Reviews: DINOSAUR VALLEY and GHOST LIGHT ROAD

Title: Dinosaur Valley

Author: K.H. Koehler

So, a lot of attempts at cowboy genre crossovers fall a little flat … the unfortunate movie with aliens that even the talents of Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford failed to save comes to mind … and cowboys vs. dinosaurs usually seems like only the fodder of goofball 80’s cartoons or wacky time travel games … until K.H. Koehler tried her hand at it.

This is pulp adventure in the good way, wild west action meets lost world expedition, with dashes of steampunk and romance thrown in. This belongs serialized like those old cliffhangers from before even my time. It’s got that energy, that feel, the sort of classic nostalgia for good guys and bad guys and high radio-show drama.

It’s also got, of course, the gruff-tough lawman with a softer side, the scrappy li’l lady out to make her way in a man’s world, the dashing rogue, the sleazy mogul, the wise native, most of the archetypes you’d expect … plus some unexpected twists …

AND DINOSAURS.

See, the sleazy mogul in this case isn’t a rancher or an oilman like usual, but runs a traveling show specializing in wonders of the past, and on the lookout for some earthshaking new specimens. He’s more than willing to put lives at risk to get them, too (well, not his own, of course).

But now, the sister of a missing member of his team has turned up, on her own mission to find out what happened to her brother. Armed with a weapon of her own design and a birdcage housing an unusual pet, Lady Anna Rutherford intends to make her own way to what the locals call Blood Valley.

Which is FULL OF DINOSAURS. Did I mention the dinosaurs?

The legends are true, the lost world exists, a lush green paradise hidden deep in an isolated Arizona canyon. These cowboys thought stampeding cattle were bad, try it with an angry herd of something ten times the size. Buzzards? Buzzards, nothing; the birds here, flying or otherwise, make buzzards look like parakeets. And as for your basic predators, a gun that can drop a grizzly might as well be a peashooter against this valley’s hungry hunters.

Visual, exciting, action-packed, fast-paced, fun and funny, a treat from its brothel-mishap beginnings to its ultimate trick-riding shoot-em-up finish, Dinosaur Valley is, finally, the pulptastic and satisfying cowboys-vs-dinosaurs spectacular we’ve always needed.

**

Title: Ghost Light Road

Author: Adam Light

Publisher: Corpus Press

Website: http://www.evans-light.com/

It’s just past Halloween, so, some of us might still have decorations up, candy left over, and jack-o-lanterns not yet gone bad … and here, to help continue the theme, help keep the holiday spirit lingering a little bit more, is another bit of apple-bobbing!

I’d recently reviewed the Halloween anthology BAD APPLES 3, so, gladly seized the opportunity to enjoy yet another sample. “Ghost Light Road” is from BAD APPLES 1, the contribution of Adam Light (lot of lights around here, and for some pretty dark stuff! 😀 )

This particular slice of darkness involves Bill, recruited to drive his sister and her friends out investigating a local legend. A ghost-light, complete with grim accident backstory, is said to appear along a lonely stretch of road. Where, of course, several people have supposedly gone missing over the years.

Bill figures, what the heck, he was just sitting at home on Halloween night anyway. Besides, there’s booze, and if one of his sister’s friends is a jerk, the other turns out to be a total hottie. Even if they don’t see the “ghost-light,” it could be a good time.

Until the car gets stuck. Until Bill has to go for help, walking through the middle of nowhere in the dead of night, expecting to be murdered by backwoods chainsaw maniacs. And, as you might surmise, turns out that would’ve been getting off lucky.

**

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