Read the six gun tarot by R.S. Belcher Online


Buffy meets Deadwood in a dark, wildly imaginative historical fantasyNevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoaBuffy meets Deadwood in a dark, wildly imaginative historical fantasyNevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation....

Title : the six gun tarot
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 17335182
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 365 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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the six gun tarot Reviews

  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    2019-05-27 15:36

    One of the most enduring motifs of the Western genre is the town in the forsaken deserts of the West where people go to run from their past lives and to escape to a new one. In this novel, Golgotha is such a place, however the voice that leads travelers into its depths is a sinister, ageless one. A voice that also attracts all sort of supernatural phenomena.Young Jim makes it to edge of this town, where the desert almost kills him and his beloved horse, Precious. His life is saved by a strange half-Indian man, Mutt, who turns out to be the town's deputy, and to have a supernatural heritage of his own. Jim gets hired to work for the Sheriff, Jon Highfather, a man who has cheated death again and again. A man who is the protector for the town from the supernatural evil always lurking in the dark.Golgotha is full of strangeness, and also flawed humans, such as a wife and mother who has an incredible legacy. There is also a resident mad scientist, who has more interest in the dead than the living. And did I mention that Golgotha has a very large Mormon population? There might also be an angel lurking in the town. But I can't confirm or deny that.The Six-Gun Tarot was very much a surprise find for me on the new arrival shelf at my library. I couldn't resist it, because I love the Weird West, and this book couldn't get any weirder. Many times, this book is more horrific than anything else. The deep, dark secret of this town is pretty darn harrowing, and the fact that its menace lurks behind a dark religious cult out to destroy the world as we know it. There is a lot going on in this book. I think the author does a good job of holding it all together. The twisted threads of the story and the various character point of views come together as a cohesive whole that gave me a shuddery feeling as I read. I was glad I feverishly finished the last 160 pages during the day yesterday, trying to get it done, since it was due back at the library. It would have been a not so good thing to read before bed!This isn't a feel good book, I must warn any who want to read it. It's dark fantasy/horror that seats itself very identifiably in the aesthetic of the Old West, where blood runs freely, and regret and prejudice are a part of the landscape. Where peoples of many heritages coexist uneasily, when they aren't at each others' throats, and the time comes to band together to face a darker, far from human threat which cares nothing for humanity, or anything right or decent. While not a feel good novel, the writing is very good and atmospheric. Belcher inspires empathy for the flawed characters in this novel. Their failures in some ways equip them for just the threat they face. There are many subtle references to works of weird fiction, such as a character who has Ashton Smith in his name, and quotes from Frankenstein by Mary E. Shelley. I want to read more stories in this town, since this threat they face in this book is neither the first, nor will it be the last.If it's not obvious, I liked this book, even in its highly disarming moments. Good solid, weird fiction with a very credible Western setting and iconography. I'd recommend it to the brave reader who doesn't mind some tentacle, squirmy elements.

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2019-06-12 16:27

    Golgotha, Nevada 1869. Fifteen-year-old Jim finds himself in town after surviving the 40-Mile Desert, running from his past with just his horse and his father's magical jade eye in his pocket. Golgotha has always had a way of attracting and drawing in the supernatural. With its history of unexplained occurrences, the old town is also home to many strange denizens, including Jonathan Highfather, the town's sheriff whose extraordinary luck has always preserved him despite many close shaves with death. Mutt, his deputy, is said to be the son of Coyote. Meek and prim Maude Stapleton, wife of a prominent banker, is actually a deadly trained assassin and a follower of the cult of Lilith. It all comes to a head when an ancient evil deep beneath the old mines of the mountain is called forth into the world, and the town's motley crew of citizens must join together to defeat the sinister force and its tainted army.On the surface, this may sound like another one of your familiar characters-get-together-to-save-the-world books, but I have to say in all honesty I've never read a book quite like The Six-Gun Tarot. And it's a great thing. I've always enjoyed westerns whenever I read them, especially when they are mixed with aspects of fantasy and the paranormal. This book was an interesting blend of all that goodness as well as elements of theology and horror.What makes The Six-Gun Tarot stand out is its world-building and character development. Almost the entirety of the book takes place in Golgotha and its surroundings, with flashbacks to some of the characters' pasts. The town and its population is brought to life by many of these rich backstories. In fact, at times the book almost feels overly ambitious in these areas. I think it was a good move for the author to keep a lot about the history of the town and its people unexplained to preserve a bit of mystery, but at the same time I was left with so many questions and a desire to know more. Take Maude's past as an example. What really was the purpose of all her training? Did she put her skills to good use on any adventures between the short time she became initiated and the time she met her husband and got married? Or what about Clay the taxidermist and mad scientist tinkerer? What's the deal there and where was his backstory? These questions were just a handful of the many that occurred to me while reading. It felt to me that there was so much potential there to be explored, and what didn't get expanded upon seemed like wasted opportunities. This book could have been longer if only to delve more into the history of these characters, since they were what made this book so unique. Perhaps then there would also have been less frequent jumping around of character perspectives, which often got distracting.As a debut novel, however, I have to say this one was solid. I look forward to checking out more of R.S. Belcher's stuff in the future.

  • Sanaa
    2019-06-18 12:34

    [4.5 Stars] What a strange and interesting book! I haven't read anything this weird or dark in a while, and I really loved it. The characters and the world building are truly the most unique part about this book. I found myself wanting to know more and more abut every single character we encountered, and I felt really attached to many of them. They're real. They're not without their problems, baggage, or darkness, but they are complex and so intriguing to read about. This is the first weird western I've read, and it did not disappoint. I think it is a genre I'm going to really enjoy, and I loved how it gave the entire book a rather eerie feel. Belcher's writing is atmospheric and really quite beautiful despite the dark unsettling nature of the story. Also, did I mention I adored all the mythologies and supernatural elements in this story? They were just so well done!If I have anything negative to say about this book it is that the characters have so much potential, but in the end the plot was fairly straight forward. The mythology also didn't get woven enough into the story for me to consider this book a five star read, but it did come pretty close. I also think that some people might find this book a little slow. The first half of the book is really all about the characters, their development, and learning about the secrets of this weird town Golgotha. Some of these secrets never fully get explained, but they enchant you anyway. it is only in the second half of the book that we really figure out what is happening, and the way everything gets resolved seems slightly convenient.That being said, I adored this book. It was weird and wonderful and dark. If you don't have a strong stomach and if you can't handle books with really dark themes and horror moments, then this book won't be fore you. If you are fine with those things, and like a book with complex characters, a complex setting, and a bunch of weird mythologies, this book is for you!

  • Ctgt
    2019-05-25 14:51

    Faith gives a thing power. Belief is one of the most powerful assets mankind possesses. It's a damn shame so few folks take advantage of it. Of course the world is set up to make it hard to believe-that's part of the elegant trap of it.A really good weird western set in Nevada just beyond the 40-Mile Desert in the town of Golgotha(great name). The book is a mashup of ideas and POVs, western, supernatural, horror, a bit of Lovecraft, fallen angels, the Chinese creation story of Pangu, shapeshifters, a sheriff that supposedly can't be killed, a young teen running from a heartbreaking past, a brief instance of steampunk, a whiff of name it, it's in here.That's probably what holds the story back from being a five star read for me, there's almost too much going on to keep track. It does come together well in the end but there were moments early on where the storyline seemed a little muddled. That being said, I still enjoyed the book and even though there were many characters I thought the author did a great job with development. If you have an interest in any of the ideas listed above I recommend giving this book a try. The second book has already been released and I will definitely be digging into it in the near future.BTW Thanks to Mpauli for the heads up!

