Yea Though I Walk
(Pub: Curiosity Quills Press, 2016)
Yea Though I Walk is genre blending fiction: it is a mix of the western, horror, and paranormal fantasy genres. From the opening sentences, “It’s the smell that hit me first. That sickly-sweet smell of greasy meat and burning hair puts a hook in my gut and drags me awake.” – I had a feeling I was onto a winner with this story.
The plot follows the path of Linthicum Odell, an Army deserter and would-be member of The God Pistols – a band of gun toting vigilantes who clear the west of demons, vampires and other hell spawn. Linthicum has been sent to a town known as Gold Vein to procure silver bullets from the smithy there. On his way he is waylaid and captured by a group of wendigo. His path is now inextricably woven with the complex problems of the ever diminishing citizens of Gold Vein. He finds himself faced with not only an army of cannibals in the hills, but also vampires (strigoi or striggers). It’s all fun from there onward.
Sloan sets the scene wonderfully in first paragraph – I could visualise what was going on extremely well and this opening scene turns out to be an action packed one. In fact there are only a few places where the pacing lags a little in this novel, otherwise it rockets along and I really did have trouble putting it down. Those slower sections are the travelling to and from the homestead to the town; these become a little repetitive, but in hindsight I think there are some clues in there – however I missed them at the time.
The characters are diverse. Some of them typical of what you would expect within a western style novel, but they’re not one-dimensional. Their voices throughout are convincingly different – you’ll understand what I mean by this when you read it. Sloan writes that stereotypical western drawl/slang that we expect to see from some of the characters and yet the dialogue for Folger who is from the east coast and Katerina who is from Eastern Europe also seemed to me to be well done.
Part of the way through the novel I thought the plot was going to twist in a particular direction, but discounted it because it simply didn’t seem feasible. There is also cute, but brief, section of dialogue dealing with existentialism and vampires. So when the plot twist, that I thought impossible happened, I was momentarily angry, thinking that the author had pulled an elephant out of his existential hat and was expecting us to ignore it. I was delighted when the plot took yet another twist, wholly unexpected, that left me smiling and saying to myself, “Thank you.” (Then, of course, I went back to the book trying to find the clues I had missed.)
I really did enjoy the blending of some of the classic vampire mythos into a new world / western environment. I thought this was not only different, but interesting. Yea Though I Walk rollicks along for the most part and is a highly enjoyable read.