My latest novella called The Trickster of Paradise (There is a link to me reading a 5-minute scene at the end of this article) is out now in a collection of three wonderfully weird westerns by myself and my fellow writers and friends Michael Burke and James A. Moore.
You and buy the eBook, paperback, or hardcover version of “West of Hell” at this link: WEST OF HELL
How did I, an uncanny & macabre thriller writer, end up writing a weird western? Well, my friends, tie up your horse and come sit by the campfire, and I’ll tell you a tale from yesteryear.
I grew up in the 70s on Long Island, New York, wearing a red cowboy hat and toting two silver plastic cap gun “six shooters” strapped to my waist. My imaginary horse was called “Toby,” and he and I went on the most insane adventures a young boy could think up. This was before “Creature Double Feature,” “The Twilight Zone,” and “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” changed my life.
My dad—may he rest in peace—was a western fan all his life. From the books of Zane Grey to those of Louis L’Amour and the movies of Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, my dad loved them all.
I remember watching those old movies on WPIX channel 11 in New York. I also loved “The Rifleman” (and always thought I would make a better son to Chuck Connor’s Lucas McCann rather than actor Johnny Crawford). I would wait eagerly for “The Wild, Wild West” to come on (and as an adult, I’ve decided never to discuss the cinematic remake starring Will Smith).
I guess what I’m trying to say is that before the darker speculative fiction that became my passion in my teen years and beyond, westerns were the first stories that tickled my imagination. The sense of adventure. The peril of living “on the frontier.” The simple morality tales at the end of each episode of “Gunsmoke.”
And the singing of Gene Autry.
Westerns were my childhood; so it was only natural that as an adult speculative fiction writer, I would create a weird western story that would combine the supernatural with a “hearty ‘Hi ho Silver, away!’” My novella as a part of “West of Hell” is, in many ways, a tribute to my father as it is a story of revenge and the power of legends, both good and bad.
I hope you enjoy the collection as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you. In the meantime, I’m going to grab my red cowboy hat because Toby and I are riding off into the sunset of our next adventure.
And I would be much obliged if you grabbed yourself a copy of “West of Hell” today!
Here is a 5-minute snippet of me reading from The Trickster of Paradise: