It seems like every time I turn around these days, I encounter a book that really rings my bell only to discover that it’s another Necro Publications entry. And that’s okay with me because Necro is publishing some fine dark fiction and is, as far as I’m concerned, one of the best indie publishers in the industry. And the dark, hardcore western that I’m going to talk about today is another example of the outstanding work they’re doing. Robert Dean’s THE RED SEVEN rung my bell so fucking hard it cracked like the Liberty.
THE RED SEVEN is a rocket paced bloody western along the lines of S. Craig Zahler’s WRAITHS OF THE BROKEN LAND, only with less of the complexity. It’s rich in vivid imagery, quirky characterizations, and no holds barred violence and mayhem. I never knew what the word romp really meant until now, but in case you’re wondering, this is it. THE RED SEVEN is brutal and gruesome, with gore aplenty, but it’s also super fun and reads too fast for someone who doesn’t want it to end. And if you’re like me, you won’t want it to end.
The Ghost is a fantastic, fully realized character, larger than life in his all black garb, with guns and knives galore and unyielding tenacity. His backstory is well developed and, in spite of his gruff demeanor and his penchant for shooting first and asking later, you will find yourself unable to do anything but love him. Now, as usual, while reading this story I watched for the thing that ties this all together, that makes the story flow and the whole thing work. And in this case, it’s dialogue. Dean is a master of the spoken word, infusing his character exchanges with action and forward motion, always driving the story along toward what I thought was a brilliant, brutal final conflict between The Ghost and a character named Charley Warchief.
THE RED SEVEN should come with a warning: “Don’t pick this up unless you have some time to spare.” Seriously, you will not want to put this down, so block out some time. This is, to the best of my knowledge, Robert Dean’s first western and it’s a resounding success. I loved this story and will read anything this guy writes. And I think, if you read this book, you’ll feel exactly the same way. The only bad thing about it is that it ended before Dean had written me another one. Follow those links below to get a copy of this outstanding dark western for yourself.
THE RED SEVEN synopsis: Violence, regret, money, malice and death – these are the footnotes of a distorted America.
A bounty hunter draped in black stalks the American landscape looking for seven men. Seven vicious beasts that took his heart and shattered it. Fueled by a depraved hatred and will only beset by revenge, The Ghost searches for the men who murdered his family in cold blood. One by one, he’ll cross their names off their wanted poster and find closure with each crushing bullet.
The Red Seven is the story of a man with nothing to lose, a portrait into a violent mind of a killer of killers who cannot rest until he’s avenged his family.
A Southern Gothic western, The Red Seven is a must read for fans of Cormac McCarthy, Quentin Tarantino, Joe Lansdale and William Burroughs.
About Robert Dean: Robert Dean is a New Orleanian living in Austin exile. You can find his books in bookstores and on Amazon. He’s hard at work on a new novel and poetry collection.
His screwed up memoir about New Orleans is still seeking a home.
He also likes ice cream and panda bears.