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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hawthorne by Heath Lowrance...a review

Don't go to Coyote Hill, they'd told him in the last town. They got they-selves some black magic out there. It ain't natural. They's things that hunt out in that desert, demons and what-not. And they don't care none if it's beast or man they kill ...

Heath Lowrance knows how to start a story, doesn’t he? This collection of linked tales centers on the enigmatic Hawthorne, a gray-eyed man on a tall black horse who has been known by other names at other times and places. He is a man who can be touched by innocence, but not by beauty and his path is a lonely one. And a bloody one. Because where Hawthorne goes, death follows.

If your only experience with the “weird western” genre is the movie Cowboys and Aliens, you’re in for a treat. These stories are filled with monsters, both supernatural and human, and after you read the story, “the Spider Tribe,” you will never look at arachnids the same way again. Lowrance braids his stories together out of bits and pieces of western myth—the lone avenger, coyote legends—and ties them off with a modern, blood-soaked sensibility that is tough and taut. When he writes a fight scene, you feel the fist impact the flesh and get the idea that maybe the writer’s been in a fight or two himself. Do yourself a favor and read Hawthorne while you’re waiting for the Dark Tower miniseries to air. Enjoy the underpinnings of the horror and the atmospherics of the land that Hawthorne inhabits. And enjoy being scared to death. When the gray-eyed man with the scarred face shows up, things get weird. 

I interviewed Heath Lowrance four years ago. (I know a good writer when I read one.) You can read that interview here.

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