You may have noticed that I’ve not blogged for a while. A lack of internet meant the kindle was out of commission and the tower of boxes stumped any attempt at finding a decent book to read. However, we are back on line and, more importantly, back reading!
I’ve been looking forward to reading some shorts from John Joseph Adams’ anthology so I started at the beginning with Joe R. Lansdale’s The Red-Head Dead. Considered the initiator of the Weird West sub-genre, I was hoping for a tale of epic proportions. What Lansdale offered was a pretty straightforward slice from his Reverend Mercer world. I expect it would mean a lot more to readers versed in that world but, for me, it was a little too linear.
The Reverend clearly has an odd relationship with a god who takes pleasure in causing chaos as a sporting spectacle. That said, he succeeded in the task he was set, driving the evil back into the grave and awaiting his next dangerous mission.
Mike Resnick’s The Hell-Bound Stagecoach was a little more of what I was expecting. An ensemble of hard bitten, dust covered cowboys mixed up with a devilish coach bound to hell. With just the right amount of vernacular thrown in and a lady in need of saving from Satan’s own claws, the gunslingers find it in themselves to make a stand for what is right.
Resnick has a great cast of characters who fit the bill of a Western perfectly. It’s also fairly amusing how all three killers accept and adapt to their fate so quickly. Banding together to protect Miss Abigail, a baker of some repute, I still can’t decide if it was the ‘victuals’ she provided or their sense of justice that had them take the demon coach driver to task.
But, all in all, a thoroughly entertaining yarn. I’ll definitely be dipping into this anthology more over the week ahead.
Published by Titan Books