cover image The Country Girl’s Guide to Hexes and Haints

The Country Girl’s Guide to Hexes and Haints

Mer Whinery. JournalStone, $18.95 trade paper (346p) ISBN 978-1-68510-072-8

This intense Southern horror tale from Whinery (Trade Yer Coffin for a Gun) takes readers to Black Knot, a small hamlet of Oklahoma with more than a few skeletons in its closet. Unlikely allies come together to uncover the town’s gruesome secrets: haunted young Cora, who witnessed a mass killing at Dot’s Chow and Plow; Hayder, a Texas transplant who quickly finds himself out of his depth in Black Knot; and rough but kindhearted Sheriff Matheson, who’s at his wits’ end attempting to maintain order in a town determined to eat them all alive. Evil witches and unhinged murderers are only the start as an evil that long-predates them all rears its head and drives the story to a grisly climax. Though the gore is satisfyingly vivid, a lack of focus hobbles the narrative, making it difficult to maintain interest as tangents and blind alleys interrupt an otherwise straightforward plot. Still, the low-down, greasy tone of the narration—which is replete with deep cut horror references—will appeal to bizarro and hardcore horror fans. For those readers, there’s plenty to love in this splatter western. (Dec.)