (363 pages)
“The great American hero/anti-hero returns, in a classic, big adventure that unfolds like Lonesome Dove meets Indiana Jones. Gunther, like my other character Jack Kellog, in Be Bad Now, is a serial character, and he will return.” – Hock Hochheim
“I faithfully read a chapter of My Gun is My Passport every night before I fall asleep. It colors my dreams and puts a lovely end to what are always long, fruitful days and your yarn is a great way to unwind. I’m now in the final quarter of the book and starting to read slower because I don’t want it to end. Do you have any more books chronicling Johann’s adventures? Have you given any thought to a screenplay featuring this very colorful character? All this is my way of saying, great job partner.” – Anthony De Longis – Actor in numerous movies like Road House, Fight Director, Weapons Expert, Producer / Director
“This was fantastic! An American adventurer traveling through India at the time of the Raj, Calvary charges, intrigue on the high seas, the Great game played out in the passes of the Hindu Kush. I just met Johann Gunther in a tale of high adventure, exotic locations, frontier justice in a page turning good read.” – Russell Gauden, Canada
“Hock – First chance I’ve had to sit down and let you know how much I enjoyed your new novel, My Gun is My Passport. The novel was very exciting to read with engaging characters…Once the characters go to the final dinner – the tension and actions build to a point it became exhausting to read (in a good way). I would stop reading and literally feel my heart racing. My brother-in-law snagged it and read it also. Liked it so much, he asked me if I had any other of your books, so I tossed him a copy of Be Bad Now. Keep cranking ’em out!” – Keith Plouffe, ME
“I just wanted to drop you a quick note and tell you how much I enjoyed My Gun Is My Passport. At first I wasn’t sure I’d appreciate it based on the period (a kind of weird period between the Old West and WWI) but I sure did. It was fast-paced and keep me hooked the whole way, waiting to see what happened. I found the Star of Africa character particularly unusual and interesting and was shocked what happened to her. I like how you used the U.S. Cavalry in the story, the interaction with Teddy Roosevelt and how you turned Lydia from a drunken hard case into a sympathetic character that had her own nobility. When I read, I see these things as movies in my mind, and I really enjoyed the movie. Gunther is an unusual character in an unusual time that is seldom explored. Thanks for a great mental movie. I really enjoyed it.” – Ed Stowers, CO
“Just finished “My Gun is My Passport” and gotta tell ya’, I loved it! For me, the true measure of how much I enjoy a book is the sense of disappointment when I am finished with it realizing I can’t keep on going with the characters. Really, really good stuff, and hope you have a sequel or continuation of the Gunther series in the works.” – Rob Kloss, MD
“I don’t read many fictional books more than once. This one is an exception. Great story written in a wonderfully flowing style that made it a very pleasurable read. Looking forward to the next “Gunther” yarn.” – David Kerwood, MS
“Pictures are worth many words, but words form vivid pictures. W. Hock Hochheim’s My Gun is My Passport soaks readers with episodes of daring, adventure, bravery, death, crime, honor, humor and gunfights. In the first few minutes, just after meeting one of the men from Remedies Unlimited, a maverick named Johann Gunther; a boy dies, and a father weeps and is jolted by the reality that faces him. During this time in American History, a time truly gone with the wind, it was still kill or be killed. Brutal dictators, civil servants, and honest men were all wrestling with their circumstances, not to mention riches, fame and glory. The ruckus continues with shootouts with bandits, and you sense that you might have a good hunch on how he found himself in Afghanistan. The tales of Johann Gunther are a mix of lonely Texas cowboy, and patriotic prince with a bad case of .45 caliber justice on a bad day, or Luger pushiness when he’s lounging around. Hochheim is a fantastic writer, with hundreds, maybe even thousands of real life tales, reports, articles, books, and instruction manuals under his belt. He’s found admirable characters set in chaotic times that are not far long gone, but gone none the less. I’m fighting not to use the word harken, but I’ve got to say, My Gun is My Passport is a great read, even a second time. I look forward to more from W. Hock Hochheim. – Gerald Barnett, France
“My Gun Is My Passport, Lauric Press, by W. Hock Hochheim is an unusual Western that begins and ends in the United States but most of the action takes place in Afghanistan. Johann Gunther is a former enlisted soldier who later graduated from West Point, rose to Major and resigned to head up his own “Gun For Hire’ organization because it is far more lucrative.
His background includes forays into the American Wild West, Africa, the Philippines and charging up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt. The story opens on a foray for hire in Wyoming after which he is hired by President Teddy Roosevelt to work with a joint English/American expeditionary force. The charge is to ascertain what happened to an American officer who had been sent to find some legendary horses in Afghanistan, with a secret side-order to kill the officer if, as expected, he is working against the best interests of the United States.
The story revolves around the problems of command between various forces – British and American Commanders and the more knowledgeable Johann Gunther – and attempting to pass through the various passes in Afghanistan under the guns of hostile tribesmen. Introduction of numerous other characters add to the problems and conflicts of the journey and provide most interesting additional and supportive material.
The action scenes are well done and the extensive running battle scenes are some of the best I’ve read. Additionally, it is indeed pleasant to read a “Western that is not the usual “Western”. The Western Writers of America constantly mention the fact that “something ‘new’ should be brought into Western Literature to help revitalize the genre”. Well here is something ‘new’. I don’t know whether this book was entered into their yearly Award Contest, but certainly does provide that ‘different element’ to which they so often refer.
