Top critical review
Cover art is amazing, the book itself... not so much.
Reviewed in the United States on August 19, 2021
I was intrigued by the idea of melding a western with that of the author's meta interludes, but the end result is quite slothful. The meta element doesn't actually affect the western plot, nor does the western plot affect the meta element...
As far as the western portion goes, it's passably written but completely void of surprises (Morrison also seems to enjoy repeating the same terms/phrases quite often--within a page, one expression is used 8 times) It's an extremely standard story told in a poorly structured way. There's so little in the way of development that nothing carries weight and it just comes off like a string of cliches buffered by some grisly displays of cruelty (so for peeps that just want the "splatter" you won't leave empty handed). Not to mention, the lack of any detail to anything occurring also creates holes and a great lack of logic.
The book is short, but it's really padded with the self-indulgent interludes in which a version of Morrison complains about not being able to write the western while having pretentious conversations with LA elitist types, talking highly of himself and having sex with women. I was waiting for these "interludes" to become involved; amount to something bigger--but they're ultimately just cringe... the discussion he has with a pal about what one might consider offensive terminology is especially eye-rolling.
I'm not sure what Morrison was trying to accomplish. This is easily the worst of the Splatter Westerns I've read in this series because he didn't seem to care at all--and then padded an underdeveloped story complaining about how he really doesn't care about much of anything. I'm curious as to what Death's Head Press thought when this was turned in. It's like he's trying to play a character in an unmade Bret Easton Ellis project. Either way, I'm not sure what all this praise is for (plants?). Anyone can write shock, it's real easy. But it takes talent to weave a narrative that not only contains shock, but also has power, ingenuity and passion behind it. But that cover art is still killer.