Cody wants to regain his self-respect. Willet just wants his father’s leg back. Both of them are tracking a band of traveling actors who leave carnage and heartbreak in their wake.
Cody and Willet are bent on revenge, but neither of them suspects the true nature of their five adversaries. For Adam Price and his actors are older than the deserts and mountains over which they ride. Even if word of their atrocities were to spread, it would take an army to oppose them. But it is 1885 in the wilds of New Mexico, and there is no help for Cody and Willet.
The unlikely pair must make a stand and face an unfathomable evil. They must destroy the dust devils or die trying. But there is something even worse than being murdered by monsters. There is damnation.
Title: Dust Devils | Author: Jonathan Janz | Publisher: Flametree Press | Pub. Date: 13 June 2019 | Pages: 304 | ISBN: 9781787582347 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4.5 out 5 | Source: Received a copy from publisher for review consideration
Dust Devils Review
“I was beguiled by your looks, but I never took the measure of your heart.” -Jonathan Janz, Dust Devils
“Quiet and calculating. He hasn’t changed that much since. Always mild-mannered, the nice guy—until someone steps over the line and challenges him.” – Elmore Leonard, 52 Pickup
Horror books with vampires are a hit or miss with me. I’ve enjoyed Rice’s work as well as Beverley Lee’s Gabriel Davenport series. Salem’s Lot from King? That’s a nope for me. Quite often I find myself reaching for something different.
And westerns? I’ve read The Thicket by Lansdale (loved it) and a couple of my late grandfather’s Louis L’ Amour books that he always had stacked precariously next to his recliner. I didn’t love those books, if you haven’t read them, they really are something else, but I loved that connection with my grandfather years after he passed on.
Why this mini reader auto-biography? I suppose I want you to know where I came from when deciding to pick up this book. There was a mixture of “oh my god this sounds amazing” and “this could all go completely wrong”, with just a dash of melancholy and warmth as I imagined what my Grandpa might think of this kind of western.
I needn’t have worried.
Janz truly crafts something special with the relationships forged between fathers and sons in this book. As you can see from synopsis above, the action begins from “the get” and just doesn’t let up. This, however, does not mean that depth of character is left behind. Woven amongst some of the most graphic, deliciously brutal scenes I’ve read, is a thread of love, duty, and perseverance. There are some truly harrowing and heartbreaking scenes within, almost as if this yearning for family and redemption and love bleeds onto the page.
As far as the pacing goes, hold on to your hats. The novel begins in medias res and I think Janz does a great job of bringing in back story as needed throughout. The only part that was a miss for me was part of the ending and I’ll not go into more details here; it’s likely a “Tracy” thing more than anything else.
I have read 4 books from Janz now and Dust Devils is my stand-out favorite so far. This one is different than the others and feels a bit more personal, somehow, than the others. I have a few more of his to read and I am excited to see what other journeys I will take. Looking for a great read this summer? Try this one.
You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads; however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.
Tracy joined Sc-Fi and Scary in September 2018. She reviews horror books for the site and bemoans our general lack of grammar, but puts up with us because she loves us anyway. Feel free to reach out on Twitter and Instagram at @tracy_reads79, or on Goodreads as well!
Tracy is also part of the Ladies of Horror Fiction crew.
Have you read Ghost Mine by Hunter Shea. That was another good western horror.
I love western horror and loved this book. I’ve read several of his books and this is my favorite so far.
I just finished House of Skin by Janz. He can sure tell a captivating story!
Oooh, this sounds good!
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