Book 1 of the Splatter Western books from Death’s Head Press. I got this book by trading away a copy of Treif Magic to the publisher. I gotta tell you. I like anti-heroes. I like books and stories that are told from the perspective of a villain. And the Magpie Coffin delivers that in spades.
Salem, our titular Black Magpie is a reprehensible sack of shit who murders, whores, and steals. He’s a man who collects trophies from the men and women he kills so that he can use those body parts in black magic ceremonies. Who admits to having twisted the mystical traditions and teachings of not one, but three different cultures.
The book is also comforting as hell, it hits the beats of a traditional mystical gun man book. It feels like a warm blanket wrapped around a story of revenge. Salem’s indigenous teacher is murdered, and then Salem goes on a quest to murder all those responsible. It feels familiar, like you’re watching a old western movie you’ve seen a thousand times. But like all good horror, Young twists those tropes and motifs to something darker, something that suits a murderer.
And lets get one thing straight, nearly everyone in this book is a piece of shit. Salem is a piece of shit, the whore he travels with for a bit is a piece of shit, all the murderers are pieces of shit. His hostage is a super racist piece of shit. So, as pain is visited on them, as they get torn apart by bears, or get curb stomped with spurs or hung, you never feel guilty about celebrating the violence.
I enjoyed it, I think you will to. Pick it up here.