  • Emma
    2019-06-15 17:42

    Wow! Absolutely loved this...paranormal Western sounds unlikely as a winning combination but it worked fabulously. I hope the next in the series is as good.

  • Mihir
    2019-05-26 17:28

    Full review over at Fantasy Book CriticANALYSIS: Six Gun Tarot is a debut that almost flew under my radar; it was thanks to Cindy, my fellow blogger that I was able to read it. The blurb details give you a small inkling about the book’s story but truly nothing truly prepares for the actual story. There are many POV characters in this story and as each chapter begins we are introduced to each and every one of them along with their backstory, motivations and futures. Jim is the young kid who’s on the run from law and his past life on a farm; he has a jade eye, which is the sole memory of his father. Mutt is a deputy policeman who is a Native American and despised by both his people and the white Americans. Sheriff Jon Highfather is the head of the law enforcement and is reputed to be the man who can’t die as he has survived three attempts on his life. Then there’s Maude Stapleton who is a quiet wife but whose silence masks secrets that are without a doubt legendary. There’s also the town mayor Harry Pratt who is hiding a personal secret while managing his Mormon faith and all the secrets and history that his family entails due to their name.There’s also Augustus Schultz who yearns for his wife and perhaps will do anything to be with her. There’s also the angel Biqa who perhaps doubts the meaning of life, his existence as a servant to the almighty and the importance of the task he’s been given. There are many more characters however these are the main ones who power the story’s threads and make it reach an epic conclusion. Firstly hats off to the author for writing such a massive story, and let me explain what I mean by “massive”. Its not massive in length but in its scope, combining the birth of the universe and earth, mixing that with mysticism from the orient, Mormon theology, native American legends, western story settings along with Lovecraftian horror elements is no simple task. To make a coherent story by mixing these various elements is a herculean one and to be successful at it is even more lustrous. Lastly to have it as your debut story means that you are heralding yourself as a talent to watch out for.Rod S. Belcher does that emphatically and with some substance, his prose and characterization upends this tale from simply a fantastic idea onto a fantastic story. The characters even though numerous hold their own and each of them alternatively convince the reader of their importance. Each thread feels like it is the most vital one however as soon as the next one begins, one gets drawn into that character’s emotional vortex and thus so forth. I might sound a little too fan-boyish however in some cases it’s justified like last year’s Blood Song and in this case the author’s imagination has to be admired. The storyline begins on a rather slow note and takes a while to pick up its pace as the author introduces each and every character and sets up their plotline.Then there’s the meshwork of plotlines and character arcs as each continue to spin on their own and in the latter half start becoming synchronized to come together in a confusing and addictive mosaic that the writers of Lost often aspired to but ultimately failed. The storyline is huge and simply epic because of the all the elements involved and the reader will learn how it all comes together and hopefully be enthralled by the author’s ingenuity. Another thing that I would like to highlight is the fact that author doesn’t whitewash the world with modern sensibilities. It’s set after the events of the US civil war and is set in a small Nevada town and the characters behave as we have read in the histories, they are bigoted. Xenophobic, chauvinistic and all other things that was common in those times. The hatred and disparity between whites, and the Chinese or Native Americans is amply presented without any reservations and this move was a good one by the author to make the tale seem authentic.The only point that I would say went against the story’s awesomeness is its slow pace throughout the first half of the story as the author lays out all the parts and develops the character plots. This might be a tad confusing for many readers as each chapter rings us a new person with newer predicaments. I would ask readers to persevere as the tale amply pays off in the second half. An apt comparison might be the POV structure of ASOIAF novels by George R. R. Martin, and by that I mean the number of POV characters and complexity of the story. The author has leagues to go before he reaches GRRM’s skills in prose, plotting and characterization however seeing the start I’m very much pleased and will have colossal expectations from next time onwards.Six Gun Tarot might be an odd sounding name and may seem to be an odd story however it is a gem frankly. An amalgamated gem that manages to blow expectations and showcase amazing skills on the author’s part, and making itself a strong contender for my year-end lists. Very very recommend for those who like epic fantasy, weird fiction, western historicals or basically an amalgamation of all these with a few more twists and turns to make this debut special indeed.

  • Felicia
    2019-05-24 15:47

    Ok I read this a while ago, and this isn't the kind of book that's easily summarized far away from reading, but I know that I enjoyed it, so that's good enough for a review. It's a fantastical mystery, if you've read Tim Powers then this is RIGHT up your alley. A strange town, lots of points of views, folklore and big bad evil people. A bit of George RR Martin with all the different characters and brutal death scenes, but really engrossing. Definitely one to read slowly, but if you love complex, fantastical worlds, this is very intriguing!

  • Experiment BL626
    2019-06-19 17:28

    I picked this book up thinking it was an urban fantasy in the Wild West, and what I read wasn’t far off from that impression. It’s a small town fantasy; not a big difference. Where I went wrong was thinking it would be exciting. It wasn’t — at all. The book was goddamn awful. It was so awful it took me 2-3 months to finish, speaking as a reader who in a motivated mood can finish 2-3 novels in a single day.One chapter in and I already knew this book wasn’t going to be rated more than 2 stars. Two chapters in and I started to feel the urge to DNF. Three chapters, skim, I chanted to myself, skim in the way a woman giving birth chants to herself to push. To say the beginning was slow is an understatement; the beginning was DAMN FUCKING slow.+ the plotThe ENTIRE BOOK was DAMN FUCKING slow because the flashbacks would not desist. The plot kept flashbacking all the way up to the middle of the fucking climax! The climax, I say! Every time the plot felt the whim to explain, it did so in flashbacks. Like buy 1 flashback, get 2 flashbacks free! And these were NOT short flashbacks. I get the point was to show, not tell, but this was showing beyond ridiculous. (Funny enough, I later read a book that was all tell and no show.) I swear, one-half to two-third of the book was flashbacks.The multiple viewpoints exacerbated the problem. There were way too many of them as if it couldn’t be decided who were the main characters and who were the supporting characters; everyone needed their own fucking flashback. Let me tell you who the main characters were: runaway Jim, Deputy Mutt, housewife/assassin Maude, and Mayor Pratt. Everyone else needed to back off from the motherfucking stage, especially the angel dudes.+ the charactersEvery. single. character came with a goddamn sob story and a gold-pan full of secrets. “Look at me! Look at me! I have layers. I am complex.” The book wasn’t as pretentious as it just tried too hard. It was done in the belief that only characters with baggage are interesting and worth analyzing for literary value, e.g. Maude with feminism and domestic violence (domestic violence doesn’t discriminate against kickass immortal woman) or Pratt with religion and homosexuality (Mormon and gay, enough said). Characters couldn’t just be characters; they existed only for points to be made or things to be analyzed. Message heard loud and clear and bluntly smashed to the head for good measure.Ironically, most of the characters were developed in a superficial manner and with self-defeated purpose. For example, Ch’eng, as a Chinese immigrant, lent the book more diversity and showed racism in a thought-provoking way that wasn’t your usual “white people back then were racists.” He was a Chinese mafia boss of the small town and he showed the reader racism on the Chinese side and how racism played a big role in survival on the American frontier, but in a respectful way that didn’t diminish the racism of the white characters and make it into a “but they did it too” whine. It was too damn bad that he got pigeonholed as the Magical Asian to dispense esoteric wisdom to ignorant white people, or in this case, to a white kid (Jim) like in The Karate Kid (the 1984 version). Bzzzzzz, subversion fail. And Ch’eng was only a supporting character. The main characters were greatly more problematic (this review goes in-depth about it).Anyway, no surprise for me to say I did not connect with any of the characters and cared very little whether they lived or died. If anything, I wished more would die so there would be one less viewpoint I was forced to read, excuse me, skim through. The only character I had a handful of sympathy for was Jim because he was only an ordinary kid stuck in shitty situation forced upon by irresponsible adults. All right, and because Jim was the first character introduced and thus taking all the servings of my sympathy pie.+ the world buildingNot a big complaint in comparison to what has already been complained about, but it’s worth the discussion. I didn’t mind that the world building was Christian-oriented in the way TV show Supernatural or Sleepy Hollow is Christian-oriented. I was, however, disappointed that non-Christian religions were made subordinate to the Christian belief, token in their references, and that all of it comes back to the almighty G. Well, at least the book challenged the idea of blind faith.ConclusionI rate The Six-Gun Tarot 1-star for I didn’t like it. The book was ambitious, I can tell you that. It aimed for the moon; however, it missed and hit the fiery fatal sun instead. It was a total DISASTER and read like an unedited, overwritten self-published work.The ending sucked. It was dreary and it unnecessarily left some things up in the air. It’s like there was a rule in the book that the characters could not simply be happy that they were still alive or have a fresh start. It’s like... what was the point of stopping the apocalypse? How pointless.Please note that the book is shelved as steampunk on Goodreads, but there’s nothing that is steampunk or even steampunkish in this book.

