Saturday, November 1, 2014

Blog Tour: Review: The Shotgun Arcana

Good morning everyone! Long time, no see! Fortunately, life is finally calming down (a lot) so now I'll be at least a little more active. And I have a surprise for you in about a month if everything goes to plan. But today, I get to review a great book for the blog tour for The Shotgun Arcana.

To see the full schedule, go HERE.


R. S. Belcher’s debut novel, The Six-Gun Tarot, was enthusiastically greeted by critics and readers, who praised its wildly inventive mixture of dark fantasy, steampunk, and the Wild West. Now Belcher returns to Golgotha, Nevada, a bustling frontier town that hides more than its fair share of unnatural secrets.

1870. A haven for the blessed and the damned, including a fallen angel, a mad scientist, a pirate queen, and a deputy who is kin to coyotes, Golgotha has come through many nightmarish trials, but now an army of thirty-two outlaws, lunatics, serial killers, and cannibals are converging on the town, drawn by a grisly relic that dates back to the Donner Party…and the dawn of humanity.

Sheriff Jon Highfather and his deputies already have their hands full dealing with train robbers, a mysterious series of brutal murders, and the usual outbreaks of weirdness. But with thirty-two of the most vicious killers on Earth riding into Golgotha in just a few day’s time, the town and its people will be tested as never before—and some of them will never be the same.

The Shotgun Arcana is even more spectacularly ambitious and imaginative than The Six-Gun Tarot, and confirms R. S. Belcher’s status as a rising star.


Tens List with R.S. Belcher

Top Ten List - Ten books you've read and will never forget.

1. The Skylark series by E.E. “Doc” Smith

2. The Lensmen series by E.E. “Doc” Smith

3. The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

4. The Elric Series by Michael Moorcock

5. The Colour Out of Space by H.P. Lovecraft

6. The Invisibles comic series by Grant Morrison

7. The Spenser series by Robert Parker

8. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

9. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

10. The Destroyer series by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir

My Thoughts: I'm actually extremely pleased with how this book turned out. I had high expectations from the beginning just because of the synopsis that I read. I wasn't disappointed.

First off, the setting is perfect. 1870's Old West, Saloon Town, whatever you want to call it. That's this place. But it's not a western story. It's mixed with paranormal aspects and monsters and such. It's written so well by the author.

The research done (or perhaps already known or imagined) is incredible. I know we start off with a rescue group meeting up with the Donner Party. Yes, the Donner Party. Just the description is that first chapter, about the camps, what's happening, is fantastic. As as far as I can tell, very accurate (I studied the DP for a little while). And then you have all the characters. Each has the Old West accent. Not one mistake. It's really lovely to read and just imagine the old timey feel.

I like the pacing of the novel. It starts off with a bang with the DP, but even in the next chapter, when we are in the main town setting, we get a huge thrill. That continues all the way through, which I very much appreciate.

The varied POVs work. Each chapter follows one person around for the most part, which is nice because I met so many different characters that way. I also got a feel for them-how they interacted, how they thought, etc.

I don't know if it's wholly necessary for me to say it, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's simply great. Belcher certainly knows how to take an unusual setting, pair it with unusual characters, and make a perfect novel.

Rating: 4.5 stars

About the Author
R.S. (Rod) Belcher is an award-winning newspaper and magazine editor and reporter. He has been a freelance writer for over a decade. He has written for local, state and international publications.

Rod has been a private investigator, a DJ, a comic book and game store owner and has degrees in criminal law, psychology and justice and risk administration, from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has done Masters work on a degree in Forensic Science at The George Washington University, as well as worked with the Occult Crime Taskforce for the Virginia General Assembly’s State Crime Commission.

Rod has written and edited for magazines like Starlog, Virginia Living, Virginia Business, Verve, and The Roanoker. He was managing editor of The Vinton Messenger newspaper and editor for numerous trade publications. He has done technical writing and has ghost-written political editorials and advertising copy. Both the politics and the advertising greatly honed his fiction writing skills.

He has been a writing guest at numerous conventions and writing conferences for many years. He is available for Bar Mitzvahs…

Rod began writing stories when he was 9 years old, selling stories and self- drawn comics to his mother’s beauty shop customers for a quarter a piece. That first quarter was the start of his road to Hell…

In a creative writing course he was selected for in 6th grade, Rod was told his SF/Fantasy writing was “silly trash” ( kinda true, but hey, I was in sixth grade…) but the lack of support from an adult “expert” made him feel like he couldn’t “really write” and he stopped writing for a few years. Thanks to the love, encouragement and support of his mom, Mabel, Rod started writing again when he got a typewriter for his 12th birthday. Thanks Mom.

You can write. Yes, you. You have a story, maybe a bunch of stories inside you screaming to be let out. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t write, or that your writing is no good. It’s good for you, good for the thing inside you that demands you get that story out somehow. Don’t write for praise, or for money, write for you, only you, and to hell with the rest of them.

He was once told by Elizabeth Taylor, he was “hot” and once told by George Takei he “looked terrible” ( he did). He watched a man die in the electric chair, investigated homicides, pissed off politicians and located missing children. The CIA told him to “clean up his act”- this was one of his proudest moments.

In his spare time ( which he has damn little of these days), Rod enjoys reading, hiking, shooting, gaming ( mostly tabletop RPG or board games, but some console), comics, researching the weird, spending time with his amazing kids, and long, thoughtful, walks in the rain…OK, the last one is crap, but the rest is true.

He lives in Roanoke Virginia with his children: Jonathan, Emily and Stephanie, Three cats and two dogs.

TWITTER: @AuthorRSBelcher


-Giveaway is INTL. Must be 13+ to enter-

Three (3) winners will receive a copy of The Shotgun Arcana

Thank you so much for stopping on this tour stop! Also, a huge thanks to Jean at JeanBookNerd Tours for letting me join. Thank you to Tor books for sending me my copy of TSA. And thanks to R.S. Belcher for joining me on a Tens List today!

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