Unexpected napping from my son meant unscheduled reading for me! Continuing the weird west bonanza, I chose to read Hugh Howey’s offering to the anthology. As a big fan of his Wool series, I wasn’t disappointed as his short story is a strangely poetic mystery told from the perspective of an itinerant soldier.
Having been on the losing side in the American Civil War and now signed up with his former enemies, Howey’s protagonist finds himself deep in unfamiliar and unforgiving territory. After a scout goes bonkers and returns to camp on a killing spree, things go from bad to strange.
The tale is wonderfully written as it explores one man’s curiosity and the odd yet enticing path it leads down. Howey has crafted a fascinating story that will stay with you long after you’ve read Hell From The East.
Rajan Khanna’s Second Hand is less mystic and more action packed magic. Kicking off in a saloon with a card game, things soon heat up as the two main characters get caught cheating. But it’s cheating by magic and it’s a system that is very cool.
It’s all about the Cards, the Play and the Game. A magic deck which gives the owner four suits and some Jokers worth of spells. However, for Quentin Ketterly and his charge Hiram Tetch, there’s more to the Cards than they first thought. Deeper down the rabbit hole they go, the darker things become and they’re soon embroiled in murder and mystery. It’s a great, great story and a brilliantly crafted vision into a magical Western.
Published by Titan Books