A Pinkerton agent vows to avenge his partner.
Garrett Lyons arrives in Chicago with the body of Sam Wilkerson, his mentor and partner. Lyons is a Civil War veteran who was kicked out of the Army when a Cheyenne ambush killed all his men. His fellow officer Elliott Caultrain took the credit for Lyons’ heroics and stuck him with the blame. After Lyons hunts down and wounds forger Theo Brock, who he thinks murdered Wilkerson, he’s fired by the Pinkertons, who are more interested in making a deal to find a large number of counterfeit $20 bills and government bearer bonds. So Lyons turns for comfort to his friends in Chicago. Charlotte Reid is a widow well-known for her high-class poker games; famous architect Louis Henri Sullivan plans to help Lyons with another job he’s been pressured into doing for his former commander. Gen. Stannard’s insurance company is in trouble after his partner runs up big gambling debts, including one to Lyons. So the general asks Lyons to make sure a building is finished on time before the bank takes possession of it, along with the general’s money. Lyons realizes he has the wrong man in Brock and finds that keeping the building site on track is no easy task. Ever since an 1871 fire destroyed much of Chicago, it’s been the fastest growing city in the nation, and the enormous sums of money to be made there have attracted every crooked politician and confidence trickster in hopes of getting rich quick. To top it off, Lyons’ nemesis Caultrain, in town for a GAR reunion, seems to be involved in still another case with no end of complications.
Bard-Collins’ detailed knowledge of building, architecture and Chicago history forms a solid base for a debut showcasing a hero reminiscent of Sam Spade.