  • Rinn
    2019-06-05 12:47

    I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Also posted on my blog, Rinn Reads.I can’t say that I have read many, if any Westerns. And I definitely haven’t ever read a supernatural/paranormal themed Western novel. The Six Gun Tarot was a new and unique experience for me, and definitely one I would happily repeat. Golgotha initially seems like a small, typical mid-Western town of the late 19th century, but soon it is clear that it is a magnet for all that is unusual.The main character, Jim, ends up in Golgotha after trekking through the 40-Mile Desert, fleeing a crime he committed and perhaps others. The sheriff is a man who has evaded death countless times, his deputy seems to have an affinity with coyotes, the mayor hides ancient treasures and a respected lady of the town is not quite who she seems. The Six Gun Tarot has a wide range of interesting and diverse characters, each of whom have some kind of secret. Jim, whilst shown as the main protagonist, is often put aside in favour of the other denizens of Golgotha, and this is not a bad thing in the slightest. I have to say that my favourite character was definitely Maude Stapleton, a respected lady of Golgotha who is trained in the art of assassination. Belcher really focuses on the back story of each major character, bringing them all vividly to life.The evil blight that overtakes the town reminded me a little of something from Leviathan Wakes, and the origins all tie in nicely with the religious beliefs of that particular period and location. However, the religious elements are not overpowering and do not feel at all ‘preachy’ – this was important to me, as someone who would find that a complete turnoff. It felt like, whilst this was happening to Golgotha now, it was not the first time something out of the ordinary had taken place in the town. Additionally, the author also recognised social issues that would have taken place in that era, such as sexism and many of the inhabitants’ prejudice against Mutt, a Native American character.I’m so glad I finally got round to checking out The Six Gun Tarot – several months after it was chosen as my book group’s Book of the Month! I will definitely be looking out for the next book in the series, and may have to delve further into this newly discovered, rather niche genre.

  • Katy
    2019-06-11 14:53

    Book Info: Genre: Weird WesternReading Level: Adult (although one of the main characters, Jim, is 15 and his coming-of-age is part of the story, I still think it's more of an adult story)Recommended for: Fans of Lovecraftian literature, Weird Westerns, urban FantasyTrigger Warnings: murder, domestic violence against wife and daughter, slavery (during the part set prior to the civil war)Animals Injured: Horse injures leg badly, had to push on through desert with no water for days (she's okay); two coyotes killed after they attackMy Thoughts: While at DragonCon 2013, I spent a good bit of time in the dealers' rooms looking at books and talking to authors. One of the books I noticed was The Six-Gun Tarot, a steampunk-influenced Weird Western with strong Lovecraftian ties. As it turned out, the author—R.S. Belcher—was there at the time and took a few moments to talk to me about the book. While I didn't buy a copy right then (as I've been spending profligately enough and my bag was full to bursting), I did note it and put it onto my wishlist as soon as I came home that night. Finally I picked it up this winter with some of the many gift certificates various friends sent me to help cheer me up after my cancer diagnosis.Some of the imagery in this is pretty amazing (especially the Lovecraftian bits), like this rant from a madman: “You don't know what they do up there on that mountain, do you, Sheriff? It's tossing and turning. It eats the heart of the world, like a worm burrowing an apple! Maybe the preacher's right and my faith is just shivering, weak—is it wrong for me to try to keep them from hollowing me out from inside? I should just blow all of you stupid bastards back to Kingdom Come, while it's still there! Before they burn down Heaven and feast on the corpse. Maybe we should all die now, better that way!” Then we have Gran Bonny, whose ideas are blasphemous and often extremely funny, like this one: “Guns are like men—only useful for a little while. They can go off at a moment's notice when you don't want them to and they make a lot of damn fool noise doing it.” The blasphemous part comes here: “The tyrant-father of Heaven, the one who created, hated and drove out the first woman, yoked men with a horrible curse, far worse than any imagined to have been handed down to Eve. Men were told they were masters of this world, of their mates, of the beasts and fish, of the land and sea and sky. How ridiculous! That's like telling a little boy he's in charge of the house when his da is gone. It's silly!"And like that little boy, men have tried to live up to the unreasonable demands of their mute, wayward, celestial father. They have enslaved and dominated, conquered and killed, all in the name of shepherding, of protecting, of ruling the world. They spend their lives trying to do what they think is right, what their father on high would want of them. The bastard.” I really like the use of Lilith in the history of this world, and the idea of the Load. I wish we had spent more time with Gran Bonny, heard more of her stories. That would actually be a pretty cool spin-off series—give us Gran Bonny's life story! But I digress...As I said, I really liked how Lilith is presented in this book, and the handing down of Her secret purpose (the Load) over the generations as protectors of the Earth and the Mother. “I am the Mother's blade, the Mother's wrath... You have poisoned her, raped her and her children. Left her to die. Now you will suffer, you will die.” Really hardcore stuff, you know?This is set in Nevada shortly after the Civil War. There is (of course) a lot of strife with the Native American peoples, and the Mormon/Latter Day Saints were a fairly new religion. Most of the more wealthy people who live in Golgotha in the book are Mormons, and I was startled by how much and how often most of the ones we spend any time with in the story drank. The only character who paid any respect to the rules was Sarah, who offered Harry coffee, even though it was a sin. My understanding is that Mormons are not supposed to drink alcohol or caffeine, or smoke, or otherwise pollute their bodies with drugs of any kind. That doesn't necessarily mean that is what happens, of course, but a lot of the drinking was being done by fairly high-ranking and prominent individuals and it surprised me that they didn't at least try to hide it. While this is the first book in the series, events from the past are frequently referred to (and I hope someday the author will write some of these prequels). It is also obvious that people who live in Golgotha are aware of the weirdness and danger in the area, especially the sheriff. Check out his armory: “He [Jon] cleaned and oiled the collection of rifles, scatterguns and pistols that were caged in iron bars behind his desk. He also made sure the other objects locked in the gun cage—wooden stakes, silver bullets, various Indian and Chinese charms and amulets, a crucifix and several vials of holy water, blessed by the Holy Father himself all the way from Rome—were all in equally good condition. As you can see, Jon is ready for just about anything the town can throw at him, and I for one would love to know some of the stories of how and why. For those readers who are familiar with the tarot, each chapter heading is a card's name, and either refers to a person or event in that chapter. I think it would be cool if a tarot deck was created to match this universe. As it is, those familiar with the cards and their meanings can have some fun by working out how the specific card applies to any given chapter.Fans of Lovecraftian stories, Weird Westerns, and urban fantasies should enjoy this book. I really enjoyed reading it; it held me engrossed right to the end, and I highly recommend it to anyone who might be interested.Series Information: Golgotha SeriesBook 1: The Six-Gun TarotBook 2: The Shotgun Arcana, expected publication October 7, 2014 by TorDisclosure: I bought this book for myself after seeing it and talking to the author about it at DragonCon last fall. All opinions are my own.Synopsis: Buffy meets Deadwood in a dark, wildly imaginative historical fantasyNevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn… and so will all of Creation.

