A Book of Tongues

Gemma Files, Author
Gemma Files, Author . ChiZine $16.95 (274p) ISBN 978-0-9812978-6-6
Reviewed on: 03/29/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010

A Pinkerton detective infiltrates a Wild West gang led by a spell-casting preacher in this boundary-busting horror–fantasy debut. Agent Ed Morrow is dispatched by a professor of magical research to evaluate the “hexslinging” abilities of Rev. Asher Rook, a renegade chaplain who survived his own hanging, and his lover, the prickly sharpshooter Chess Pargeter. As Morrow becomes part of the gang, the Aztec goddess Ixchel slowly seduces Rook into a bloody ritual marriage that endangers Pargeter and leads their followers down a road to hell. Files smoothly weaves an unusual magic system, Aztec mythology, and a raunchily explicit gay love story into a classic western tale of outlaws and revenge. Though it grows somewhat cumbersome in the leadup to a cliffhanger that demands resolution in the planned sequel, this promising debut fully delivers both sizzling passions and dark chills. (May)

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