cover image Dawn in Damnation

Dawn in Damnation

Clark Casey. Lyrical, $3.99 e-book (182p) ISBN 978-1-5161-0496-3

A cast of delightfully distinctive, authentically funny outlaws, butting heads in a lazy afterlife saloon somewhere between heaven and hell, define the setting of Casey’s weird western debut. Narrator Thomas has light involvement in the story but brings lots of period character; he documents the comings and goings in a place where annoying someone can get you shot and getting shot sends you straight to hell. When newly dead Sally Parker—a pregnant woman who committed suicide—shows up, she draws the attention of Buddy Baker, the newly anointed top man in town, as well as several of the longtime residents who crave female companionship. Her unborn baby awakens the hunger of both Damnation’s reclusive, testy local vampire and the werewolf pack from the saloon down the road. A simple plot drives the character interactions at the heart of Casey’s writing, and cantankerous dialogue shines with clever phrasing and unique voices. Though Casey’s setting leans heavily on the masculine posturing that’s typical of westerns, he is rarely gratuitously mean to his female characters. He establishes Damnation as timeless but eventful, with a mix of regulars and constant new arrivals. There could be many more stories to tell here. Agent: Doug Grad, Doug Grad Literary. (Nov.)