The link to my Amazon review will be found HERE, and I made this editorial change at 1:13 AM Wednesday.
I got my copy from Baen, but you can get it from Amazon if you click the picture link .
Okay, we need to talk about the cover. It's by Dominic Harman, and I've seen his work before, BUT:
It's never sold me a book before.
But, the zombie cowboy with a pair of ...(stop right there.)
A pair of WHAT?
Six guns? Revolvers? Cowboy pistols?
No, those are sho 'nuff Colt Single Action Army. I hate it when authors make gun mistakes, and I LOVE it when they get it right. And I REALLY love it when the artists get it right. Listen: I just pulled one of MY Single Action Army Model 1873 revolvers out of the gun cabinet to verify. Dominic nailed it! He got the grip right, he shows the groove on top of the chamber because there are no rear sights on SAA, and in the gun held in the zombie's left hand, you can even make out the loading gate.
And before some smarty-pants critiques trigger discipline, these are SINGLE ACTION revolvers. It makes NO difference that the trigger finger of BOTH hands is in contact with a trigger, because the firearm in his left hand has the hammer down. It will NOT fire, until he points it at you, pulls back the hammer, and applies a certain amount of pressure to the bang switch, see?
So I'll SEE yer Four Rules of Gun Safety, and RAISE you a ZOMBIE COWBOY, okay?
And yes, the end of that barrel has a bore size perhaps best described as ...prodigious.
Because that's what a .45 Colt (or .44-40 WCF) looks like when it's in yer face, pilgrim. My pair are chambered in .357, and THAT'S enough to make ya whimper.
Sigh. I now leave off discussion of the cover art, which in my opinion is THE best story in the book, to consider the words which are written down. All of them, in some way or another, deal with CTOW, Creepy Things Out West. There really isn't a 'best one!' story in this collection, in my opinion. Many different styles, of course, but even Waffle House has more than one item on the menu.
Not that I ever need to use the menu at Waffle House, but it's nice to have choices.
BUBBA SHACKLEFORD’S PROFESSIONAL MONSTER KILLERS by Larry Correia. Ever since Owen got to throw his boss out of the window, his fans have been clamoring for more. And, by going into the past, we can get a LOT more Monster Hunter stories. Some things stay the same: not all monsters are evil; chicks with guns are WAY cool; and NOBODY ever said “Dang, why did I bring all this ammunition?” Oh, yeah, and the government is mental.
TROUBLE IN AN HOURGLASS by Jody Lynn Nye. Well, her name isn't REALLY trouble. Beauty may, perhaps, be only skin deep, but mischief goes right down to the bone. Mom tends bar with a shotgun, daddy builds time machines in the shed.
THE BUFFALO HUNTERS by Sam Knight. What do you get when you go hunting buffalo with a giant Russian count and his daughter? Well, you get buffalo, for one thing. Not much sport to it, but this sort of thing really happened. In this case, though, it's not the buffalo that are the biggest threat.
THE SIXTH WORLD by Robert E. Vardeman. This story combines mad scientists, native spook stuff, and little grey men. The most sympathetic character gets killed first, but he was sort of a wimp.
EASY MONEY by Phil Foglio. Nasty, nasty man writes a story with a punchline at the end. It's a HECK of a good cowboy story, too.
THE WICKED WILD by Nicole Givens Kurtz. This could ALMOST not be a Wild West story, but it's the wicked ways of the Wild West that make the people possible. Umm, I didn't mean to do that much alliteration. Anyway, bad guys use to be able to get away with stuff until they got shot. Or something.
CHANCE CORRIGAN AND THE LORD OF THE UNDERWORLD by Michael A. Stackpole. Nicely steampunk in nature, a classic tale of the poor & downtrodden being taken advantsge of by the owners of the mine.
THE GREATEST GUNS IN THE GALAXY by Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Ken Scholes. After the Big Shoot-Out, there's always some kid who thinks he has to prove himself. Usually, the story ends with a pimply 15 year old staring up at a blue sky. Sometimes it ends in zombies. Or not.
DANCE OF BONES by Maurice Broaddus. When you take a man's money, you do the job he hired you to do. And if that means you have to do a little extra? Well, that's a risk you take.
DRY GULCH DRAGON by Sarah A. Hoyt. Would you want your sister to marry a dragon? There's really NOTHING I can say about that concept without the risk of offending a brother-in-law. Really. I've got some responses, but I think I may have gone a bit far already.
THE TREEFOLD PROBLEM by Alan Dean Foster. Mad Amos Malone and his trusty steed, Worthless, are not the sort you want to aggravate. Amos walks into a foreclosure situation, and, well, they just blow the competition away.
FOUNTAINS OF BLOOD by David Lee Summers. It's rather a creepy title, but I don't know what I'd come up with to replace it. A hired gun goes beyond the necessary minimums to provide true service to the man who hired him; and there are vampires, and a bodacious lady marshal who rides a motorcycle called Wolf.
HIGH MIDNIGHT by Kevin J. Anderson. The Shamblin' Zombie Private Eye encounters the ethics of the Wild West through time travel. Sort of.
COYOTE by Naomi Brett Rourke. This particular story has just as much non-natural events as the others, but it reads truer. Some of the other stories NEED a volume like this in order to exist; this one doesn't. The story of the old man and his grand-daughter could appear anywhere from Boy's Life to Playboy to Good Housekeeping. Maybe not Popular Mechanics.
THE KEY by Peter J. Wacks. Sorry. Didn't get this one. It has lots of famous people in it, though. And there is whiskey involved.
A FISTFUL OF WARLOCKS by Jim Butcher. Everybody said Wyatt Earp was a tough lawman. He says, in this story, that he can't leave just because the bad guys want him to, or pretty soon everybody will be pushing him. Seems like a good philosophy for a Wild West lawman to have.
Peace be on your household.