Like some other role-playing games, Deadlands, a popular RPG set in an alternate-timeline Old West, is getting a literary spin-off. And who better to write it than Maberry, the author of the Joe Ledger thrillers (which frequently, like Deadlands, feature weird science and weird creatures). The hero of this rousing adventure is gunslinger Grey Torrance, a man with a tortured past who’s about to walk into a life-or-death situation. He’s accompanied by Thomas Looks Away, a Sioux Indian who was educated at the University of Exeter in England and whose familiarity with the mysterious “ghost rock”—a substance created, apparently, when a massive earthquake destroyed California in 1868—will come in very handy. There are also a couple of warring landowners, who have a small town trapped in their clutches; a seriously mad scientist; and, well, a zombie army (sort of). Part Wild West adventure, part steampunk sf, part just plain weird, the book is sure to appeal to Deadlands fans, Maberry’s devoted readers, and anyone who likes a rollickin’ good story.
This review originally appeared in Booklist, September 2015.