In a genre mashup that blends fantasy, horror, and Western, a motley crew of misfits join forces to fight evil on the edge of the frontier.
Red is a priestess with the power to heal. Yet even as she saves lives, she also takes them—as a bounty hunter. When Red’s gang is killed, she seeks new endeavors and ends up serving as a traveling bodyguard alongside Sara, a brave woman who first picked up a gun to kill her abusive husband and then started a new life as a gunslinger. Red and Sara’s quest seems simple on the surface, but the farther they travel, the obstacles they encounter turn deadlier and more inexplicable—including people who appear to have risen from the dead. After the mayor of a small town asks the women to investigate a mass disappearance at a mine, Red and Sara realize that the evil forces at work are more powerful than they imagined. Teaming up with a local strongman named Ox and a powerful wizard named Sweets, they set out to save the frontier. Ledford (From the Scroll of Alana: Days of Infamy, 2014, etc.) subtitled his novel A Tale of the Weird West for good reason. There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on—including a creepy art gallery full of uber-realistic torture paintings, a runaway train full of zombies, and a lot of hyper-violent action sequences. It’s all enjoyable, but there’s just too much of it packed into this relatively slim book. It grows increasingly hard to stay abreast of the frantically paced timeline of events and the sprawling cast of characters as—much like that runaway train—the tale plows onward. Even so, the imagination on display is admirable, and the mixture of genres should appeal to fans of Stephen King’s Dark Tower saga. The inspired decision to center the story on two incredibly strong and distinct female characters definitely works to Ledford’s advantage; one hopes to hear of Red and Sara’s further adventures in future installments.
A wonderfully weird tale about two female gunslingers that delivers too many plot elements.