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Dead in the West [Hardcover]

Colleen Doran , Joe R. Lansdale

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"Dead in the West" is the story of Mud Creek, Texas, a town overshadowed by a terrible evil. An Indian medicine man, unjustly lynched by the people of Mud Creek, has put a curse on the town. As the sun sets, he will have his revenge. For when darkness falls, the dead will walk in Mud Creek and they will be hungry for human flesh. The only one that can save the town is Reverend Jebediah Mercer, a gun toting preacher man who came to Mud Creek to escape his past. He has lost his faith in the Lord and his only solace is the whisky bottle. Will he renew his faith in himself and God to defeat this evil or will the town be destroyed?

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He had come down out of the high country: a long, lean preacher man covered in dust, riding a buckskin mare with an abscessed back, a wound made by hard riding and saddle friction against dust and hide. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ZOMBIES IN SPURS 26 April 2004
By Michael Butts - Published on Amazon.com
From the opening scene in the old stagecoach to the apocalyptic ending in a church, DEAD IN THE WEST delivers more thrills and spills it in its short length than many 300+ tomes. Joe Lansdale, known for his black humor, whips it out in plenty in this tale of a Reverend who wanders into Mud Creek and finds himself involved in the curse of an Indian wrongly accused of killing a young girl, and lynched. His mulatto woman was also brutally raped and murdered. The curse is purely simple: zombies beget more zombies, and Lansdale spares nothing in his brutally graphic and frightening tale. Joining Rev. Jeb in the spotlight is a delightful young boy named David; the bewitching Abby and her rascally doctor father; and of course the many zombies populating the scene.
The book is relentless and no character is guaranteed safety by the time the book ends; it has a rather "twisty" ending as well; did he ever do a sequel? It would be great!!!
A very good horror story.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the best 12 Sep 2004
By Matthew King - Published on Amazon.com
For some strange reason Joe Lansdale often carried the tag of horror writer for many years which is peculiar since out of the 20 or so books of his, only "The Drive-In" and "Dead in the West" are horror novels. Many of his novels are either westerns, hard-boiled mysteries or strange combinations of both. Dead in the West is another unique crossover as only Lansdale can do, a short novel that seamlessly combines the western and horror genres to mold a "zombie western". Let it be said that Dead in the West is one of the best and most unique contributions ever to the horror genre.

Reverend Jeb Mercer is a man of god who has lost much of his faith due to the many unfortunate circumstances that have shaped his life. Every once in a while Jeb still communicates with the lord and this time He has sent Jeb to the East Texas town of Mud Creek on a mission, a mission about what Jeb is uncertain but he boards his mule, packs his guns and heads over to the sleepy desert town. Jeb will soon find out that the town has been cursed by an Indian shaman and that is why everyone in Mud Creek is turning into slow shuffling zombies. Can the Reverend, a man of god who has lost his faith, save the town from the dark pits of hell that await?

The ideas are great and truly original but it is Lansdale's writing that make this novel so exceptional. He has a way with words and with humour that just jump at you and make you stare at the page in disbelief. The dialogue is some of the funniest ever and all the words seem to flow seamlessly on the pages. This is one of those novels that is very hard to put down unfinished. On the surface, the plot seems like one of a pulpy dime novel but it has such a tight structure and sense of atmosphere that it becomes so much more. This book has more treasures in 120 pages than most books of 400 pages could ever think of having.

Most of the novel would be classified as a western until that is the invasion of zombies in the last 30 pages or so that turn it into a bloody, gory and extremely graphic zombie gut-muncher. This is one of those gems that should never go out of print and should obtain classic status but because of how unconventional it is will forever remain an obscure cult anomaly. If you are a fan of Joe or horror in general what are you waiting for? Hunt this book down, then settle into your favourite chair with a bowl of chili on the side and let Joe take you on for the ride of your life.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find thrills with the living dead 23 Aug 2002
By Mike Kazmierczak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the big differences between older Lansdale novels and ones written now is their length. At 119 pages, Dead In The West barely gets out of the short story realm. Regardless of the length the story still packs a hell of a punch. Reverend Jebidiah Mercer is unlike most other preachers during the wild west; he drinks, carries a gun and actively wander the country enforcing God's will. This time he finds himself in the town of Mud Creek and just in time to help face down the living dead thanks to a curse from a local Indian.
While the overall story might lack some of the character depth and introspective social commentaries mixed in with the dialogue that are found in most of Lansdale's later works, the story still puts enough emotion into the events that unfold to make you care about what happens. The caring is more about how everyone gets killed since it is pretty obvious that most of the characters are fodder for the zombies. But then this is acknowledged within the dedication and helps contribute to the charm of the book. If you like movies like "Evil Dead", "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and other Grade B films, then you owe it to yourself to pick this up and read it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Pale Rider' meets 'Dawn of the Dead' - helluva read! 13 Mar 2001
By Benjamin Denes - Published on Amazon.com
When I first saw the cover to this book, I knew I would love this book. It's terrible to admit, but true. The pulp-styled artwork gave me the early impression that 'Dead in the West' would take a prominant place on my bookshelf... and whaddya know, it has.
'Dead in the West' is a fun horror western written by Joe Lansdale. A gunslingin' preacher rolls into the backwater town of Mud Creek, questioning his beliefs and indulging his desires. His personal problems take a backseat soon enough when the dead start waling the streets...and their darn hungry!
The book is one of those delightful pleasures I love to indulge - survival horror. I just love tales of hard-bitten heroes finding sanctuary and trying to stay alive as masses of evil try to take 'em down. 'Night of the Living Dead', 'Resident Evil' and 'From Dusk Till Dawn' (which I swear drew more than just a passing resemblance to this book) were all enjoyable exercises into that genre, and 'Dead in the West' joins their ranks.
Like the intro itself states, don't expect this to be Shakespeare. It's action through and through. I was a little disappointed in the size (about 100 pages, very small) but was glad by the end. Perfect size for a perfectly fun story.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A zombified western classic! 18 Oct 2001
By Chadwick H. Saxelid - Published on Amazon.com
A gunslinging preacher wanders into an isolated Texas town haunted by a gruesome secret. One that, like its unfortunate victims, refuses to stay buried. Lansdale whips up a truly classic zombie gut muncher here, one loaded with thrills, chills, gore, his trademarked black humor, and, most surprisingly, a potent human sentiment. Required reading for Lansdale addicts and highly recommended to everyone else.
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