21 New Stories of the Old West
Edited by Nik Morton
Express Westerns, December 2009
Revenge, retribution, and deceit. Damaged men and sinister night stalkers. Humour, irony, and tears. Bank robberies, showdowns, and lynchings. Tragic doves, plucky homemakers, and gun-toting belles. Birth and death, love and hate…
Dead Man Talking by Derek Rutherford
Billy by Lance Howard
Lonigan Must Die! by Ben Bridges
The Man Who Shot Garfield Delany by I.J. Parnham
Half a Pig by Matthew P. Mayo
Bloodhound by C. Courtney Joyner
More Than Meets the Eye by Gillian F. Taylor
Big Enough by Chuck Tyrell
One Day in Liberty by Jack Giles
Shadows on the Horizon by Bobby Nash
On the Run by Alfred Wallon
The Gimp by Jack Martin
Visitors by Ross Morton
The Nighthawk by Michael D. George
The Pride of the Crocketts by Evan Lewis
Darke Justice by Peter Avarillo
Angelo and the Strongbox by Cody Wells
Crib Girls by Kit Churchill
Man of Iron by Chuck Tyrell
Cash Laramie and the Masked Devil by Edward A. Grainger
Dead Man Walking by Lee Walker
This is the second collection of short stories to be published by Express Westerns, the first being Where Legends Ride, many of the same authors appear here as in the previous book as do a number of new writers, one in particular has to be mentioned: Peter Avarillo, who must be in the running for the youngest ever author to have a western story published. Peter Avarillo being a pseudonym for sixteen-year-old Chantel Foster.
This second anthology contains more stories than the first and in my opinion both books are excellent ways to try the work of authors new to you. This collection contains a wide spread of storylines and themes as indicated by the opening paragraph to this review, tales that will reach all the emotions as there are stories that deal with tragic situations – such as the terrific story from Lance Howard – and those that are more traditional in their theme. There are more light-hearted stories too and one that delves into the supernatural.
Mention must also be made of the story by Matthew P. Mayo, Half a Pig, that was a runner up in the 2010 Western Writers of America Spur Awards in the short fiction category.
Of course we’ll all have our favourites and those that perhaps don’t grab our imaginations as strongly as others, but one thing that can definitely be said about the whole collection is that they are all extremely well written and are a joy to read. With an excellent introduction by James Reasoner this is one anthology you should not miss.