Monday, December 29, 2014

REVIEW: The Mordecai Slate stories by John Whalen

If you know me and my reading habits, you know that I love weird westerns. Something about the blending of the western genre with horror has always really appealed to me. You may also know that, as far as I'm concerned, there are three names at the top of the weird western pile -- Robert E Howard, Joe Lansdale and Heath Lowrance. Well, now its time to add another to the list.

John Whalen is the author of stories about Mordecai Slate. There are presently two volumes to concern yourself with: Vampire Siege at Rio Muerto and Hunting Monsters Is My Business.

Vampire Siege is, predictably, about Mordecai Slate on the hunt for vampires. Specifically, a wealthy ranchero from New Mexico hires Slate to hunt Kord Manion, the vampire that ravished his daughter. The trick is that Slate is to bring Manion back alive (undead?). This sets the stage for one hell of a ride. Whalen recalls the very best that the genre has to offer. If you want a good, entertaining way to spend your time, you'd be hard pressed to do any better than Vampire Siege at Rio Muerto.

Unless, of course, we are talking about Hunting Monsters Is My Business. That's the name of the brand new collection of stories about Slate by Whalen. As the title might imply, you've got monsters of all varieties being represented here in this volume. They all run afoul of Mordecai Slate and, while he sometimes struggles, he always finishes the job.

That's the cool thing about Slate. He's a professional. There's no ennui or existential crises with this character. He hunts monsters because its a way to get paid and he always gets paid. Imagine Clint Eastwood meets Parker meets the John Carpenter film Vampires. Very highly recommended.

Basically, you need to pick these books up. Tell em the Chronicler sent ya.

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