Book Review: The Six-Gun Tarot (Golgotha Book 1) by R. S. Belcher

 
 
Golgotha has always seemed to attract the strange, and the townspeople can attest to many weird happenings, but what's coming now isn't just weird, it's the end of the world. A darkness lives deep in the earth, in the silver mine, about to be awakened and unleashed, and it'll be up to Sheriff Jon Highfather and his people to stop it.

Book Review: The Six-Gun Tarot (Golgotha Book 1) by R. S. Belcher | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, paranormal/urban fantasy, historical fantasy, western, lgbt
Title: The Six-Gun Tarot
Author:
Publisher:
Series:
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 365
My Rating:
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher
 

Review:

This book was an interesting and fun Weird West (SFF + western) with a very unique set of characters, and it was those characters that really shone for me.

Jim was a great character and one I felt for in a protective sort of way. He was only 15, but he had to grow up fast and was already an outlaw. He found himself in Golgotha, looking for answers about his father’s magical jade eye. He was eager and sweet, and I liked him from the very beginning when he gave his horse his last bit of water, deciding that either they would both make it to town alive, or neither of them would. He also provided a newcomer’s perspective to the town, and his storyline was just interesting.

Jon, the sheriff, was also great and seems like a genuinely good person toward others.

Mutt was half Native American, among other things (non-human things), but the prejudice some people had didn’t stop him from being deputy or from caring for his town and the people in it. Mutt turned out to be lovable despite his gruffness, and his total lack of smoothness with Maude was endearing.

Then there was Harry, the closeted gay mayor and protector of some sort of holy treasure cache. I felt awful for him. He struggled so much with his sexuality in a time when it wasn’t accepted, and he felt guilty knowing he could never give his wife what she wanted. He was complex and imperfect, but he seemed like he was trying to be a good person.

Unfortunately I wasn’t quite as interested in the rest of the characters. I still don’t understand Maude’s backstory or what it is that she’s supposed to be/do. Auggie was keeping his dead wife’s head alive in a jar, forcing her to live as just a head with no one to talk to but him, so he was instantly unlikeable. Biqa, the fallen angel, seemed interesting, but I didn’t get to know enough about him.

The real problem I had was the writing. This book was kind of like a TV show with how it showed things going on all over town in lots of different characters’ lives rather than having one clear protagonist, which would be ok even if not my preference, except that it was head-hopping chaos. Sometimes we’d go a while in one POV, but other times I felt like I was being thrown from one character’s head to another’s to the omniscient narrator’s, sometimes from one sentence to the next. There was no clear delineation, and it was confusing.

As for the plot/pacing, it was a little slow at first—it felt like slice-of-life in a weird little town—but it eventually started to get more focused and picked up speed.

All that being said, I would like to read the next book because of how much I liked the characters and the friendships and relationships between them. Mutt didn’t have a lot of friends, but the friendships he did have were sweet and loyal. The conversation between Harry and his lover when Harry was trying to warn him was just awwwww. The way Mutt immediately brought Jim into the fold and tore down his wanted poster was nice, and the little exchange between the two of them at the end was adorable. I love how Mutt and Jon have become kind of protective of him. Even Mutt and Harry went from snapping at each other to showing each other some respect. And Harry never seemed to like Jim, so it was nice when Jim did him a favor. Lots of good feelings all around.

So overall, though I found the writing confusing, I thought some of the characters really stood out and made this a worthwhile read.

 
 
Book Blurb

Six-Gun Tarot is the first book in the twisted weird west world of the Golgotha series by R.S. Belcher.

Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.

A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation.

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  1. Daniela Ark

    oh a book with TAROT on the title! o.O O.O
    are SFF + western having their moment finally? Well at least here which is like my fav SFF blog anyways so that’s enough for me. I’m happy about that!
    The real problem I had was the writing. Humm… things happening to lotsa of characters… not having one clear protagonist… I wonder why it works so well for some books (GoT) and not for others!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t remember if there was an tarot actually in the book though :-/ But giiiirl, SFF westerns have been having their moment on my blog for a long time now, haha. I love that genre!

      It’s probably just a personal taste sorta thing, I usually prefer one, maybe two, protags. But the real issue for me was how the POVs were not clearly separated.

  2. Olivia-Savannah Roach

    I don’t think I mind one main character or many of them – they just have to be good. It sounds like a lot of the characters were interesting here but that there were also quite a lot fo them that you didn’t care for. I am glad the plot was decent even if it took a while to start off. It’s just a shame that the writing fell a bit short and disappointed. :/

    Olivia-Savannah Roach recently posted: Travel as Transformation [Book Review & Giveaway!]

  3. Greg

    So awesome that you’re reviewing this. I don’t see very many reviews for it! I pretty much agree with all this too, especially Mutt. He was awesome. And Jim was great. I was conflicted about Maude… although having said that, I do want to read Queen of Swords because A) pirates and B) lost city in Africa or whatever it is. That’s like a plot with my name all over it lol.

    Greg recently posted: Bookcover Spotlight #195

    1. Kristen Burns

      I really wasn’t sure about Mutt when he was first introduced, but he turned out to be great! I just really didn’t understand the explanations about Maude. So I’m not interested in her book :-/ But it does sound great for you! It also has a really pretty cover, so that’s a bonus lol.

  4. Lola

    Those character you listed first sound likable. And the way Jim gave his last bit of water to his horse would endear me to him immediately as well. Too bad about the other characters, the fallen angels might still get better in future books. Auggie just sounds unlikable.

    The writing with the head hopping sounds very confusing. I don’t think that would work for me either as I usually don’t like that type of story telling. I hope the next book is even better as it does sound like it has some good parts.

    Lola recently posted: Sunday Post #324

    1. Kristen Burns

      They were! And, yeah, maybe there will be more about the fallen angel in the next book.

      It was super confusing for me sometimes, but I would like to give the next book a try at least!