Sunday, January 20, 2013

Review: Six Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher


This title will be released on January 22, 2013.

"Buffy meets Deadwood in a dark, wildly imaginative historical fantasy

Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.

A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation."

My first thought was that the book was a little bit busy. There were too many main characters, too many religions/mythologies, and too much action all at once towards the end. But then when I really thought about it, I felt that somehow it all seems to balance out. Each person involved represents one of the ideologies. Each area of town also seems to have its own belief system. And as for the fight scenes, fights do happen all at once and not so much in a linear fashion. As such, I thought that R.S. Belcher handled the fight scenes well after reflection.

You meet the main characters at a slow enough pace and with enough background to make them memorable and well developed. Some are so memorable, like Maude, that I would love to see more of them in future books. And some of them there is so little, that I would like to learn more about them in future books, such as Deputy Mutt and Sheriff Jon Highfather.

When trouble begins, Maude's neighbor asks her when Maude returns home muddied from an incident in town, "Is it regular trouble or Golgotha trouble?" The townspeople have experience with this sort of weirdness, so it's not surprising when they work together to battle the evil that is threatening to end all existence. I do wonder if H.P. Lovecraft is one of the authors that influenced R.S. Belcher. The monster itself is reminiscent of Lovecraftian horrors. 

The book is aptly called a "weird western" by Mike Resnick. I think it's weird in a good way - part western, part steampunk, part coming of age story, part horror. The characters are interesting and well written. The world is built well and will stand up to repeat visits. I hope that R.S. Belcher visits Golgotha again.
I give this book 4 stars.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for my unbiased opinion.

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