However, to reiterate, it is soooo nice to read a “Western” where the usual sheriff is not taming a town, the ranch hand is not saving the ranch from unscrupulous persons or the rustlers have to be stopped. The overall story is so generally well handled that I believe readers will thoroughly enjoy this departure from the ‘usual Western’ read.” – John Manhold – Book Reviewer
“No, this is not a novel about our troops fighting Al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan. Many readers might not be aware that the United States is only the latest power to become involved in the geographic area known the “graveyard of empires” because no country has successfully conquered or controlled it.
As Western readers know, the genre has greatly matured and expanded in both themes and setting beyond the traditional West of Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour. If Matthew Quigley can go down under to Australia, why can’t a Texas gunfighter journey to Afghanistan or to what the British called the Northwest Frontier?
As one reads this swashbuckling derring-do tale, one can’t help but think of Kipling, the “glorious lad” and “empire” books of Marryat and Henty, Conrad, H. Rider Haggard’s classic, King Solomon’s Mines (1885), or the popular “Richard Sharpe” novels like his India trilogy beginning with Sharpe’s Tiger (1997) (see http://www.abookandahug.com/historical-fiction-2/20712-sharpes-tiger). Timbuktu, the Amazon, Samarkand, Bombay, the Congo, Tahiti, the Hindu Kush, and the legendary Khyber Pass — Emily Dickinson had it right, “There is no Frigate like a Book to take us Lands away….”
It’s 1906, Johann Gunther, West Point grad, ex-Texas lawman and Rough Rider, now runs a troubleshooting agency called Remedies, Inc. A U.S. Army colonel on an exploratory expedition to Afghanistan has disappeared. President Teddy Roosevelt suspects foul play and/or Russian and international interference. He asks his cowboy friend to accompany an American-British rescue mission to find the truth. To accompany “Gunth”, the author has created a cast of diverse characters from the colonel’s wife, her beautiful niece, a martinet British commander, archers from the U.S. Olympic team, and even National Geographic photographers.
The author, a former Texas policeman and detective, successfully adopts the tried and true “adventure genre” formula — exotic romance, espionage, humor, clearly defined good and bad guys, and plenty of physical and life threatening action. As expected, the plot culminates in the climatic decisive heroic battle and individual combat.
The attack to recapture Fort Tartan begins on page 281 and sustains the reader’s vicarious experience until page 344. I can’t recall a more vividly described, detailed, and convincing battle scene in fiction — a cavalry charge and what it was like for the horses included. If the author hasn’t personally experienced combat, he’s talked to or studied the accounts of witnesses who have.
As expected, soldier and battlefield authenticity does mean occasional “F” word dialog. Since they say war is the opposite of civilized society, vulgar and profane language here does makes sense. For those with a curious literary bent, look up Martin Green’s Dreams of Adventure, Deeds of Empire (1979).
For a rousing and sobering historical review of Britain’s seventy year Afghanistan experience — no less than 48 failed expeditions to control the famous Khyber Pass, see Khyber: British India’s North West Frontier (1977). As Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” While I wait for T.R. to assign “Gunth” his next thrilling mission, I’m going to board a celluloid ship and join Tyrone Powers in the 1953 movie King Of the Khyber Rifles.” – Barbara Langridge of “A Book and a Hug”
“I just finished My Gun is My Passport for the 3rd time the other day. Man, that is an outstanding book. I love the period and the way that you stay consistent throughout the whole thing. I think that is a fascinating era and region. I think you were brilliant in your choice of protagonist and the plot. I need a sequel. Right now, please.” – Eric Meyes, Denver, CO
“Thumbs up on ‘Passport!’ I burn through a lot of fiction and this was a high point of a recent trip. Good, fun plot, loved the inside jokes and references I got. (I”m sure there were some I missed!) Keep at it! – Chad Dulin, MA
“Just finished reading My Gun is My Passport by Hock Hochheim. Really enjoyed the book. Took me back to my days when I would read as much Louis L’Amour as I could get my hands on. If any of my friends enjoy Western style novels – give this a read. It’s a Western with a twist!“- Brian Corey, NC
“There is nothing like reading a good action packed Western story and this one combines all the things you might look for in a novel. One of my many interests are adult Western stories and novels. To be honest, I ordered this book through Amazon but did not expect much from it; however, from the very first page I knew this was going to be a great read.
This 363 page novel is about Johann Gunther, who was originally from Germany but came to America and became an Army Officer and Texas lawman after graduating from West Point. He is also was a friend of Teddy Roosevelt and served as a Lieutenant with the Rough Riders. Johann now has his own company and does freelance work as a trouble shooter. His skill with the gun and knife is also well known in the field.
In this adventure tale he is asked by Teddy to investigate and do what has to be done about a U.S. Army Colonel Vito Latissimo whose unit disappeared on a mission in Afghanistan. What sounds like a simple assignment turns out to be much more complicated involving numerous twists and turns as he and a large group travel to the wild mountains of Afghanistan. This action novel has drama, battles, fighting and even a little passionate lust to make this a real page turning book.
In conclusion, if you love action packed novels with great characters you should check out this book. It was a great read. 5 Stars!” – Joseph J. Truncale, IL
“I have a simple rule when it comes to action/adventure novels: they need to be entertaining and W. Hock Hockheim’s MY GUN IS MY PASSPORT is that and more… The storyline and rich history and flavor gets it up and quickly running, offering a new and interesting take on the Western that is a refreshing change of pace. This isn’t your stereotypical Western or something that you’ve seen before. It’s original and as a fan of good action/adventure novels as well as Westerns, it works!
Hock knows his history, his settings, and his weapons as well, so what you’re getting here is a good look into a time and place (places actually) long gone with enough gritty, bold and daring action to keep the storyline entertaining. It’s a good, enjoyable, and entertaining read.” – Whitetrak, Amazon
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