  • Elisabeth
    2019-06-12 13:36

    Revolver Tarot beginnt, wie ein Western-Jugendbuch, zeigt aber sehr bald, dass es viel mehr als nur ein Gesicht hat: Der wilde Genre-Mix aus Western, Steampunk, Fantasy und Horror lebt von seinen zahlreichen Handlungssträngen und diversen Charakteren, die alles sind, nur keine Stereotypen. Im Mittelteil war ich etwas überwältigt von der Masse an Handlung und kam an manch einer Stelle nicht allzu schnell durch das Buch, doch irgendwann findet man einen wunderbaren roten Faden darin und ab diesem Punkt konnte ich das Buch einfach nicht mehr aus der Hand legen. Der Autor wagt hier einen Ausbruch aus dem Mainstream, der mich schlussendlich sehr begeistern konnte und mit erfrischender Andersartigkeit glänzt - besonders im Young-Adult- und Erwachsenenfantasybereich. Eine sehr runde Sache, der ich trotz des kleinen Hängers im Mittelteil sehr gern 4,5 Sterne gebe und die ich insbesondere Fantasy- und Thrillerfans, die Abwechslung suchen, sehr ans Herz legen kann.

  • Paul Nelson
    2019-05-25 11:52

    This last 12 months I've concentrated mainly on the horror genre and as a result almost stumbled across an affinity for the western, initially starting with Tim Curran but there’s some fantastic stuff out there bred by some far from balanced imaginations.Six Gun Tarot attempts an awful lot in this début novel, it’s an enjoyable read but the author may just have crammed too much into the story, there’s some fantastic characters, too many really and as he adds depth to them all, the pace of the story suffers a little. There’s just too many POV characters, I can think of 8 of the top of my head and there could be a couple of others I've forgotten, it all deflects the momentum slightly from an otherwise promising story. Set in 1869 in the town of Golgotha, the western town storyline entwines with a battle of God’s warriors against an evil barely contained and eventually chained beneath the earth, desperate to break free.The story starts with Jim Negrey, a young man with secrets, to be honest every character in this book has a barrel load of secrets but Jim is struggling across the 40mile desert, or hell’s foyer, when his lucks runs out, both he and his horse collapsed, waiting for the end. When he’s rescued by the Indian deputy of Golgotha, a man named Mutt. Mutt is drawn by something powerful, something that Jim holds dear and unbeknownst to them both, a deadly battle is heading their way.A religious sect led by the mysterious reverend Ambrose and his deadly deacon, Phillips, have re-opened the silver mine and are digging beneath Argent Mountain with renewed vigour, proclaiming all glory to the Greate Olde Wurm and it seems they have a purpose, a catastrophic purpose.It then pretty much boils down to the various heroes hiding in Golgotha, of which it turns out there’s quite a few, to fight a horde of zombie like infected townsfolk and something evil and powerful beyond comprehension.That’s the bare bones of it, there’s a lot more going on and a lot more characters including a Sherriff that it seems is impossible to kill and a female assassin type with the blood of Lilith. There’s also some intriguing supernatural elements that definitely add to the reading experience.Overall this debut novel shows a lot of promise and I would certainly read the follow up to see if the promise translates into something even better, which I've got a feeling could well be the case and I did enjoy this despite some flaws.A 3.5 rating rounded up,

  • Beth
    2019-06-11 13:56

    Forty miles in the middle of nowhere, there is a town called Golgotha. It sits in the middle of the desert. Silver mines once made this town thrive but now it is a collection of very unique residents. A boy with a magical eye, a man that can shift into a coyote, a mother and wife that is secretly a trained assassin, a shop keeper with a reanimated wife...Golgotha is quite distinctive.Even in this unusual town even stranger things are happening. People are going missing, an ancient evil is coming and only the residents of Golgotha may be able to save the world and their small town.The Six-Gun Tarot is a highly complex and intricate plot. This was not an easy read, my mind was constantly trying to figure out where this is all going and is it possible to get any more bizarre. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in a mind blowing kind of way. It is just so beyond what you conceive as the norm it sucked me right in. Many different spiritual, cultural and religious beliefs are turned, twisted, convoluted and then woven into the fundamental fabric of this storyline. I couldn’t help but think The Six-Gun Tarot is the closest book I ever found to DUNE by Frank Herbert. This is a stimulating, mind boggling plot packed with fascinating and atypical characters that merge into a cohesive accounting in the end... 5 StarsThis ARC copy of The Six-Gun Tarot was given to me by Netgalley and Tor/Forge-Tor Books in exchange for an honest review. Published Date January 22, 2013.

  • Jason
    2019-06-10 15:47

    4.5 Stars The Six Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher is an awesome piece of new weird fiction. This book is one part western, another part horror, a smidgen of horror and fantasy, and a whole lot of fun. This is a dark fantasy like story that has a great deal of religious undertones at it's center. Of course no book like this today would not also be about the Apocalypse. The combination of an alternative western frontier thrown into the mix gives the story a great of interest and originality.I loved this book even though it has some ups and downs with pacing. It really crosses many boundaries..."“His future is built on the bones of the past. His Heaven is being constructed from the husks of those dead things—you know that, don’t you? Our homes are the corpses of those things in the Darkness. His precious Earth is being built of the same cadaverous matter as well.“His will is not infallible, His dominion not absolute. He didn’t create them, did He?""The writing is fun and detailed..."“She looked at his offered gun, frowning. “Guns are like men—only useful for a little while. They can go off at a moment’s notice when you don’t want them to and they make a lot of foolish noise doing it. They tend to fail on you when you need them most. I do not rely on them,” she said.”"A great start to a series that left me wanting to move on to the next book. Great stuff.

