Earlier this week, Matt Manochio was kind enough to stop by and share some thoughts about his new weird western novel, SENTINELS. If you’d like to read that you can find it here. Today, I’m going to talk about the book that inspired him to write the article in the first place.
These are no ordinary killers.
They don’t distinguish between good and evil. They just kill. South Carolina’s a ruthless place after the Civil War. And when Sheriff’s Deputy Noah Chandler finds seven Ku Klux Klansmen and two Northern soldiers massacred along a road, he cannot imagine who would murder these two diametrically opposed forces.
When a surviving Klansman babbles about wraiths, and is later murdered inside a heavily guarded jail cell, Noah realizes something sinister stalks his town. He believes a freed slave who’s trying to protect his farm from a merciless land baron can help unmask the killers. Soon Noah will have to personally confront the things good men must do to protect their loved ones from evil.
If someone were to ask me to summarize SENTINELS, the new weird western by Matt Manochio, in one word, the word would be: fun. It’s a fast paced romp through reconstruction era South Carolina, packed with excitement and chills, and populated with villains that are truly creepy, at least as far as the non human ones go. The human ones are more hilarious than they are scary. I think that was probably Manochio’s intention and, if so he pulled it off admirably. Lyle, Brendan, and Franklin are a group of less than brilliant henchmen under the control of Diggs, a greedy landowner, and the trio had me laughing virtually every time they appeared in a scene.
One of the things I really liked about SENTINELS was Matt’s strong use of dialogue. The character interactions were smooth and natural, yet always served to inform the reader and move the story forward. And his settings were damn near perfect, effectively evoking a feel for the period and sense of time and place within the story.
If I had one nit-pick about the book, it would be that the characters were a tad thin. With the exception of the protagonist, Noah, and to some degree Toby Jenkins, the rest of the characters in the book had very little back story to help shore them up. That said, I didn’t really feel like this did much to detract from the story. SENTINELS is an action packed weird western adventure story designed to engage and entertain and it does so with great success. And, whether it was the author’s intention or not, it’s also got some intrigue and mystery going on to further add to the fun. If you want some pure escapism on a quiet afternoon and you don’t mind a little–okay, maybe a lot–of blood, SENTINELS is exactly what you’re looking for. Manochio is a talented author with a bright future and someone who’s work I will follow with great interest.
You can purchase SENTINELS at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or direct from Samhain and you can follow along with the rest of the SENTINELS publicity tour here: https://hookofabook.wordpress.com/sentinelsmatt-manochio-publicity-page/
About Matt Manochio:
Matt Manochio was born in 1975 in New Jersey and graduated from The University of Delaware in 1997 with a history/journalism degree.
He spent the majority of his 13-year newspaper career at the Daily Record in Morris County, New Jersey, where he won multiple New Jersey Press Association Awards for his reporting. He wrote about one of his passions, rock ‘n’ roll giants AC/DC, for USA Today and considers that the highlight of his journalism career.
He left newspapers in 2011 for safer employment, and currently lives in New Jersey with his son.