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Dead in the West Paperback – May 1, 1986
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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About the Author
Joe R. Lansdale has written more than a dozen novels in the suspense, horror, and Western genres. He has also edited several anthologies. He has received the British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, seven Bram Stoker Awards, and an Edgar Award. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas, with his family. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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While the overall story might lack some of the character depth and introspective social commentaries mixed in with the dialogue that are found in most of Lansdale's later works, the story still puts enough emotion into the events that unfold to make you care about what happens. The caring is more about how everyone gets killed since it is pretty obvious that most of the characters are fodder for the zombies. But then this is acknowledged within the dedication and helps contribute to the charm of the book. If you like movies like "Evil Dead", "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and other Grade B films, then you owe it to yourself to pick this up and read it.
Overall, the story is a very fast read and fairly entertaining. Good mixed genre stuff; it is more than just a step above "Dead West", a graphic novel that is quite similar to this work. In that story, we have the last surviving member of a tribe extracting revenge on the town of Lazarus for wiping out his tribe. A mysterious stranger comes to town and ends up getting mixed up in things, just like Reverend Jeb in this book.
One of the key differences is that this story is much more fleshed out and we are given some detailed characters, including the Reverend, a young stable boy he befriends, the town doctor, and his beautiful daughter. Reverend Jeb is a tortured soul who is trying to find his faith again and felt that he was called to this backwoods town by God for some reason and of course, since he is a crack shot and is willing to use his gun, like a sword, to smite the devil, we already know we are going to get some exciting action as Jeb faces off against the living dead as well as the demon possessed Indian that wants revenge on Mud Creek.
Joe Lansdale has a comfortable and tight writing style that makes the story fly by with ease. I read it in a couple of hours and enjoyed most of it. Certainly, there are some classic old west stereotypes with the characters, but that allows you to slip into the story comfortably. Despite the graphic novel mentioned above that is very similar, this work has to stand out as quite creative and unique. A fun time for anyone who enjoys undead fiction and/or old west tales.