THE HOT COUNTRY, by Robert Olen Butler

1/series. Alpha males don't come a whole lot more believably alpha than Christopher Marlowe Cobb, Chicago-based newspaper reporter and son of the famous classical actress Isabel Cobb (now possibly playing to low-end bubbas in New Orleans notorious Storyville). Cobb specializes in war reporting, and is covering America's wussy little invasion of Vera Cruz, Mexico (they invaded; they collected garbage and swept the streets; they left). Relaxing in the seedy little Gulfside city, Cobb meets the indefagitable urchin Diego, the sexy and sharp-shooting Luisa, and then a clutch of sinister Germans. Click for more...
With the Mexican civil war not yet coalesced, Cobb finds that the Germans have decided to offer assistance to Pancho Villa. You'll be on the edge of your seat for most of this rip-roaring novel (the gun battles are particularly tasty), and will look forward to forthcoming tales (The Star of Istanbul is next). It's a 5, and it's a wild, wild ride.