cover image Hell’s Bounty

Hell’s Bounty

Joe R. and John L. Lansdale. Subterranean (, $40 (192p) ISBN 978-1-59606-745-5

Fans of Joe Lansdale’s charismatic, genre-jumping storytelling (Fender Lizards) will eat up this collaboration with his brother: it’s a whimsical save-the-world gunslinger zombie mash-up with a bit of black-winged Lovecraftian horror tossed in. Dynamite-loving bounty hunter Smith arrives in hell only to meet the devil himself (who’s posing as a bartender named Snappy) and receive an offer he can’t refuse: go back to the western U.S. town of Falling Rock to stop a demon who’s gotten too big for his britches, taken over the meanest patron of the Sundown Saloon, and started plotting to open a portal that will let the Old Ones take over the Earth. The Wild West fan service, provided via a magic deck of cards that borrows outlaw luminaries such as Bill Hickok and Belle Star from hell, falls flat. But the ragtag team members—Smith, his horse, the saloon’s “girl for hire,” the town doctor, and the undertaker—achieve a smooth and high-energy dynamic as they use smart tactics, high carnage, and unlimited silver bullets to take down cowboy ghouls. (Feb.)