Dust


Title: Dust | Third in the Splatter Western series from Death's Head Press
Author: Chris Miller
Publisher: Death's Head Press
Synopsis: 1879: An unknown and timeless evil descends on East Texas. John Dee, bestowed with knowledge from beyond, moves through time and space, pursuing age-old horrors and ending their reign. As he seeks the hidden town of Dust to continue his lifework, another is hot on his heels, and will stop at nothing to rip the divine knowledge from Dee.
As these opposing forces collide, Dee becomes both hero and villain in his quest against the Elders. He doesn't have time to be sorry - THERE ARE GODS TO KILL.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Naw, suh. You don’t tell a man something like that and not show him what you speaking of. I may be three-fifths a man, but you five-fifths out your damn mind you think you ain’t about to show me what you talking about.”


Third installment of the stand alone Splatter Western series by Death's Head Press, Dust, takes us on a fast, gory ride to 1879. The Civil War is still fresh in everyone's mind. Selling body parts off Black people is profitable. And James Dee is on a mission from the future. 


East Texas, where it is hot and the only past-times are shooting stuff and drinking piss colored beer. We are welcomed by the brutal violence of James Dee, a pure heart, but not a good man, and his quest to destroy an ancient evil in the hidden town of Dust. He has worked seven years to get to this spot and he isn't taking shit from anyone that gets in his way.


Gear Dreary is there to get in his way. But he has to find Dust first. Only a little old lady holds the secret to finding the town, home to the marker of N'yea'thuul. As much as James wants to destroy the evil, Gear wants to harness it. What unfolds is a true western shoot out of good vs evil. 


I was most pleased by the pace and gore level of this book. It satisfied all my bloody needs and never had a dull moment. It is told in multiple point of views so some events overlap depending on that person's actions.  Some might find that confusing, but I feel it adds to the atmosphere of the story. James is definitely not our hero, even though his goal is to save the world. He seems to do the right thing, but typically does it in a manner most would frown upon.


What I didn't like and it bothered me the duration of the story, was Denarius and his ability to assume his family was "fine" after white men kidnap him and without any consideration, accompanies James to Dust. Like really dude? You don't think you should at least be like "hey wife, I'm alive thanks to this guy and I need to help him stop the apocalypse"? Write her a note? Something? No? Ok, rude. 

Blackwater Saga



Title: Blackwater: The Complete Caskey Family Saga
Author:  Michael McDowell
Publisher:  Tough Times Publishing
Synopsis:  Blackwater traces more than fifty years in the lives of the powerful Caskey family of Perdido, Alabama, under the influence of the mysterious and beautiful—but not quite human—Elinor Dammert.
The Flood heralds the arrival of a visitor who will change the Caskey family—and the town—forever…
When the town builds The Levee, it proves a vain attempt to control a horrific power that can never be contained…
The House hides terrible secrets that whisper in closed rooms and scrabble at locked doors…
The War reveals family secrets more deadly and devastating than anything Perdido has ever dreamed in its deepest nightmares…
The Fortune brings happiness and power—but even greater terror…
And finally, the mysterious saga of the Caskey family ends the only way it can—in terrible judgment and fury delivered under the cover of a relentless, earth-shattering Rain.
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“She hates that levee the way you and I hate hell and the Republicans.”


In another Southern Gothic classic, McDowell paints quite a picture. Surrounded by swampy lands and wrap around porches, the Caskey family takes in a stranger after a flood in 1919.  This stranger, Elinor, changes this family; changes it for the better. But she has a secret that she can't even tell her new husband, Oscar.

The Saga spans over 50 years and four generations. The family survives the Great Depression, the Second World War, and even a few personal tragedies. There are ups and there are lows, but one thing is for sure, the women of the Caskey clan sure do take care of business.

The whole saga includes serious topics like race, misogyny, rape, and homosexuality, with such kindness and care for the period and location, I was genuinely surprised.  This family may not be perfect, but they stick together through anything.

Normally I wouldn't care for such a slow burn.  I like action and getting to the big bad, yet I couldn't put this down! I was so interested in the family and their closeness that I didn't care too much when horrific things weren't happening.  When they did happen, they were without mercy and soaked in blood.  Overall, I laughed often, got angry, and even cried.

This is my third McDowell novel and as with the others, I can't say enough good things without spoilers. So go read this!

