Last year I reviewed the first installment of the new weird western series Dead West by the trio of Marquitz, Martin, and Soward. The latest volume in that series is out, and it’s just as wild and over the top as the first volume. Fans of The Walking Dead will find plenty in this book to cheer about.
The story picks up shortly after the closing events of Those Poor, Poor Bastards. Nina and her friends, well, companions rather, are fleeing the carnage they left behind. They’re using Strobridge’s private train to get back to civilization.
They’re being followed by a demon train controlled by Liao Xu. The train chase through the mountains is one of the best chase scenes I’ve read in quite a while.
The action takes off fairly quickly, and hardly ever lets up. That isn’t to say the authors don’t devote time to character development. They do. Much of the character development revolves around Nina’s growing relationship with James Manning or her exploring the connection she has with the spirit world.
In fact, I found it interesting that three men have begun writing a series from the point of view of a young woman of mixed race. That’s not the easiest thing in the world to attempt. They do a good job of pulling it off.
There are other characters that change. Jasmine, the former whore, and George, the Confederate soldier, both undergo changes in how they respond to the others.
We meet some more people, but don’t get too attached to them, though. Not all of them will survive until the end of the book. Nina and her companions take a beating. This isn’t are group of James Bond wannabes here. Everyone, well everyone who survives, that is, will be tried by fire, figuratively if not literally.
Don’t look for closure at the end, either. There’s a resolution to the immediate storyline, but the overall story arc is far from resolved. This series looks like it’s going to go on for a while. The impression I got was the first volume introduced the major players, the second introduced some wrinkles which will make things interesting and set up the coming conflict.
As I stated in my previous review, this isn’t a series for younger readers. The content is for more mature audiences. Besides the gory (and at times I do mean gory) details, the graphic language and sexual content make this a series that isn’t suitable for younger readers. Adults, however, especially fans of in your face horror, will find much to appreciate.
I read an epub edition of the book. While I caught one or two typos, the formatting was professional, and the links to the chapters in the ToC worked as they were supposed to. All in all, a professional job on the product. I’d like to thank Ragnarok Publications for the review copy.