I recently reviewed Josh Unruh’s book “Werewolves of Mass Destruction” on the blog. He was tickled by my honest review and sent me a copy of Hell Bent For Leather to review as well. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, I did recieve this e-book for free.
Chet Leather is the best cowboy West Texas has ever seen. He also has the Sight beyond sight, able to See to the heart of things. That means he Sees ghosts, demons, and the difference between honesty and lies.
That’s how he knows Dan Reed, his best friend, told the truth about selling his soul to the Devil. But Dan had died and the Devil come to collect before Chet knew anything about the pact. Now it’s up to a cowboy that sees ghosts and a washed-up old priest to save Dan’s soul.
But it’s going to take a confrontation with a bandito who can’t be killed, a battle with a hundred vengeful souls, riding against demonic cattle rustlers, and, finally, a chat with the Devil himself.
Chet’s out to make enemies of the Damned, and when he’s done, it’ll be Hell Bent for Leather.
The Goods – Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a sucker for supernatural stuff, especially though not limited to the Christian mythos, and Westerns. This should be the perfect blending of the two. And you know what? It is! It’s obvious from the title that Josh loves a good pun and there are a few of those in the book. By and large though, it’s a serious piece of Wild West Fantasy, though. I could easily see this being adapted into a comic book or other visual format, because Josh is very gifted at painting a solid picture with his descriptions. That’s especially true when we get to meet the denizens of hell. There’s one seen where he describes a demon and you don’t want to eat when he does. This isn’t a horror book, though. It’s less Hellraiser and more Hellboy. There’s darkness, but there’s plenty of action and slightly over the top magic/mysticism.
One of my criticisms of “Werewolves” was that it was light on the character development. This story proves that that wasn’t a shortcoming of Josh’s. I suspect, as I said in that review, that it’s a matter of having the room. Here, Chet and the other characters, even the Devil, are more nuanced and fully fleshed out.
It had me flipping pages as fast as I could to see what happened next. The pacing was great and the scenes between action beats were well done.
The Bads – I really can’t come up with any huge criticisms. Or any little, nit-picky ones. That’s not to say this book is perfect. No book is. But I had nary a single bone to pick with Josh’s story.
I give this story five silver bullets out of five.