THE SAGA OF DEAD-EYE – Book One: Vampires, Zombies & Mojo Men by Ronald Kelly [Book Review]

The Saga of Dead Eye - Book One

Book One: Vampires, Zombies & Mojo Men
By Ronald Kelly
Published by Silver Shamrock Publishing

Heading back home after being captured by the enemy during the American Civil War, Joshua Wingade is looking forward to reuniting with his loving wife Elizabeth and their young son, Daniel. However, upon his return he is distraught to find his wife has been assaulted and transformed into something unearthly and their son abducted by a cruel, murderous gang led by ancient vampire, Jules Holland.

When his revenge doesn’t go as planned, Joshua joins forces with a mojo man named Job. With the power of the undead on his side, and steeds fuelled by the pits of Hell, Joshua assumes his new identity as Dead-Eye, and, accompanied by Job and his voodoo magic, begins to track down Holland and his band of renegade bandits by the blood and carnage in their wake.

Splatter western horror ‘THE SAGA OF DEAD-EYE – Book One: Vampires, Zombies & Mojo Men‘ is author Ronald Kelly’s realisation of a story he concocted 44 years ago when he was in high school. Good things come to those who wait, so we’re told, and this is definitely the case with Dead-Eye as Kelly enthrals the reader with his descriptions of life in the Southern states of America during the nineteenth century. However, in this version of the 1800’s, there’s otherworldly creatures that roam the Earth, some of which are summoned from other dimensions, and the lowly folk of the towns that Dead-Eye and Job travel through become the unwitting victims of the horrors unleashed upon them.

THE SAGA OF DEAD-EYE – Book One is dripping with atmosphere which makes it easily to visualise Joshua/Dead-Eye and Job riding their horses through the towns, happening upon scenes of destruction and decay, as they try to stop Holland and his men from hurting anyone else. You don’t know what to expect as something different is around every corner and not all townsfolk are grateful for Joshua and Job’s presence in the area, especially when Joshua himself isn’t adverse to making mistakes which make him fall foul in the arena of public opinion.

For a novella that is 134 pages long, it’s surprisingly densely packed full of ideas whilst retaining an authenticity of the Western genre. With the undead, demons, vampires, other worldly creatures, spells and voodoo afoot, there’s never a dull moment to be had. The way in which this traditional American genre has been combined with something unnatural and Lovecraftian may not have worked in someone else’s hands, but Kelly weaves them together so brilliantly that it actually feels natural.

Kelly’s wonderfully descriptive locales make it so easy to visualise the chaos amongst the calm and sense these living, breathing communities he creates which makes the fear more palpable. Kelly really seems to thrive as he describes the action sequences with such fervour, particularly when it comes down to the weapons and shootouts. After all, what good is a western without guns and horses. He doesn’t overdo it though, providing enough momentum to keep the story flowing whilst also giving the story plenty of room to breathe.

As alluded to, this is Book One of a series of five volumes and so the book leaves us on a tasty cliffhanger. Don’t expect the main story arc to resolve itself in Book One, however the journey and scenarios this first part conjures up is enough to leave you chomping at the bit, like Joshua’s trusty steed Brimstone, for the next instalment in Kelly’s series.

Rating: ★★★★☆

About Bat 8055 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Webbed.

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