  • Mpauli
    2019-06-06 18:42

    Review to follow

  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    2019-06-01 13:43

    I have not read such absurd senseless demented twaddle in some time.'Six Gun Tarot' by R. S. Belcher has a literary tone and a veneer of scholarly metaphysical research, but don't be fooled - (view spoiler)[underneath a lunatic politically-correct apocalypse which involves (hide spoiler)] a simplified politically-correct unification of all world beliefs into one face of god and one face of evil becomes a ridiculous and contrived irrational novel which fits together as chaotically as if one tried to put together one picture from ten different puzzles. The reader will not be too disappointed, I hope, that while the chapters and book title have tarot card names, the story itself never once brings in a single word regarding the art and lore of Tarot magic whatsoever. I think the people involved in this book wanted to somehow bring in every abridged metaphysical Hollywood horror myth Americans enjoy, even if they couldn't figure out where to paste it in appropriately. (view spoiler)[A war to prevent the release of the Evil Void god is fought by a small group of anointed, 19th-century Wyoming American immigrants living in an American West town called Golgotha, with people of varying Christian faiths (a Native American shapeshifter and a Lilith assassin are included to placate modern sensitivities). Each has a set of god-given powers, although they are not gods. Each has fallen away somewhat from whatever faith they have, but never mind. They are the brave avengers of the universe, despite their rusty religious faiths corroded from disuse. His Evil Holeyness has been chained up in a mineshaft near Golgotha, making the town a frontline of defense. Some of the characters:Maude Stapleton, immortal Lilith assassin, married to worthless gambling addict Arthur, the banker, who beats her. She adores him, even as she sighs over the ever-increasing collection of scars on her body that he is putting there.Mutt, a morose coyote shapeshifter, who dogs the citizens of Golgotha as the sheriff's deputy.Auggie Schultz, shopkeeper, keeps his wife's living head in a jar. She died, but he can't let her go.Malachi Bick, rich saloon owner among other things, watches over the mine.Clay Turlough, taxidermist, who likes to see things die and then keep them around to look at.Che'ng Huang, head of the Chinese district and expert in magic.Harry Pratt, mayor, Mormon, and married to Holly and Sarah, but he is in love with James Ringo, piano player.Jon Highfather, the sheriff, who keeps getting killed but somehow he always recovers.Oscar Deerfield and Jacob Moore, new owners of the mine, stolen from Bick by Arthur, who sold it to pay off gambling debts.Reverend Ambrose Ashton Smith and Philips, advisor to Deerfield and Moore, and occasional evil servants of the Evil Void.Holly becomes the Whore of Babylon after she gets bored with being Harry's wife and she is lured by the newcomer Phillips into a french kiss.Finally, there is 15-year-old Jim Negrey, who carries around his father's glass eye as it flashes and vibrates, which he ignores. He becomes a town deputy and inadvertent attraction to beings of magic, who can't ignore the eye. They are surrounded by various international (and inter-universe) angels of gods, but these angels are unable to help fight the apocalypse because of rules which they can't explain. No one wants the Evil Void to wake up, except the Reverend and Phillips, but apparently only humans with souls can battle the enslaved zombies (yes, zombies) of the Evil Void.I have many questions. Many many many questions...It is not explained why God (yes, primarily the Christian ritual God, despite the almost-but-not-quite-invited semi-inclusion of all those other gods from China, Japan, India and aboriginal people, who are implied as somehow connected and really only the one God) decided to make a planet (Earth) and chain the immortal Evil One in a mineshaft well. Why not trap It in a sun? Why not toss It into a black hole? God is apparently a slow, dimwitted unimaginative cowardly dope, despite having the instruments of violent quantum matter at his command, having invented them as well. His Majesty Evil Void was captured in an unmentionable mysterious backstory, and He is now sleeping in a deep well. He can and will destroy the universe instantly upon waking and being unchained. Worm soup is dripped into people's mouths who then become killer zombie humans leaking black oil, and the Reverend sends them to attack the rest of the people in town. They cause mayhem and empty the town of normal people. The new zombies feed the awakening bad God. Evil Void wants brains. Braaiiinnss....According to information that is revealed by the useless angel guardian of Earth, Malachi Bick, appointed by the Christian God to keep watch over Evil Void chained up in the mine, good God may have gone on vacation (I'm serious!). He and Huang also explain that human belief created and keeps alive all of the gods.OK. Did you spot the circular logic in this creation myth of Belcher's - God made the humans, then humans made God?The author does not seem to realize what this particular point actually leads to:What happens if an atheist shows up, like me?The pièce de résistance for me (ROTF) is the implied logic atheism will wipe out all of these meddlesome gods - including the Evil Void - an obvious conclusion the author either does not notice or it was a hidden joke. (hide spoiler)]Frankly, dear reader, I can't recommend this book. Besides being total twaddle, it is idiotic, brainless, obtuse, irrational, nonsensical, half-witted, unintelligent, stupid, silly, ridiculous, fatuous, senseless, ludicrous, daft, farcical, risible, preposterous, unbelievable, insane, moronic, nutty, loony, dotty, hare-brained, screwy, whacky, cuckoo, crazy, illogical, puerile, addle-pated, cretinous, barmy, crack-brained, sophomoric, bird-brained, flaky, gaga, kooky, bonkers, inconsistent, grotesque, derisory, improbable, implausible, paradoxical, batty, buffoonish, loco, poppycock and pure crapulous hokum.What I don't think it is, is a satire. Unfortunately.

  • ᴥ Irena ᴥ
    2019-06-20 14:39

    The story has a few things that I am not really a fan of, such as third person retrospective narrative to tell us what happened to a character. Not all of them tell their story using that device though. The sheriff is still a mystery to me, even if he revealed part of his life to another. Still, as much as I didn't like that particular way of telling a story, it worked well here, but I had to read the whole book to see it. While I was reading, it was occasionally annoying to have the main story interrupted like that. Jim, a thirteen year old is on the run from the law. He is trying to get as far away from his home as he could. His plan, as we find out, is to get to 'Virginia City and the mythical job with the railroad.' Instead, he ends up in a place a lot weirder than anything he could dream of. Golgotha is a special special place.'Why is Golgotha the town where the owls speak and the stones moan? Why is this the town that attracts monsters and saints, both mortal and preternatural? Why is our schoolhouse haunted? Why did Old Lady Bellamy wear the skins of corpses on the new moon? How did old Odd Tom's dolls come toe life and kill people? Why do you still pour a ring of salt around that unmarked grave and how did this little ditch of a town become the final resting place of some of Heaven's treasures?' This best depicts how special Golgotha is. In the course of the story you find out what exactly Jim had done back home, you get to see snippets of Golgotha's residents' lives, their loses, their fears and their hopes. There are no boring characters in Golgotha. The introduction of a small group of major characters is really slow. You don't realize they are the most important people until later. The author took his time to introduce us to Maude, a woman whose life turned out to be something her strong grandmother had never expected. It would take the end of the world as we know it for her to remember herself. Two of my favourites, the sheriff and his deputy Mutt (a coyote shifter), never disappointed. I wish there were more of them in the story. "This is ridiculous! Is everyone with a badge in this dammed town crazy?" "It helps," Highfather said. There are a lot of Mormons in the town, the Mayor being one of them. At first I was afraid this story would become some kind of Mormon story, but fortunately I was wrong. They and their faith do play a role, but it isn't more important than faith of others in Golgotha. If I had to choose just one character to feel sorry for, it would have to be the mayor. Considering the place and time it is understandable that faith is one of the most important things in the story. Other, uglier things are part of it too - the blatant racism (Mutt gets a lot of that), homophobia (well incorporated into the story) and misogyny (Maude's part of the story). I spent a lot of time being angry and waiting for some of the characters to die. All this made this story pretty real even with paranormal and horror elements. Even if it was annoying and hard to read parts of it, the story is great. If you don't like weird stories that have a touch of Lovecraft combined with various religious mythos, then you might not like this.

