The Six Gun Tarot by R S Belcher

Just finished reading The Six Gun Tarot by R S Belcher.  This is a very unusual book with a lot going on to keep you occupied.

We start in the desert with Jim and his horse Promise.  They’re lost and won’t last many more miles but Jim is determined to keep on going and get his horse and himself to safety.  They’re eventually picked up by a bit of a rescue mission lead by the Deputy Sheriff of Golgotha.

At this point I had no idea what to expect.  Jim’s story is quite intriguing and the beginning gently draws you in and is really quite engaging.  Then you reach the strange town of Golgotha and from thereon in anything seems, and actually is, possible.

Basically, there is a strange and evil presence held deep within the confines of Golgotha, an evil so old that if it is released it will undo creation.  And, this evil is stirring.  It’s drawing to it the weakminded.  It’s like a magnet for all things corrupt and yet it also attracts other strange powers who are subconsciously drawn to the magic that lurks beneath the hills.

On the face of it The Six Gun Tarot is a western, based in Nevada in the 1860s. The town’s sheriff is a mystery – he bears scars round his neck and seems impossible to kill.  His deputy, Mutt, is also an oddity with strange connections to the wild coyotes.  On top of this we have a town guardian and a Mayor who has a secret hidden in the tunnels beneath his house and if this wasn’t enough to keep you occupied, we have some unusual Chinese magic involving a jade eye, a secret assassin and member of an ancient order (trained by a pirate if you will) and a local shop, whose owner has a reanimated body kept in the rooms above, nice (and remind me not to shop there for me vittles!).  Lots of secrets in this little town and if you like plenty going on you can’t fail to be impressed.  The action starts up fairly quickly and once it does it pretty much keeps up a fairly consistent pace.

Now, all that being said I did come away with slightly mixed feelings and more of a lean toward ‘like’ than ‘love’ and I think the main reason for this is that I felt I didn’t get to spend enough time with the characters and find out more about them.  I also thought that some of the explanation in relation to the magical elements was left a little too vague, some of the dialogue could have been a bit sharper and I definitely had unanswered questions.  I thought we got a fairly good look into Jim’s past and it was interesting and well defined but I would have liked more of the same in relation to some of the other inhabitants.  However, and here’s the thing, I think the author has a reason for this – I could be wrong of course, but this book feels like the perfect set up for further stories set in Golgotha where more time would be spent with the main characters already introduced and to give time to build up their individual stories.  I actually hope that this is the case.  I think that if this is the first in a new series it will definitely be somewhere that I would like to revisit and see how the characters grow.  Not to mention I have quite a few queries – for example, what on earth is going on in the graveyard?  It won’t be the first time that I’ve started a series with slight niggles or doubts and I think this is perfectly reasonable if the author intends to take us back.

Anyway, part western part horror, sprinkling of sci fi and plain weird, dash of supernatural, mix together with a bit of theology and finish it off with a grand finale involving a zombie-type break out and you have a rough idea of what’s going on (and put like that it does seem a bit ambitious doesn’t it and perhaps the author should have gone a bit more slowly, maybe held back a few ideas but you certainly can’t say it’s dull).

So, will I be disappointed if this is the end of Golgotha?  Yes, I want to know more.  I want to see how the author develops this.  I definitely want to read more about Jim and see if we find any more out about his remaining family and I want to see how Maude and Mutt progress.  If this is a standalone novel I will be slightly more disappointed as I don’t feel it’s fully complete.  Lets wait and see then!

I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

8 Responses to “The Six Gun Tarot by R S Belcher”

  1. Carl V.

    Sorry it wasn’t quite up to what you had hoped, but given that there seems to be enough there that has you wanting to read more if Belcher continues on in the series it isn’t all bad. This is the first review I’ve read of the book but I’ve seen the title all over the place. For some reason the title is a catchy one, at least in my opinion.

    • lynnsbooks

      I didn’t dislike it, I thought it started off really well, maybe the dialogue could have been a bit sharper – I just think there was maybe too much going on. If you think about the Dresden Files – there’s loads going on by the time you’re up to No.5 (which I now am) but, it’s sort of been introduced gradually. I guess the author was very ambitious which I don’t mind but some of the characters were really interesting so I was hoping to have a bit more about them. Perhaps in later instalments. I hope I didn’t come across as really negative?
      Lynn 😀

      • Carl V.

        No, I didn’t think you came off negative at all. Seemed like a very fair review where you liked parts but wanted it to be a bit more special than it was.

      • lynnsbooks

        I don’t know if Belcher is writing a series – if he is then it makes sense. And, going off past experience with the series I have read I very rarely love the first one because it’s all about set up. It took me the first two to be sold on Harry. Same with a couple of others.
        I must confess though that sometimes I find it hard to balance between what I like and any criticisms I might have had. I could leave the criticisms out I suppose but that doesn’t really feel like a fair review then.
        Lynn 😀

  2. MadSnapper

    Aunt y ZZ asked me to ask you to email her, she lost your email address and for some reason cannot comment on your blog…

    • lynnsbooks

      Oh no. I’ve emailed you. Thanks for letting me know 😀

  3. TBM

    part western part horror, sprinkling of sci fi and plain weird, dash of supernatural, mix together with a bit of theology and finish it off with a grand finale involving a zombie-type break out–now this I have to read to see for myself. Not sure how anyone can pull this off completely. Sounds like maybe he didn’t but still somewhat enjoyable.

    • lynnsbooks

      Ha, ha, I hope you do read it. It’s not a bad book at all – just feels a bit like a set up book for something more. I’m sure the intention must be to write a series. It probably was a bit ambitious in terms of the numbers of characters all with different things going on but I don’t suppose you should grumble about that really!
      Lynn 😀

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