A Review of Ian Rogers’ Deadstock (StoneBunny Press, 2011).
By Derek Newman-Stille
In the Weird West a ghoul’s gotta do what a ghoul’s gotta do and there ain’t nothin’ to stop them… except for a man with a gun that has no bullets and sucks the life from its user and a woman with 52 knives and a cat that rides in her saddlebags. Ian Rogers’ novella Deadstock is a fast-paced read set in a western outpost town with magic, mayhem, and mystic weapons. Like most Wild West narratives, this Weird West tale pits humanity against a forbidding and hostile environment with characters that are just too stubborn to die no matter what dangers they face.
Like many figures from Wild West narratives, Rogers’ story features an old man who refuses to leave his land and feels a need to protect his home no matter how tainted the land is. In this case, he needs to protect his land against more than just the regular natural dangers and unsavory visitors. This land is filled with the undead, mutilated cattle, strange forces, and is permeated with a general vibe of the creepy.
In the desert, nothing really stays buried and this tale deals with the resurfacing of the past, the dead, the forgotten, and that which is best left hidden. Rogers’ chap book deals with family secrets that come out of living in isolation and the secrets of the land that come from living without much human contact with others.