Monday, February 4, 2013

The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher

When I first cracked open R.S. Belcher's debut, I wasn't really sure what to expect. The early publicity called it a mix of Buffy and Deadwood, though, so I was definitely on board!

Jim Negrey almost died in the desert. Fortunately, a man called Mutt came to his rescue. Mutt heard that Jim was on his way and he trekked out to find him, herding him to safety in Golgotha. Now, Golgotha is a strange little town: the sheriff seemingly can't be killed and there have been some incidents of late where folks seem to be going a bit mad. And beneath the nearby mountain an ancient force is stirring, one that could lay waste to Golgotha and much more. 

I really had to mull over how to present this review. On the one hand, Belcher's debut is highly entertaining. On the other, there's a LOT going on! (Hence my super in a nutshell synopsis above.)

The story shifts between a number of characters: Jim, Mutt, Maude - a very Buffy-ish character, the mayor - a Mormon tasked with protecting the church's secrets and secrets of his own, a local shop owner with a very interesting way of staying connected to his dead wife, the local vet who dabbles in some questionable scientific methods, and a slew of others.

The story also features a lot of flashbacks. The ones that really threw me were the beginning of creation stories. Whew! They threw me for a loop when they first started appearing. Others are background on various characters -- Maude and Jim, for example.

I'd like to say that the story could have been improved by a little more focus -- in fact, I'd have preferred Jim as the main character of the story. As the story plays out, though, Belcher's multi layered story begins to make much more sense.

In the growing (and welcome for my part) trend of weird westerns, I have to say that Belcher's Six-Gun Tarot is definitely a fun entry.

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