Baylor Rumble enjoys life on his catamaran, sailing down to Mexico to meet up with a beautiful movie star who fell for him during her last film. Life, it seems, gets even better when a couple of pretty young women offer to crew for him, cook for him, and pay him to deliver them to the site of a lost Spanish treasure. It's an offer that Baylor ultimately cannot refuse.
Baylor is used to sailing alone and it takes him a bit of time to accustom himself to a crew, but he's soon won over by great food and being surrounded by bikini-clad bodies. He has to take a firm line when he catches one of his crew-women smoking a joint... they're in Mexican waters and Mexican police don't take a tolerant attitude toward drugs. Once he establishes the rules, though, everything looks good. Until, that is, he tries to help a group of shipwrecked sailors.
Baylor's attempt at kindness is not well rewarded. Instead of thanks, he finds himself thrown into a multi-way battle between Mexico's police, its drug-lord, a group trying to overthrow the drug-lord, and the CIA which pursues its own objectives while playing off all of the other parties. Baylor doesn't much care for any of them, he simply wants to keep himself, and his friends, alive. Unfortunately, he, and they, are in the crossfire.
Author George Snyder writes a fast-paced men's adventure of buried treasure, Mexican drugs, beautiful women, and evil torturers. Baylor is an intriguing character partly because of his own blindness. Always tough, Baylor puts himself and his friends, in circumstances from which escape seems impossible. Baylor generally manages to walk out, the last man standing, but his friends are rarely so lucky. Anti-hero Piere Dante tells Baylor that the two are the same (both pure evil) but Baylor cannot see it. Baylor's intentions are generally good, which is far from the case with Dante, whose ultimate goal is the rape of a teenage girl. Ultimately, though, Baylor is as great a danger to those around him as is Dante.
Snyder's first person narrative involves the reader in the story, making us care for a man who has definite issues. Like T. Jefferson Parker's recent novels, Snyder also shows us the ugly side of a Mexico largely created by American money and indifference. BAJA BULLETS is not a feel-good story, but it's a compelling adventure that I found hard to put down.