Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Good, The Bad and the Infernal by Guy Adams

Every once in a blue moon I pick up a book by an author I haven’t read before and the result is rewarding. I was browsing the science fiction section at Barnes & Noble and happened across The Good, The Bad and the Infernal by Guy Adams. It’s a “weird western” and it’s good. It’s also the first in a trilogy called The Heaven’s Gate Trilogy. The second book is called Once Upon a Time in Hell, which I also purchased. I’m waiting on the third one. Although I had never heard of Guy Adams I had heard of the publisher, Solaris, based in England and with an American distribution system that seems to work. I mention this because certain British publishers are putting out some unique, imaginative fiction and I’d like to see more of it available here in the United States. The plot is reminiscent of Brigadoon (remember that great Gene Kelly movie?) with infusions of pulp-style horse-apples and gunpowder. According to the author’s “acknowledgment” page it also owes a great deal to the Italian spaghetti westerns of the 60s and 70s. Okay, cool, the set-up had me hooked: Wormwood is a town that appears once every one hundred years, and this draws an assortment of oddballs intent on visiting the city. Elwyn Wallace, who narrates the tale, introduces us to a preacher named Obeisance Hicks, Soldier Joe, Henry and Harmonium Jones, Lord Forest and other demons, critters and other malcontents all on their way to Wormwood. Wallace has been hoodwinked into going along, although he’s told that going to Wormwood is really his destiny. The plot is solid and the writing is good, with enough imagery to allow you to see the weirdness in your mind’s eye as you read it. The first volume is a bit of a cliffhanger, so it’s good they advertised this as a trilogy. I enjoyed The Good, The Bad and the Infernal and I’ll follow up with reviews of the next two books as I read them.

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