Hispanic and Latin Bookish Resources

Latin and Hispanic Bookish Resources

Bookstores

Latin Owned Bookstores: Click the link to see a list of Latin owned bookstores in your area.  

In my state of Indiana, there isn't one.  


Publishers

Latinx in Publishing is a network of professionals committed to supporting and increasing Latinx in publishing. 
 
Floricanto Press is known for their focus on Hispanic/Latinx people and cultures. 

Survivor Song


Title: Survivor Song
Author: Paul Tremblay
Synopsis: In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds and are driven to bite and infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick and dying, and hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine and curfew. But society is breaking down and the government's emergency protocols are faltering.
Dr. Ramola "Rams" Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is eight months pregnant. Natalie's husband has been killed—viciously attacked by an infected neighbor—and in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie's only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her and for her unborn child.
Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she and Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares—terrifying, strange, and sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink.
Publisher: Harper Collins
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


So now that I have healed the wound in my heart, Paul Tremblay has left me emotionally scarred.
This is not a fairy tale. It is a song.

If there was ever a perfect time to read a book about a pandemic raging in America, now is that time. An accelerated rabies-like infection is running rabid (ha! see what I did there?). An infected neighbor attacks Natalie, who is 38 weeks pregnant, and her husband. After the husband's death and being bitten, Natalie calls her bestie, Dr. Ramola "Rams" Sherman to her aid. Knowing time is of the essence, the two (and a half) embark on a journey to save Natalie and her unborn baby.

The novel takes place over a single day, while Natalie fights for the life of her baby and Rams fights for them both. This is my first Tremblay novel and I am extremely pleased with the amount of character development given to these women. Friendship, platonic love, sisterhood are all things most horrorish stories lack. I was able to connect and relate to them so when bad things happened, I was deeply hurt. For me, that doesn't happen often, so Kudos!

Many will describe this as a zombie novel. I finished SK's Cell a few days ago and was board by the second half, so when this started, I was worried it would go the same direction. I was happily surprised it didn't! IT IS NOT A ZOMBIE STORY!

Ok, no spoilers.
The last two chapters had me in agony. The ending cleaned up nicely with no loose ends. I will remember this story for years to come. I look forward to reading more of Paul's work!

The Hollow Ones



Title: The Hollow Ones
Authors: Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
Synopsis: Odessa Hardwicke's life is derailed when she's forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly, inexplicably violent while apprehending a rampaging murderer. The shooting, justified by self-defense, shakes the young FBI agent to her core. Devastated, Odessa is placed on desk leave pending a full investigation. But what most troubles Odessa isn't the tragedy itself-it's the shadowy presence she thought she saw fleeing the deceased agent's body after his death.
Questioning her future with the FBI and her sanity, Hardwicke accepts a low-level assignment to clear out the belongings of a retired agent in the New York office. What she finds there will put her on the trail of a mysterious figure named John Blackwood, a man of enormous means who claims to have been alive for centuries, and who is either an unhinged lunatic, or humanity's best and only defense against unspeakable evil.
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

First, I have to say how fast paced and fun this was to listen to. I started it yesterday morning and listened in one sitting. I was sucked in and definitely entertained. That being said, this wasn't really an original idea as the synopsis made it sound. 

Let me explain a little on how I rate books, many people do not read my About Me, so here it is: 
For (the place all books start at) I:
Enjoyed reading
Found some minor plot holes
Thought character development needs some work
Felt world building is lacking
Would recommend
Am unlikely to read again
Will likely read next in series
Highlight a few memorable points

So for a four star read, those same points are elevated a bit; five stars, highest level of those points. Make sense?

For The Hollow Ones, I am stuck between three and four. The character development in here was excellent. You don't only see the characters' strengths but also their faults and weaknesses. We feel the pain they go through and their desperation. However, I felt the world building was a bit lacking and maybe that will come in the next story (hopefully). 

Originality is not really this story's forte. I've seen Fallen in the 90s and it had a very similar premise. But that didn't take away from the enjoyability of the story itself. I read A LOT so I am always looking for a fresh idea and this was sitting under the heating lamp for a couple hours. 

There are a few memorable spots I can't stop thinking about and I won't post there here with risk of spoiling but I can't stop thinking why a grown man would want to eat dried out meatloaf. 

3.5 stars rounded up