  • Hybrid Creature (devours books instead of brains)
    2019-05-28 18:57

    There are layers to a cake and then there is this handcrafted, masterful art of a seven-layer cake called The Six-Gun Tarot. An orgasmic, literary cake. I stuffed my face with it and I regret nothing. In fact, I think that I will force feed it to everyone I know.This cake is not a lie. It takes a special talent to genre blend. When talking to my boss about this book and its many genres, he commented that it sounded too messy. That is not the case here. R.S. Belcher is a sorcerer. Everything flows together so well that sometimes you have to sit back and think about what you read. For example: I just read an exquisite horror paragraph followed by an epic old fashioned western brawl and it was brilliant. Fantasy, historical fiction, murder mystery, steampunk, mythology, paranormal, horror, and western. Fucking name it, it's probably in there. Jim is a fifteen year old boy trying to find his way through the desert, on his little mustang Promise, running from his past. He ends up where all the people hiding from their troubles end up, Golgotha. Once a booming mining town, it is now mostly filled with Mormons, chinese workers, and poor people in slums that used to work in the mines. He is immediately accepted by an Injun deputy and the town sheriff who just doesn't die. But as soon as he arrives strange things begin happening in Golgotha. Stranger than the usual (mysterious rat people). An ancient evil is struggling to free itself from the chains that tie it to the earth below this small, strange town. Jim can help or he can run back to the desert. There are multiple POVs and each one is great. I can't pick a favorite. Each adds so much depth to the story (layers, so many fucking layers!) Read it. If you don't love it, we'll have a good ol' fashioned gunslinger face off to determine the winner. (I'll win.)

  • J.M.
    2019-06-11 11:49

    Right up my friggin' alley. I LOVE Weird Westerns (I am co-author of Dead West Omnibus One, after all), and Belcher just crushed it with The Six-Gun Tarot. I'm headed straight into the next book in the series, The Shotgun Arcana. Why not join me?

  • Nathan
    2019-06-10 11:47

    Fantasy Review Barn“It’s been proven by all the sciences, m’boy-biolgoy, alienism, phrenology.”Westerns and fantasy work surprising well together I am finding. ‘Territory’ by Emma Bull, ‘Half-Made World’ by Felix Gilman, even ‘Red Country’ by Abercrombie are all solid tales with a western vibe. Add ‘The Six-Gun Tarot’ to that list.Golgotha, Nevada is a strange little cattle town whose inhabitants do their best to live normal lives. Sure they have a sheriff who may be immortal or already dead. There may or may not have been a run of rats that went on two legs a few years back. And no one really talks about the run of critters around town whom had all their blood drained overnight. But despite that, they live normal lives.Into this town comes Jim, on the run from Kentucky, rescued from the 40-mile desert by Mutt, the town’s deputy. Almost immediately things start happening, again. A raving man in the general store is only the start of a crazy turn for the town, a showdown of a battle that has been waged since the beginning of time. Enter a crazed preacher, a bar owner who is way more than he seems, a direct descendent of Lilith, and a Cthulhu like creature.A lot of debate over what to classify this book is already threatening to take over conversations. Western fantasy works for me, though there are some steampunk and horror elements. There is a lot going on in this book. In the big picture, there is a mostly Christian mythos mixed with other religious beliefs (like many in fantasy, belief lends itself to reality in this world). A battle that started with the phrase “let there be light,” and it leads a different view to the fall of Lucifer as well. But the book really shines in the smaller picture, remembering the importance of the town people’s relationships, and never letting the larger story overtake that. The biggest issue I had with this book was the handling of the first character we meet, Jim. Most of his story was entertaining and worked well. But his part to play in the final showdown was the most unexplainable. Through an artifact of his fathers he had some major power, but the earlier limits on that power just went away in the showdown. The book also left the Chinese in town completely underdeveloped. Some credit for not ignoring a large immigrant population in this work based on actual history, but there is no sense that he ever knew how to tie them into this story. The connection Jim has with them through his late-father’s artifact is dubious, at least to me. A couple real minor problems; a few chapters jumped between characters thoughts in confusing ways, and it is strange the way everyone in town came up with the same name for people with a specific ailment so quickly and independently of each other.A few things that could bug some readers, but worked well for me. Almost every character had something supernatural about them, in a land where magic isn’t an everyday thing. This didn’t bother me much though, as Golgotha was obviously a town that would draw power like this. Maude is set up to be unbelievably powerful, but it wasn’t ever really a problem because the author didn’t abuse it. A lot of flashbacks are present, some not completely relevant to the main story, but most showed insight into one of the many characters.There were very few ‘real world’ references outside of the now over civil war and a passing reference to the Ghost Dance movement. I was forced to look something up when a line rang false, but learned that while most Mormon temples don’t have crosses on them, a small number did. So the author’s was right on this one, and no gotcha moment was to be had (damn, love gotchas).The story was great, entertaining throughout. The characters were realistic, a very diverse cast with some amazing relationships between them. The town felt alive and real. I love the visuals of the mythology, from Christian Angels to the Coyote spirit (though it, like the Chinese part in the story, was seriously underdeveloped). There was a strong conclusion (minus Jim’s part in it), but there is enough left to this town that a sequel seems like a real possibility. 4 stars. I have no problems recommending this book to almost anyone.

  • Kathy (Kindle-aholic)
    2019-05-22 13:32

    3.5-3.75Another book where I sit here trying to categorize it, think who would be most interested in reading it, and how to describe it without veering off into spoiler land. It is a Western with fantasy elements. I really like the blend of Western and Fantasy, so I've been looking forward to this one for awhile.Very interesting mix of mythologies and apocalyptic prophecies. We have angels, Lucifer (in a minor role), Coyote's son, a man who cannot die, a boy with a magical artifact, a priestess of Lilith, Chinese legends, Mormon legends all mixed together in the happy little town of Golgotha.Considering Golgotha is pretty much synonymous with suffering and sacrifice, "happy" is relative.The town is home to miners, a notorious saloon and mine owner, many Mormon families, and a very interesting team with the sheriff and his main deputy. Most of the characters are trapped in the societal cage they built for themselves, or at least helped to build. You have the priestess in a loveless, abusive marriage, the Mormon leader who hides his homosexuality behind his 3 wives, the Native American deputy who has been cast out by his tribe and the white world. This isn't a story about how they all rose above the constraints of society and fight to live freely. No, these characters fight even though they will still largely be in exactly the same place. Except it's the apocalypse, so failing means good night Irene. There is some rape symbolism as the evil infects some of the townspeople. It was disturbing and horrific, as it is meant to be. I would say that what is going to happen is telegraphed quite a ways off, so if those scenes are too much for you, you can skip ahead without missing anything.If you are good with the idea that belief itself is a power, more than the power being one particular belief, you might like this. Good for those who like their myths being mucked with. You know I do like it when things get mucked around.There were A LOT of different POVs. Lots of flashbacks. While I liked some of the background info, it also got to be a bit much. Even though I was "shown" what happened in the past, given that it took away from the main story timeline, it felt off. I was itching to get back into the main story, and the asides made me think - Ooh, I'd like to hear more about that...but then you don't, because it is just a memory of what happened. A good chunk of the book is like this. I also feel like there was more promise of ass-kicking than what was delivered. There was one character in particular that I wanted to see light a fire under some villain butt, but I didn't get it. There is action, but I wanted a little more.Sometimes when you are in so many different heads, it can be difficult to get into the characters. I did like most of them. They were down-to-earth and I did hope that many of them would survive. There were so many characters though, that I lost track at one point of who was where. I'm not sure if there will be more in this series. It is kind of set up to allow for more, although the main story is done. If there are more, I would hope for a little more "present", a lot less backstory.[received review copy]

