Review Not-Summer-Anymore, Week 1

So yeah, it’s now officially not summer anymore, and The Horror Fiction Review is back from hiatus (check out the new issue here:

But, as promised, I still have other reviews to post here. Novellas, non-horror, other stuff like that. And while I’m waiting on recovery efforts from my old laptop, I’ll go ahead with a new one; here is my review of A Wind of Knives by Ed Kurtz!

Title: A Wind of Knives

Author: Ed Kurtz

Publisher: Snubnose Press


I won a prize in a likeness-of-the-author art contest, possibly for the novelty factor of being unable to draw and therefore made one out of puffballs. What can I say; I’ve got a gluegun. And then came a big box of a whole bunch of books!

So I started with one of the smallest, a trim novella under a hundred pages, thinking I’d read a couple chapters before going to sleep. Good thing for me I did, because I ended up reading A Wind of Knives right through, staying up later than I meant, and not being at all sorry (until my alarm went off, but hey).

It’s a western, well-done and gritty, not a cinematic shoot-em-up but a tragedy of love and loss, betrayal and revenge, and it takes an unflinching look at the uncomfortable subjects of homosexuality, homophobia, hate crimes, deception, self-deception, and shame.

Synopsis-wise, Daniel, a rancher with a burdensome past and tendency toward drink to escape his woes, finds he can’t escape the particular woe of finding his partner strung up and slaughtered. He knows he won’t find much help from the law or sympathy from his neighbors, and decides to seek justice on his own. But when someone else comes along and kills the man he’d meant to ‘question,’ Daniel has to hit the trail to find some answers.

Powerful stuff, with real-to-life characters, vivid emotions, ring-true details and dialogue. And while there’s no fist fights on top of a speeding train or gonzo high-noon duels, the action fans will still get their share of gunplay … fans of the darker or eerier elements won’t be left out … nor will the romantics, though don’t go into it looking for happily ever after riding into the sunset.