Intense! Action-packed and clever!
I just finished reading West of Hell Omnibus Edition and I've been agonizing over how I should write this. I've had a really hard time writing this one. Not because it wasn't good or anything - in fact it was for the exact opposite reasons. It was so amazing that my mind is still reeling from it all. What makes it so hard is knowing the things that I now know after having read it. West of Hell is so ingenious that I'm at a complete loss for words. There's something that I would very much like to talk about but I can't because it would completely ruin the whole experience for you and this is definitely a book you need to experience for yourself. In fact West of Hell is so good that you're going to want to read it twice and if you don't then I'll totally eat my socks (yes all three of them - hey the dryer ate one). That's how sure I am that you're going to love this series. I will totally put my socks where my mouth is. Yeah I know that's not the right saying but it if the shoe fits (Okay I'm through with sock jokes).
In Gehenna we're introduced to the notorious outlaw Mad Dog McCall and the snarky but extremely intelligent Karen. Just a few pages into the book a couple of wounded cannibalistic townfolk show up and things quickly go to hell and the action doesn't let up until the very last word. Even after reading most of his books it never ceases to amaze me how much action he can put into his stories yet still have such well defined characters. I have never read a book that I felt would be more perfect for the big screen than West of Hell. It has action, gun fights, romance, a never ending horde of zombies and a train sequence that would put every other train scene in the movies to shame. Throw in a few hollywood stars and a director who wouldn't screw the book up and you have all the makings of a summer blockbuster. Plus there's the whole Wild West theme which if I have to say is the perfect setting for a zombie invasion. I don't know why more authors haven't tried this. The Wild West would brilliantly compliment a good dystopian or fantasy story. Thank goodness Jason Brant thought about it. He and this book are well ahead of the curve.
Originally when I wrote my review I tried to talk more about the plot but I just found the task impossible to do without giving anything away. Even just the slightest reference would ruin things and I had to completely abandon that attempt and just tell you why this series so deserves to be on your shelf. First of all the zombies. I love the slow rotting and grotesque zombies so much more than their fast moving cousins. Don't get me wrong some of the fast zombie movies/books can be alot of fun but I've always found the slow moving ones to be so much more horrifying. Also, no zombie novel would be complete without lots of blood and gore and while it's not over the top or anything neither does it shy away from it. I think the author found the perfect balance.
McCall looked down to see that a rope encircled his arms and torso. His legs were similarly bound, leaving him practically immobile. He looked around to see the teenager he'd followed into the car feasting on the neck of a middle-aged woman. Her screams turned to gargles as she choked on her own blood.
Now that's how I like my zombies. With lots of blood and gurgling :D
Mad Dog McCall's character was brilliantly written. Initially I wasn't sure I'd be able to get behind a hero who is a notoriously well known outlaw. One who's reputation exceeds the log arm of the law but I should have known better. The author handles his characters with a deft hand and creates a hero who's not only worthy of that title but also one that you can get behind and cheer on. Karen's character is every bit as good as McCall's. She's quite colorful and is a...hmm how can I put this. I know I'll somewhat quote Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo: "men pay me to give them pleasure". Haha, now I don't have to worry about online censorship :D But she's a well read uhm, pleasure bringer. She is super smart and independent and every bit a match for McCall. The two of them work well together and they have a very natural chemistry together. Then there's the boy Stephen who they rescued in the Tartarus: book 2 of West of Hell. Initially I didn't think much about him. Not that he was a bad character or anything I just really thought he was, I don't know, irrelevant I suppose. I was completely wrong about him. Not only was he relevant but his character is just another reason why this plot was so clever.
Then you have your twisted villains who would be right at home in Hades. They're evil, ruthless and everything you would want or expect in a Western zombie book. The whole setting, from the towns to the desert was bleak just perfect for the time period. The pacing was fast and yet even with so much action the characters were fully three dimensional. I could go on and on about this one all day long. Just trust me, you're going to want to read West of Hell. If you love a good zombie flick or book and love your zombies slow and gory, the kind that no matter how fast you run they inevitably catch up because they never stop. The kind just keep coming until the lone survivors are forced to barricade themselves in and make one heroic last-ditched attempt at survival then you'll love this book. If you love your stories action packed but still have plenty of heart and soul to them then this is the series for you. Most importantly if you love a story that just refuses to let go, one that you'll still be thinking about long after it's over then you'll absolutely love West of Hell.
I can't recommend this one enough. West of Hell has it all. Get ready to take a wild train ride straight through hell and experience a zombie western unlike anything you've ever read before.