  • Shanshad Whelan
    2019-06-17 16:43

    So sometimes you just happen to spot a title and a cover and say "hey--that looks interesting." I hadn't heard a thing about this particular fantasy western. I was a tad skeptical that I'd actually like the darn thing--westerns are not my favorite genre by any means. But I decided to give it a try.Folks, it is hands down the best adult SF/Fantasy work I've read this year. Now, given that it is only January, that's not saying much--but I've read about ten or twelve other novels so far, (and stopped reading a few more) and this is by far my favorite.What this is: the landscape, the time frame and the storytelling style are all pretty consistent with the western genre. But Buffy meets Torchwood is a pretty good description of the kind of thing you're in for--except this an essentially ensemble cast rather than a single hero or heroine. Golgotha, a small but thriving town in Nevada is the Western version of Buffy's Sunnydale: it attracts all sorts of odd people and creatures, and hides a deep dark secret. The story is full of the dark and violent, spirits, angels and gods. But it's also full of heroism, loyalty, love and the power of the human soul.I'd have a tough time calling this 'light reading' in that there's a lot of freaky stuff that happens. But it's a fun read. An entertaining read that doesn't telegraph everything and gives readers characters that are a bit more than single note stereotypes and stand-ins for archetypes. This is R.S. Belcher's debut novel--and I can say in all honest truth I will be looking for more from this author. The writing is strong, accessible and appropriate for the story. Other than a few proofreading slips (I can't help it, former editor here) I remain very happy with the overall writing quality. I couldn't put this down, kept wanting to read it and finish it. While I have several series I've read and eagerly wait for the next installment, reading a stand-alone that has me cheerfully waiting through train delays (because it means I get to read more pages) is an accomplishment.This story won't work for everyone. If you dislike your authors messing with religion and rewriting religious themes, this may get under your skin. If you're not much into horror or western, or the paranormal, sorry--this really won't be your cup of tea. If you're looking for a fun fantasy read in a historical setting that is not paranormal romance, however, this may fit the bill. I hope others continue to discover this, this author deserves some attention for a great first novel.

  • Sophia
    2019-06-11 13:46

    I just finished reading The Six-Gun Tarot, and found the climax enjoyable enough that I considered giving it three stars. However, a dramatic sequence in the end can't erase how frustrating it was reaching that point in the first place, especially considering that I would have stopped reading much earlier in the book if I hadn't been determined to forge my way to the end despite all discomfort.There are plenty of great concepts and characters in this story, but they don't come together to form a cohesive whole. It played keep away with the plot. There were so many characters, and they generally spent their time off in their own little corners, brooding or having flashbacks. Maude has a whole pile of flashbacks related to her past, but it could have been summed up in a paragraph, for all its relevance to the story at hand. There was one character, Auggie, who interacted with none of the more important characters in a significant way, had an entire subplot based around something that had no affect on the main story (besides setting up what looks like a sequel). Some chapters literally took place before the existence of humanity.The flashbacks wouldn't have been so frustrating if there was at least something in between them to keep me satiated on the way to the climax. Unfortunately, characters brooded over their angst repetitively and unproductively, tilting toward the melodramatic. In place of action, there foreshadowing. Jim, at one point, is basically given an invitation to get important information, but never goes to the trouble of actually following up on this chance until the chaos of the climax, when someone else reminds him about it. I got the feeling that this book is supposed to set up a series, which is why all these characters and all this background information was crammed in. Unfortunately, these elements were significant obstacles my enjoyment of The Six-Gun Tarot.

  • Kristen Burns
    2019-06-01 13:54

    The writing was confusing, but I really liked some of the characters. Will probably do a full review soon.

  • colleen the convivial curmudgeon
    2019-06-10 14:39

    2.5This is an interesting Weird West story that sort of reminded me of Supernatural - specifically in the way that it uses Christian mythology as a sort of baseline, but also weaves in aspects of other mythologies, specifically, in this case, Native American and Chinese (which skirts, but mostly manages to avoid, the Ethnic Magician trope, but only by dint of that fact that it seems like most of characters are or have magic to some extent.)The other similarity with SUpernatural, to me, is in specific plotlines used - but, then, since they're both using the same sources, it only makes sense that there'd be crossover.Where the major difference lies, though, is that Supernatural is primarily about the brothers - their relationship with each other (and even so much wangst) - and the various characters that come in and out of the story. In 'Six-Gun' there are so many shifts in perspective, though, that I don't feel like we got to really spend enough time with any of the characters to even discern a clear protagonist. That said, the characters, overall, were interesting - though I was kind of disappointed with Maude. (view spoiler)[On one hand, I sort of guess that it works that she was willing to let the town go to hell and only helped out because of her daughter, what with the whole I am Mother thing, but, on the other hand, the fact that she had this "heritage", this Load, and wasn't going to use it in the battle that it's kind of, sort of meant for certainly didn't endear me towards her. Throughout the story I kept hoping she'd be more proactive...(hide spoiler)]Aside from the characters, the action was a bit herky-jerky, owing in large part, I think, the shifting perspectives. You'd see someone learn a bit of information, for instance, and then it would shift perspectives, and the next time you go back to the first character all this stuff had happened and they're mounting a posse, or something, and you're sitting there thinking "how the hell did we get from a to b?"Also, the timing felt off in some of the shifts. Like, we see the town quiet down at one point, and then, when we shift perspectives, we go back in time some to see the story from another angle... but often times when we shifted perspective we seemed to jump forward in time, so there wasn't really any rhyme or reason to it.And there were some perspectives, specifically (view spoiler)[Auggie, Gillian and Clay (hide spoiler)], whose story, while interesting, also didn't seem entirely relevant and seemed more, based on something which happened towards the end, to set up the next story. This wouldn't be so bad, overall, except I felt like we spent an inordinant amount of time with these folks, so when they weren't really directly involved in *this* story, I felt sort of cheated - and would've rather spent much more time with some other folk, like (view spoiler)[Jim and Highfather and Mutt,(hide spoiler)] especially since the ending of the story felt rather rushed after the slower start. It's like, ok, here's the slow build and the introduction of the characters, and some stuff starts happening, and then here's some more buildup and flashbacks and backstory, and then OMG, HERE'S THE CLIMAX! WTF JUST HAPPENED?!Anyway -The story is interesting, and even kinda cool, but the writing is too unfocused.I'm sort of half-and-half about continuing the series. I think a large part of the problem is that the author *was* starting a series, so he felt like he had to lay all these threads and foundations which will come to play later down the line, and sort of lost track of the some threads that were more important for *this* story.We can hope that now that the series/setting is established, that the author will spend more time being present in the future... but I guess I'll have to read some reviews to really decide one way or the other whether I plan on continuing down the line.(Rating note - I really debated between 2 and 3 stars, but ended up going 2 because of my uncertainty at the end. If I was definitely gonna continue, I'd've bumped up the 3, but since I'm left kind of waffling, I figure it's more a 2.)

