Tag Archives: Western

A Hard Day’s Work: A Review of Bounty Hunter Stex

Every Thursday I share a list of free spectulative fiction books on Twitter. Last April, My friend Berthold Gambrel reviewed one of the books I mentioned, and now I’m reviewing it as well! Thank you for reviewing this book and nudging it closer to the top of my to-read list, Berthold! 

Book cover for Bounty Hunter Stex by Vesa Turpeinen. Image on cover shows a gunslinger and cowboy pointing a pistol while standing in front of a space ship on a dusty plain. Title: Bounty Hunter Stex

Author: Vesa Turpeinen

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: April 1, 2021

Genres: Science Fiction

Length: 23 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

Bounty Hunter Stex crashes his small plane hundreds of miles away from civilization while transporting a prisoner.

Stex and his prisoner end up face to face with an ancient evil as they look for shelter from a godforsaken ghost town in the middle of a desert.

This story is written by the award-winning author of the Amazon best-selling Pilot Career Series, Vesa Turpeinen. While he is widely recognized in the non-fiction world, this is his first attempt at writing fiction ”” and it won’t leave you cold!

The story combines science fiction, western, and magic, plus a little bit of Stephen King-style horror. It’s only about a 10-minute read and distributed for free. Enjoy!

Review:

Content Warning: Blood and murder. I will not be discussing these things in my review.

The less you know about this tale in advance, the better!

I adored the creative plot twists. As mentioned above, this is one of those stories that works best if you avoid all spoilers for it ahead of time. That’s going to make it a little tricky to discuss and critique here, but I’m always up for  a challenge. The coolest things about these plot twists were how often they happened and how many different genres they invited into the storyline in order to make everything tie together. I was surprised on a few different occasions, but everything was tied up beautifully together in the end.

This would have benefitted from another round of editing. The typos and punctuation errors happened often enough for me to give this a much lower rating than I otherwise would have chosen. It was distracting to pause and read those sections again to make sure I understood what the narrator was trying to communicate. With that being said, the plot itself was excellent. I am hoping to read more from this author in the future as his writing style was otherwise delightful.

The dialogue was nicely written. None of the characters were the sorts of folks who stand around shooting the breeze. I quickly learned that all of them had a strong preference to get to the point and then immediately figure out what to do next, so it made perfect sense that they’d keep their conversations to a minimum and plainly say what they were thinking when they did decide to speak up. Writing it that was a sensible decision, and I honestly wouldn’t have wanted those parts of their personalities to be communicated in any other way.

Bounty Hunter Stex was a wild romp through multiple genres. Do give it a shot if you love westerns, science fiction, or simply being surprised by clever storytelling.

 

Stex Freeman – MC. Bounty Hunter.

Lucas the Slayer – bad guy he just captured and is taking in.

A Review of Terror Beneath Cactus Flats

Book cover for Seth Tucker's Terror Beneath Cactus Flats. Image on cover is of a desert with mountains in the backgroundTitle: Terror Beneath Cactus Flats (A Weird Western)

Author: Seth Tucker

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: January 25, 2013

Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Western

Length: 43 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

Jed, the fresh faced deputy Marshall of Cactus Flats, finds himself put to the test as an unknown evil besieges the small town. In order to save the townsfolk, Jed will have to venture into the old abandoned mines and confront the evil awaiting within.

Content warning: Blood. I will not be discussing this in my review.

Some tags were left off of this post for spoiler reasons.

The west isn’t always as simple as it may seem to be.

There are so many things I want to say about the evil lurking in the abandoned mines, but I really need to leave those details up to you to discover for yourselves as brand new readers of this tale. This device works best when someone has no idea what Jed’s about to find or why it’s so dangerous. Honestly, that’s one of my favourite types of horror. There’s something even scarier than usual about wandering into a storyline with no idea of what is to come in it.

I would have liked to see more time spent on the world building. Mr. Tucker introduced some fascinating concepts, but they weren’t fleshed out like they could have been. Obviously, I wouldn’t expect a short story to include as much world building as a full-length novel, but there was a lot of room here to explain everything more clearly.

Jed was such a likeable guy. He was from a time and place that had strict rules governing everyone’s roles in society. Sometimes those roles poked through the plot in ways that were important to the plot but might also go against the sensibilities of some readers. Seeing how he reacted to them made a great deal of sense. Of course the culture he grew up in affected the way he thought about others, but I also sensed a great deal of compassion and courage in him that had a big impact on how I interpreted those scenes.

If you love big plot twists, Terror Beneath Cactus Flats might be right up your alley!