Title: The Six Gun Tarot
Author: R.S. Blecher
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: Hardcover; 368
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Mild Violence
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy gritty, dark stories with a wide cast of characters.
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
Buffy meets Deadwood in a dark, wildly imaginative historical fantasy
Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.
A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation.
Something sinister is headed to the town of Golgotha, and every inhabitant can feel it. From the very first page, The Six Gun Tarot has an ominous aura about it. Add to this a population that contains everything from assassins to shape shifters, and you have a book with any extremely promising premise.
That being said, I was anxious to see where R.S. Belcher took this idea. The first half of the book was a little slow for me, but I kept in mind that it was building an extremely intricate backstory. Each character, and there are many, has something to contribute to the darkness that is steadily rolling in. The one downside to this is that all the little asides make it difficult to keep with the main story line. The POV often switches, which can be confusing.
I kept reading though and, as I neared the middle of The Six Gun Tarot, things really picked up. I found myself much more immersed during the second half of this story. Golgotha goes from being an odd town with interesting inhabitants, to a town trapped in the middle of a horror story. No spoilers here, but it is absolutely stunning even while being dark. I definitely felt like the slow beginning was worth it to get to this portion of the book.
Days later I still can't seem to classify The Six Gun Tarot. There are elements of mythology and horror, all tied up with historical events. This was a very different kind of read and, while it won't make my favorites shelf, I admire the ambition that R.S. Belcher shows. A vast story, with an equally large cast of characters, it was admittedly an intriguing read. Give this one a shot.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.