  • Athena
    2019-05-23 14:34

    I was reading Six Gun Snow White when I found this title in Goodreads (and what Western fan could resist a title like Six-Gun Tarot!): luckily my library had it on-shelf. Unpaid Advertising: support your local library and give 'em a $1 or $10 out of the goodness of your book-loving heart: it's the easy way to make your community a better place!Returning now to our regularly scheduled review:New author R.S. Belcher provides a readable & interesting tale in the slightly obscure genre of the Weird Western (paranormal fiction in a wild west setting). Although it has a few (slight) issues, overall it's readable and engaging.The setting is Nevada, 1869, in and around the fictional town of Golgotha (literally 'place of the skull'). It starts with 15-year-old Jim Negrey, on the run for murder and fixing to die in a nasty stretch of desert surrounding Golgotha until he's saved by Golgotha's Deputy Sheriff. As the tale unfolds we meet a number of residents, many of whom have a backstory and some who don't. There are some casual, off-hand references to strange events in Golgotha's past (such as an unknown/unexplained grave that needs to be ringed in salt), the Sheriff is largely immune to death and his deputy is the son Coyote The Trickster and a Native woman. And that's just for starters.Six-Gun Tarot has paranormal, supernatural, wild west, mythic (Chinese, biblical, Native American and Mormon) and steampunk elements and Belcher combines them all into what becomes a workable whole. He deftly brings elements to the book not often explored in Westerns and makes them real, movingly so. Christianity, Mormonism, the burden of familial obligation, racism, feminism and homosexuality are all treated with an even and sympathetic hand. Characterization is Belcher's strong suit, closely followed by an obvious penchant for the decidedly weird.Flashbacks tell the backstories of many of the characters and though it was well done it got a bit old and disruptive in the first half, reading 3-5 pages in the present story and then a 3-5 page flashback/explanatory passage. It would've been a stronger book had he integrated more of the flashback passages into the present story narrative; as it was structured it was just too easy for me to put the book aside and go do other things. After getting through the flashback portion though the story really comes to life and the last third of the book provides a satisfactory, "ripping good tale" unputdownable conclusion.A couple of things that were bothersome and fall squarely in the lap of the editor: it's obvious when Belcher doesn't know what he's writing about. He incorrectly uses 'hay' and 'straw' interchangeably which annoyed me no end as they're not the same thing. Darn near nobody, prior to the internal combustion engine, would have confused the two. Fortunately it didn't happen more than once or twice. Another thing that threw me out of the story was using Chinese folklore/myth terms in an odd way. I'm not that familiar with Chinese folklore so this might not be a problem for someone well-versed in the area, or conversely the author/editor don't really understand the terminology they're using, basically Belcher uses terminology that was very confusing at an important plot point.(view spoiler)[ He uses chilong (i.e.,chi long,'hornless dragon', usually associated with air or water) to refer to the novel's Big Bad. It's debatable in context and confused me at an important plot point since I've only encountered chilong in a more benevolent setting. Wang liang ('mountain demon') might've been less confusing and more appropriate since that usually refers to something scary in or under the earth. Because of Chinese writing complexities there are elements of wang liang which can be combined with chi long to imply demonic attributes to the latter, but most chi long stories are about hornless dragons as benevolent or positive. (hide spoiler)]I debated the stars on this but decided that it is a solid 4 - more in this series should be forthcoming and I'll definitely be reading more of Belcher's work.

  • Carlos Emilio
    2019-05-29 14:51

    I cannot use words to describe how cautious I was to approach this novel as it was one of those books I pick up out of mere curiosity without knowing squat about the book or author, I also cannot say how much I conflicted with giving it a three stars review.The book is not bad if you are looking for a light read, if you are looking for a masterpiece that will be cliche-free and have the most mind bending story, you will be horribly dissapointed in picking this book up.The characters are all heroes and those that aren't will be, they try to be different from usual but they try too hard and even them we forgive them because they aren't horrible and they have some interesting back stories. Something that is also worth mentioning is how everything you know about the characters will be revealed in a need to know basis and will be done in flashbacks, so instead of getting a single story, you get a bunch of stories that merge into one.I disagree with some reviews as to the flashbacks to tell you the character backstories being too frustrating, I mean sure they do cut the main plot line but its liek they match the begining of each story with the beginning of the main plot and the climaxes just let you know why this damn individual is so important in whats about to happen.Overall the story unfolds itself rather rapidly if you skim over the back stories, but the pace it keeps thanks to this travels in time, is just right to get that old west feel.

  • Matthew
    2019-06-12 11:49

    Insanely good weird western! Full review to come.

  • KostasAt
    2019-06-09 18:32

    6.5/10In his debut novel ‘The Six-Gun Tarot’ Belcher takes us in the 19th century in Golgotha, a town in the desert lands of Nevada where all kinds of weird things can be found; but also managing to bring an interesting blend of fantasy, supernatural with western, and even a taste of steampunk.Jim is a 15-year-old boy, but when he was forced to do something that he didn’t want he became an outlaw with a price on his head, that changed his life forever, and forced him to leave behind his home and his past. The only things he has left are his horse, Promise, the gun and the mystical Jade Eye, the last thing that his father left him and can see things like no other.But when one day, as he travels through the desert of Nevada in search for a new beginning, he will fall onto Mutt, an Indian and a deputy of Golgotha; and he will come into a town that he never expected. A town which, although with a first glance looks like a normal town, is hiding too its own strange (supernatural or not) secrets, and he will discover that something else is lurking around, causing panic in the city and its people.Jim, as a new member of this society, will try, along with Mutt and Sheriff Highfather, who is said that he can't die, and also the help of his mystical Jade Eye, to solve this mystery before it’s too late. Only, that this path will bring them against something that they never expected and it may even bring the destruction of their city and, perhaps, and of the entire world.I have to say that, even though I'm not really much of a fan of urban fantasy, as I usually prefer books with more medieval settings, which really draw me to this book, was that blend of western with fantasy. But, besides the interesting concept of this book, I was left with some mixed feelings in the end.Belcher uses many characters to tell the story, through many points of view, and also building the ‘world’ of Golgotha. But I felt that the book has, perhaps, more characters that it was actually needed, as I believe that some characters could have certainly been explored more.Of course, besides the length of the book his writing flows satisfyingly enough as, along with the 'world-building' of Golgotha and its past, was something very interesting to see, which, along with the characters, he has managed to handle all these well enough for this, first part.However, personally, I believe that the story could have worked a lot better if it had, perhaps, more fantasy elements instead of the usual angels and demons stuff, as we all have seen that many times over; or even more steampunk.Overall, the book has an interesting blend of genres, and I would say it is worth seeing for anyone who likes western eras, and with Belcher doing a good enough introduction to Golgotha and its secrets, although I believe it could have definitely been a lot better in the end.

  • Ornella (Nyx)
    2019-06-05 11:33

    4.5 StarsThis book was...I don't even know how to describe it. Twisted, dark, but very entertaining. I'm gonna be using a few quotes in this review, cause it's the only way to really describe things in this book.I'll be honest, the first half of the book, I was totally lost. I was just nodding my head thinking 'Yeah, ok..' and just kept reading. After that halfway mark things started to get realllly interesting. Each chapter had the title of a tarot card, and it would be in pov of the person who would if that role in the coming battle. As I have said before, I'm usually not too keen on books that deal with religion, but damn this was done really well. It related to all religions and their beliefs, and how it all came together at the end. "Gods are nothing without people, and depending on what people you ask you will get many different answers to questions about Heaven and Hell, how the universe was made and how it will end. Ask a Chinese, an Indian, a Mormon, a Christian and a Jew. Each will give you a different answer and they are all correct; they all exist and have power, within their proper domains, with their chosen people, and, if they are strong enough, even beyond."Even though it took some time for the plot to really get going, once it did it was a none stop ride. I think what really kept me glued to the pages was how damn twisted and disgusting and just plain wrong the whole thing was. Technically it was really a simple good vs evil battle, but at the same time it was so much more. At the end you realize it wasn't just evil, it was much more than that. Here is an example of what I mean about twisted:"My little sister. She was ten. I strangled her and then read the portents in her entrails. "And that's actually pretty mild compared to some other scenes. But even with all that, there was still humor to be found. I specially liked Mutt, he was honest, to the point and didn't beat around the bush."It doesn't matter, " Phillips hissed. "It's free and --" Mutt opened his throat from ear to ear with the knife. The stuff that gushes out was black and thick as it splashed out onto the silver floor."You don't get to have the last word either," Mutt said. "Ain't that a pisser?"I actually laughed out loud at that. I mean how many scenes are there were the bad guy just has to get that last speech in and just blab about how great he is. I really liked how everyone came together and played out their parts and the explanations for things and how they worked and why. Sadly, I was still left with a couple of unanswered questions, but what the hell I really enjoyed this one. It was a great departure from the norm.*Thank you NetGalley and Tor Books for a copy!*