Guns of Perdition (Armageddon Showdown #1) by Jessica Bakkers #bookreview #darkfantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

IT TAKES GRACE TO HUNT WHEN IT’S DARKSOME

Jessie expects he’ll be forever cleaning up after the cowpokes of the Bad Hoss Saloon. That’s until the day a drifter strides through the doors, and blows away a blood-sucking demon, along with Jessie’s belief in an everyday world. Jessie is captivated by the enigmatic Grace, with her pearl-handled revolvers, and wolf companion. He throws in his normal life and follows her across the Wild West, as she hunts down and slays the evil creatures that roam the frontier.

Along the way, they seek the aid of a Native American warrior, cross paths with a Cajun Queen, and encounter a small-town tycoon with a deadly hunger for gold. Animosity and distrust plague Grace and Jessie, and their strange group of allies, but they must put their differences behind them if they’re to have any hope of finding and defeating the frontier’s true evil, the Darksome Gunman.

The Armageddon Showdown is a dark-fantasy, weird western series of epic proportions, focusing on the age-old battle between good and evil, though in the Wild West, it’s not always clear just who is good and who is evil.

Join Grace Dyer and her band of miscreants as they battle demons and demi-gods, in the frontier’s deadliest conflict…the Armageddon Showdown. 

I haven’t read many westerns – to my knowledge this book makes a sum total of two. It’s not one of my favorite genres, but toss in Armageddon, dark fantasy, and a battle between good and evil and I’ll snatch it right up regardless of the genre.

The genre blend of western, dark fantasy, and horror is done so well and will appeal to a wide variety of readers. Some parts are a bit graphic, so heed the warning if that’s something you prefer to steer clear of (or just skim over those parts). It’s clear the author did her research for this time period, and I really enjoyed the western vernacular.

Morally gray characters are my favorite and these characters? Shades of gray dripping on nearly every page. Jessie had no idea what he was getting into the day Grace walked into the saloon where he worked or how much his life would change after leaving town with her. His character arc from young and naive to weathered and jaded is fascinating, but also kind of heartbreaking at his loss of innocence. It’s one of the things I enjoyed most. And Grace? She’s badass, hardened, lethal and ruthless, but I loved how the author also allowed her softer side and undying loyalty to her friends to shine through.

Vile creatures, unsavory characters, shocking twists, somber moments – my emotions were all over the place. Alexa read this to me from my Kindle and I had to rewind her more than once because I let some curses slip out over suprising plot developments. The author absolutely didn’t pull her punches from the first page to the last.

Readers of westerns, horror, and dark fantasy will be delighted with this gruesome, gritty tale and after this book, I’ll have to retract my statement about not being a western fan. It’s a powerful debut, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here.

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman #bookreview #western #horror #TuesdayBookBlog

Carol Evers is a woman with a dark secret. She has died many times . . . but her many deaths are not final: They are comas, a waking slumber indistinguishable from death, each lasting days.

Only two people know of Carol’s eerie condition. One is her husband, Dwight, who married Carol for her fortune, and—when she lapses into another coma—plots to seize it by proclaiming her dead and quickly burying her . . . alive. The other is her lost love, the infamous outlaw James Moxie. When word of Carol’s dreadful fate reaches him, Moxie rides the Trail again to save his beloved from an early, unnatural grave.

And all the while, awake and aware, Carol fights to free herself from the crippling darkness that binds her—summoning her own fierce will to survive. As the players in this drama of life and death fight to decide her fate, Carol must in the end battle to save herself. – Goodreads.com

Somehow I missed this was a western, which I definitely don’t read, but I was captivated by Bird Box, so I’ll read anything Josh Malerman cares to write.

As with Bird Box, the author has once again created an original premise, but in this book, Carol loses all senses except hearing.  She’s completely helpless, but knows exactly what’s happening to her.  And as a claustrophobic, the thought of being buried alive and unable to move is utterly terrifying to me.  Dwight is narcissistic, selfish, spineless, and you just want to see him get what’s coming to him.  But with Smoke, Malerman has created a totally unhinged, evil lunatic, and he adds just the right touch of wickedness.

Although the beginning was a little slow-paced for my taste, the story galloped rapidly at the end and I couldn’t tear myself away until reading the last word.  Not being a western fan, I didn’t feel like this leaned heavily on that genre, but the atmosphere was still there, along with the horror/thriller elements.  Unique, clever, chilling, and highly recommended.  Unbury Carol is scheduled for release April 10th, 2018.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.