This week's Friday Favourite is written by editor Jo Boylett...
"As you'd expect from a book editor (though I work exclusively on our non-fiction list - to avoid any charges of favouritism that might be made!), I love reading, and in particular I have a voracious appetite for fiction, especially detective and so-called "genre" fiction. So I've sampled quite a few of the books on Titan's fiction list. But The Six-Gun Tarot was a particularly memorable and enjoyable read.
This book first caught my attention because I was intrigued by the title. I'm also a sucker for mythology-based fantasy stories. Plus the Western setting (Nevada, 1869) was guaranteed to appeal to someone like me who loved the sadly truncated sci-fi-Western series Firefly. The striking front cover design clinched the deal and I decided to give it a try.
I was hooked from the first chapter.
Yes, it has an intriguing premise - which is difficult to summarise without giving too much away, but let's face it, you wouldn't really expect a town called Golgotha to be humdrum - and a fantastical "twisty-turny" storyline, but it was the characters and their relationships that drew me in and kept me hooked. As their struggle for survival in a harsh and unforgiving environment slowly morphs into a more apocalyptic epic battle, R.S. Belcher kept me caring about the fate of each and every one of them. Belcher skilfully avoids cliche, with each individual being vividly three-dimensional and "real" in their responses to the increasingly crazy events. And they include some strong-but-flawed female characters - always refreshing, even in modern fantasy fiction.
Belcher takes an incredible array of references from all kinds of sources and blends them to create something unique and compelling. It's a rich world with a lot of intriguing backstories and brief glimpses of other places and times. Which is why I'm about to start reading the sequel, The Shotgun Arcana."