Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Let yourself be caught by the dream-catcher
WILLIAM DRESDEN – DEAD RECKONING –
A thrilling novella. We are after the Civil war with all the
“freed” soldiers that turned their warlike skills into new professions, horse
thieves or highwaymen, all of them drifters in gangs from one western place to
the next. It is also the time when the war against the Indians started and they
were relentlessly pushed away into desolate reservations, systematically. The
Trail of Tears is in full swing and all kinds of stories are circulated based
on some Indian myths and folk tales with monsters and magical powers to
frighten the good American Christians and justify in their minds the genocide
being performed on these “barbaric” Indians.
In that atmosphere William Dresden invents a character,
Jesse who has the power to project fire when provoked and made angry. A
gunslinger he is but also a fire-starter in the best Stephen King’s tradition. The
beast is “The Limikkin. The Wendigo. The girl. Amélie.” And that beast takes
possession of cannibals. Amélie was its last victim, the last cannibal in the
story. And that girl has to be destroyed first as the girl and then as the beast.
Complicated. And then buried and her heart extracted from her chest before has
to be burnt separately. Definitely complicated like some vampire story.
There are some funny passages, particularly the poker game.
Jesse has some supernatural eyesight – or is it brain-sight? – which enables
him to feel what other people see or hear. So he is able to assess the hand of
cards of his opponent and he knows he can beat him. Unluckily you do not defeat
the king of the place in a Far West Wild West (fwwww:// or the Internet of the
nineteenth century’s Indian killing and gold rushing pioneers) city in the middle
of nowhere except if you can draw and shoot faster than him, and Jesse can of
He is connected to some Indians led by Sixkiller, a human
six-shooter of some sort. He is the one who brings the Indian magic in the
story, with extra-natural beasts, supportive or antagonistic but always ugly
and frightening. He is working on the various gates corresponding to the
various Indian directions in the Indian universe and he wants to prevent Jesse
from entering the Eastern Gate, though we do not know exactly why, maybe
meeting the famous Nyx, the supreme Indian Beast. To do that Sixkiller has to kill
the gatekeeper Desmond. Sorry Jesse, no gatekeeper any more. Well, he’ll have
to find another one.
Well written with the hybridizing of Clint Eastwood’s
western films and Stephen King’s gunslinger’s magic and earlier horror books.
Enjoy the horror western Indian hallucinatory feast. But do not take too much
of the magic mushroom, even if it looks like simple ayahuasca. Avoid drinking
that mixture that might bring you on the other side of the brick wall at the
dead end of the street to hell.