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Western - The Horror Novel by Dale Pierce - A Book Review

by Mike Haberfelner

July 2011

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A man has killed his wife. Now he wants to bury her body in Headstone, a ghosttown - only Headstone doesn't seem half as devoid of people as it was supposed to be, at least the cemetery man hasn't left yet. And happy about the newcomer, he gives him a graveyard tour that ends at the grave of one Luther Moorehouse, a writer who is said to tell stories even from beyond the grave, all our wifekiller has to do to hear some is to leave some money on his gravestone. To not arise suspicion, our killer does just that, and to his greatest surprise he hears a handful of stories ...

  • Tell Them Joe Is Coming: Quite some time ago, three outlaws have murdered a black man. Now they hide out in a ghosttown, and are confronted with the black man's ghots.
  • Headstone: A man is plagued by recurring nightmares about the shootout between a shady headhunter, an assfucking farmer and the family of one of the men the headhunter has killed that he finally decides to visit the scene of the shootout at the advice of his priest ... and apart from a few weird voices that could have been the wind, nothing much happens. But when he comes home, he finds his wife in bed with the priest and suddenly finds himself possessed by the headhunter's spirit, and ...
  • The Monster Within: A man has moved into a house stained by the sin of its former owners, an incestuous brother-and-sister duo and their bisexual lover. Worse, the house is still haunted by them. At first, the man feels nothing but repulsion, but eventually gets more and more attracted to the former owners' sexual shenanigans, until he commits suicide to join in ...
  • The Rope Museum: The first time in a big town, an outlaw of the old West visits the titular rope museum, a museum about hanging - not the best place to visit for a man who has escaped the hangman quite as many times as he did ... especially when he recognizes his guide to be a man he has shot long ago ...
  • Sanctuary: A ruthless killer has become a bounty hunter after he had killed a priest and felt some kind of remorse. Sure, as a bounty hunter he has continued killing, but on the right hand of the law. Now he has been shot by one of the outlaws he wanted to kill in the middle of nowhere, and he has only just managed to drag himself into an abandoned church. There he has to (violently) learn killing is a sin no matter what side of the law you're at ...
  • Graves: A man who had never amounted to much has made a documentary about gravestones from the old West, hoping to become immortal through his film. As a consequence (?), he shoots himself for publicity reasons.
  • Wrestler: A wrestler with a traveling circus faces a gunman who wants to avenge his brother the wrestler has killed. Looks like an uneven duel, but the wrestler has some supernatural curse to his advantage ...
  • Zealot: An insane religious fanatic kills those he thinks have sinned. He also thinks he does the work of the lord ...
  • Burning Candles: Three college girls visit a graveyard one night to hold a séance to bring the spirit of a serialkiller back from the beyond. I wonder at which point they though that was a good idea ...
  • Ride the Man Down: A gunman out for revenge goes after the gang that gunned his family down. He tracks down and kills the outlaws one by one, only to ultimately find out their leader has changed his life and become a priest. And in stories like this, killing a priest never goes unpunished ...
  • The Camp: Out in the plains, a bounty hunter after notorious outlaw Johnny Dragon has a chance meeting with an undertaker - and in stories like this, it's never a good omen to meet an undertaker out in the plains ...
  • Angel: A killer for hire has been saved by a mysterious gunman so many times he regards that man as his guardian angel. Too bad there are no guardian angels in the real world ...
  • Big Chief Pain: Drunk and furstrated, a man who has just been left by his girlfriend visits a carnival to go on an allegedly scary Western-themed ride. The ride starts out ridiculously fake - until it becomes all too real ...
  • The Dangling Man: Johnny Dragon, legendary outlaw with his killings notched into his forehead, is about to be hanged. But he has struck a deal with Satan, and Satan has promised to return him to (eternal) life if he has killed the right amount of people ...

Feeling lucky ?
Want to search for books by
Western - The Horror Novel
yourself ?

The links below
will take you
just there !!!

All the stories told, the wifekiller from the wraparound segment has to realize they were all just parts of the puzzle leading to his own terrible fate ...


Basically, Western, the Horror Novel is not a novel at all, but a collection of shortstories of the old-fashioned kind, with twist endings. Both the macabre details in these stories and their moral outcomes also bring the legendary EC Comics to mind. This is also true for the wraparound story that at the same time serves as the culmination of several of the stories and some interwoven narrative threads, like the Johnny Dragon subplot.

The stories as such vary considerably in quality, while some are really exciting in both structure and narration, others like Headstone and The Monster Within try too hard to be offensive by overemphasizing on their sexual aspects and this way losing steam halfway through. On the other hand, stories like Tell Them Joe is Coming and The Rope Museum brilliantly succeed in marrying Western genre mainstays to ghoststories.


As for the West author Dale Pierce tries to portray: He has written several non-fiction books about heroes and villains from the old West, which painfully shines through in some stories, especially Graves, where he can't stop himself telling anecdote after anecdote, losing sight of the actual story he's telling. However, in general Pierce's portrayal of the old West is closer to that of spaghetti Westerns than anything else, where everything's dirty, dusty and overly violent - which is just fine by me because Pierce really knows his way about spaghetti Westerns. And to blend the spaghetty Western genre's macabre elements with actual horror stories doesn't sound like too much of a stretch to me, either.

Some stories though, especially The Monster Within and Zealot, have nothing to do with the old West, and consequently feel a tad out of place in a collection like this. Interestingly, both The Monster Within and Zealot have been made into feature films by low budget Ohio production company Blue Kat Boneyard ...


In all, you better not expect a Pulitzer-prize winning novel when picking up Western, the Horror Novel - but somehow I suspect the title alone suggests as much anyways. Expect instead pulpy genre literature that at times scares you, at times grosses you out, and at times manages to create quite a bit of tension and suspense, and you will not be disappointed!


The book may be ordered online in book or economical e book form at


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD