Smith, a bounty hunter in the old west, is one mean and selfish SOB. He lets a prostitute get beaten from an inch of her life by his latest bounty while sitting downstairs in the saloon. While attempting to gun down Quill, his bounty, he blows himself up with his signature weapon – dynamite. The next thing he knows, he’s in a hot place being served a drink by hell’s bartender, Old Snappy. Not wanting to go into an eternity of misery and fire, he accepts a mission to come back to earth to help Snappy out. It seems that Quill’s body has been taken over by a demon and old acquaintence of Snappy and earth is overrun by hordes of zombies that do his bidding. On top of that, Quill is in cahoots with Lovecraft’s Old Ones and looking to help them come into this world to take it over. This doesn’t go over well with Old Snappy. He likes the way things are doesn’t want to see it changed. So he send Smith back to earth to kick some ass and put things back to where they belong.
Lansdale wields his typical sense of warped western humor and tongue-in-cheek delivery to bring us Hell’s Bounty. The story reads like a graphic novel without the pictures and it’s hard to take too seriously. For those that enjoy this out of Lansdale, you’ll love Hell’s Bounty. For me, it was a little too hokey and cartoony for me. I like my horror to be a little more realistic and have that suspension of disbelief. At no point did I feel that the characters could be real or taken too seriously. For that, it drops the story down a full star for me. It’s too bad because Lansdale tells a hell of a story. If only I could’ve bought into it more.
3 1/2 silver bullets out of 5
** This ARC was delivered by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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