Kill Them All (Dead Man #6) by Harry Shannon; 47North; 2011; $2.99 US
Harry Shannon remains a modern renaissance man in the world of writers. The best bring their life’s experience to flavor his or her writing. A psychologist, songwriter, actor, etc,. Shannon knows characters and how to inject them with life, which can resuscitate even the flattest of stories. Thankfully, the Dead Man series isn’t lifeless but it isn’t Shannon’s world. He makes it his, though.
This time, he delves into the pulpy world of a modern western action, with mystery, and horror, and those walking dead things you might have heard about somewhere. He takes the character Lee Goldberg created in the 7 installment (so far) series and turns it on its head.
Matt Cahill is a man who was frozen solid for three months before being brought back to life. Now that he is back, he notices that some people have something supernatural within them; some have something evil possessing their mind and actions. The evil belongs to Cahill’s nemesis who wants his lifeblood. He is on the hunt for the ever elusive Mr. Dark.
In Kill them All, Cahill rescues a young girl from a deep crevice within as he passes through the small town of Dry Well, Nevada. He is subsequently showered with praise from its denizens, most of them anyway. Beer, a free night at the hotel, and food, possibly women are on the list of gifts offered to him but he just wants to move on, continue his search.
A team of mercenaries, however, are on his trail. Someone wants to study Matt and what has changed within him after his frosty sleep. When the mercenaries find and abduct Cahill, his plans take a fork in the dusty road.
What ensues reads like a sick western set in modern times, replete with the best bells and whistles. Dry Wells is a tourist town, it feels like downtown district of the old Wild West one might find an hour outside of Las Vegas or Phoenix. What makes Shannon’s entry in the series breathe is the characters themselves. He’s of course limited with the lead character but colors the town with people who elevate the tale from the typical horror western.
Like most of Harry Shannon’s accomplishments, this novella entertains and is well worth the ride.
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