Western Horror Novels
Once you discover this genre you start trying to explore, and it’s not as easy as you might think. So I did some digging of my own to find a list of recommended western horror novels.
Westerns go in and out of favour with startling regularity and as a result writing only horror westerns could be a high risk endeavour. But you can’t deny the attraction of something set before mobiles, cars, and crowded streets (or after, some of them are set after one apocalyptic event or another). I mean, I’d miss my phone for sure, but at least I’d still get to wear my cowboy boots – and I have no problem riding horses instead of driving cars.
So the following Western Horror Novels are the ones I have queued up to read based on recommendations. I will let you know what I think.
1) The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King
This one was an obvious choice, I got a rather large tome for Christmas about the whole world this novel, and others, are set in. And as it’s to be made into a movie it feels like I need to collect the bounty on this one real soon.
Who doesn’t turn to Stephen King when thinking of horror? I’m not saying it’s the only choice but few are more in the public eye than Stephen King. So it’s a good place to start.
A mix of fantasy, horror, and science fiction give this western horror novel it’s twist. Some say it’s Stephen King’s ‘most visionary feat of storytelling’ [Goodreads] and yet some readers prefer his other works because this one can be slow and confusing.
It is going on my list as I’ve heard that although the first one has it’s down sides the next book picks it up and rewards you for sticking with the story.
2) Skinwalker: A Western Horror Novel by Michael Newton
The first in a series of books, and I’m including it because I’ve already downloaded it to my Kindle. When I did my initial search for Western Horror Novels this was one of the first to come up and the description seems almost like the Supernatural TV series but set in the Wild West. With a large number of books to his name Michael Newton turns his hand to western horror novels with this book, and there are some mixed reviews.
But I prefer to make my own judgements about books that intrigue me and this will most likely be the first of the Western Horror Novels included on this page that I’ll read.
Set in the New Mexico Territory, Gideon Thorn has to identify and kill the monster praying on the locals before it kills again.
3) Skin Medicine by Tim Curran
The second highest rated western horror novel on Goodreads (but not by much) is my third choice. This book has some good reviews and some not so good – but then so do most books.
Set in 1882, after the Civil War TIm Curran gives us Tylor Cabe, a bounty hunter tracking a killer. But by the sounds of the reviews the description of this book doesn’t do it justice. I added it to the list because of this one line in a review by Steve Vernon on Goodreads…
“The battlescenes are juicier than KILL BILL volumes one through crazy eighty eight.” – Steve Vernon
4) Walking Wolf: A Weird Western by Nancy A. Collins
The only female author on my list (so I expect great things) gives us a werewolf in the Wild West. Raised by a Comanche Brave the hero begins a journey of self discovery, and discovers a whole lotta stuff that’d make the average person wish they’d stayed on the homestead.
Not an author I’ve heard of before and again a book with mixed reviews. However I think the description is intriguing and I can’t wait to get my teeth into this one.
The Quick, The Scary, & The Read
Since being about 12 I’ve read and collected Westerns and most of them showed a very raw way of life, it’s fair to say that many of the older westerns could be considered horrors. However, I always remember the story in the back of my copy of Shane by Jack Schaefer, there was a picture of a blood red carriage and I suspect it may have been First Blood, the follow up to Shane. And whilst not a horror it certainly shines a different light on the western gun slinger. I remember it being a much darker story than Shane and I may have loved it just a little bit more. This would be my choice for a Quick read – if you can get your hands on a copy.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that’s left me afraid to turn out the light or given me nightmares. But perhaps Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (yes the novel of the movie) – the movie itself kept me on the edge of my seat and curious. The book is meant to be even better from the get go. And whilst not a western it does have that pre-mobile phone man against the elements theme – as well as the horrors from the asylum. My choice for a Scary read.
And as for the Read – I’m going to recommend The Nosferatu Scroll by James Becker. Neither a western or particularly a horror (although it has it’s moments) this novel is firmly in the Thriller category. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting and from an author I hadn’t read previously. The history and location give this fairly fast paced novel an unusual background.
Hopefully the more western horror novels I read the more recommendations for those there will be – but I’ll try and keep them to the P.S.’s 🙂