cover image Straight Outta Deadwood

Straight Outta Deadwood

Edited by David Boop. Baen, $16 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8432-9

Despite the title, contributors to Boop’s second collection of weird western tales (after Straight Outta Tombstone) set their stories in myriad locations in the American West, spanning the late 19th century through the early 20th, and including some established alternate histories from fictional and gaming universes. “Cookie: A Deadlands™ Story” by Shane Lacy Hensley, the creator of the Deadlands role-playing game, is more unpleasantly gross than terrifying, making it a questionable first selection. Charlaine Harris’s unsentimental and effective “A Talk with My Mother” details the difficult emotional conversation gunslinger Lizbeth Rose initiates after taking a life-changing action in Cactus Flats. Cliff Winnig’s “Not Fade Away” will transport readers to his version of Truth, Ariz., along with Joan Stark, who is both in pursuit of and pursued by mythical monsters. Horror master Steve Rasnic Tem introduces a terrifying original creation in “Bigger Than Life.” Native American mythology is not always successfully incorporated into the stories, but Marsheila Rockwell’s “Dreamcatcher” manages it in a fresh fashion, as does Mario Acevedo’s cheerfully violent vampire bounty hunter story, “El Jefe de la Comancheria.” Cross-genre fans will find this anthology enjoyable but not spectacular. (Oct.)