A review by thomaswjoyce
Walk The Darkness Down, by John Boden


The idea of a "Weird" Western is a new concept to me, but it appears to be gathering steam, especially in the Horror small presses. Marrying the gritty, dusty setting of the Wild West story (complete with a hero/antihero and strong characters) with a strange and almost inexplicable series of events seems like a recipe for success. But I suppose in the hands of a lesser author it may not work so well. Thankfully, John Boden seems to be a natural storyteller, as he guides us through this weird, wonderful, horrific landscape.

It begins with a young boy named Levi, and the creation of a monster. Levi certainly isn't the cause of the horror; he is merely a pawn in a (cosmically) larger game. The scenes throughout the book involving the monster are some of the creepiest and goriest in the book and they aren't vague; there is evil here, the worst that you could probably imagine.
But there are also heroes, of a sort. Jones seems to be the most typically heroic of the three, seemingly pure of heart. Then there is Keaton, a drifter and an outlaw, more of a grey area, but no less likeable. Third is Jubal, a simple young man who carries his twin sisters in a sling around his neck. His origin and that of his sisters adds another very strange string to the bow of the story, and is best left to the reader's discovery.

Something otherworldly and more familiar to fans of Lovecraft and cosmic horror appears to be directing the action. Levi wanders from town to town, spreading death and chaos everywhere he goes. Jones, Keaton and Jubal are drawn together and set on a collision course with Levi, hopefully to put an end to the horror.

Boden's writing seems suited to this setting and these characters. Outside of the main players, there are wonderful interactions with the likes of Ford and Kellianne. And the conversations between Jones and Keaton are especially entertaining. He does that magical thing that all great storytellers do, whereby he tells a great story, but also hints at a greater story just beneath or behind, or within the words on the page. The story of what happened to Keaton before this story began, or the history of Ford and Kellianne's relationship, or the true nature of Jubal's sisters, or the terrible truth about what lies beyond the cosmic door, and whether or not they crossed the threshold.

I hope there is more to come from this world that John Boden has created. I'm here for future installments and I know I'm not alone.