James Alderdice (David J. West)
Brutal is the debut novel from James Alderdice, but it’s not really a debut. Alderdice is the pen name of David J. West. David is no relation to me, but he’s also no stranger to those of you who have been following this site for a while.
David has been writing a lot of weird westerns lately, so he decided as a branding exercise to use a different name on this epic fantasy novel. It’s one of the best things I’ve read by him.
Take some Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane, Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, A Fistful of Dollars, and various other influences (which the author describes here), and you’ve got a bloody, gritty tale of a stranger who comes to town to clean up.
A man known only as the Sellsword comes to the town of Aldreth, which the locals have started calling All Death. He’s there to clean things up, and there’s a lot to clean up. There are two warring wizards, a cult dedicated to a dark goddess, corrupt city guards, and a widowed duchess who has a reputation for stepping out on her recently deceased husband. Of course the Sellsword gets involved with her. Continue reading
Whispers Out of the Dust
David J. West
ebook $3.99, paperback $14.99
Take the Mormon settlement of the West, mix in some M. R. James and H. Russell Wakefield, throw in a healthy serving of H. P. Lovecraft and a dash of Robert E. Howard, stir in Native American lore, bake in the desert heat and wash down with a lake formed by a damn, and what you’re likely to come up with something that resembles Whispers Out of the Dust.
David J. West has begun to build a body of work in the subgenre known as the weird western, and his most recent book is a solid addition to the field. It’s also one of his most ambitious projects to date. (And I absolutely love that cover.)
St. Thomas, Nevada was settled by Mormon pioneers, but the area had been home to the Anasazi and other tribes long before. The Mormons, many of them anyway, moved away when they discovered they were in Nevada rather than Utah and Nevada wanted to collect several years of back taxes. Still, the town survived until the Hoover Dam was built, and the waters of Lake Mead covered it up.
That much is historical fact. What David does is add a dose of fantasy which he blends so smoothly that you find yourself believing things you know can’t really be so. (At least you don’t think so.) The footnotes (endnotes, really) certainly add to the feeling of verisimilitude. David includes a number of photos he’s taken, which give you an idea of what the area looks like. Continue reading
First, Happy New Year, everyone. I hope it’s a good year for all of you, prosperous in many ways. I’d like to thank everyone who stops by and reads any of my posts, whether it’s at one of my blogs, a review at Amazing Stories, or a Ballantine Adult Fantasy post at Black Gate. I’ll add an additional thank you to those of you who leave comments, as the discussions are always rewarding. Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who sent me material for review, whether an author or a publisher.
I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. My philosophy is if you need to make some changes in your life, do it when you see the need, not at some arbitrary date on the calendar. That being said, the disruption to routine that the holiday season brings with it provides a good incentive to reboot some aspects of your life as you try to reestablish a regular schedule..
So insert the standard things about losing weight/exercising more/getting more sleep/etc. here.
Now, as far as blogging, writing, and reading go, here’s what I hope to accomplish this year. Continue reading
My review today at Amazing Stories is over David J. West‘s Weird Tales of Horror. It’s a solid and diverse collection of stories.
I’ll not repeat what I said there. Just consider it one of my Halloween related posts. Not all of them will be here.