Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives… and I will be picking two posts from the blogs of those participating from the first six months of 2020. If you don’t mind me rifling through your archives… just let me know in the comments or you can find out the full scope: Posts from Your Archives – Pot Luck – 2020
This is the second post for Diana Wallace Peach and this week and interview with the author of Guns of Perdition, Jessica Bakkers and Diana’s review.
A couple of years ago, I beta-read Guns of Perdition, and (woot woot) I’m delighted to see it out. I’d never read a western horror before this one, and Jessica Bakkers’ debut novel was a treat.
My review is below, but before going there, I wanted to pick this author’s brain a bit. If you follow Jessica’s blog, you’ve discovered a kind, friendly, introverted Australian with a wry sense of humor.
So, what twisting creative road led her to write an America western horror story? I asked Jess that question, and here’s her answer:
Jessica: I’ve always loved dark fantasy – both reading and writing it, but I was always much more of a sword and magic fancier than guns and cowboys. I actually had (and still have) a massive saga outlined about an assassin in Roman times that I was all set to write, when Grace (the main character from Guns of Perdition) popped into my head and demanded to be written. Actually, it was her strange love affair with a reverse werewolf that demanded to be written. Something about the story of tortured lovers who can only appreciate each other once a month by the light of the full moon needed to be told.
So, I wrote the first chapter of GoP without any clear idea where the story was heading, only knowing that I had two star-crossed lovers to play with and there would be supernatural themes and horror aplenty. I may be inspired by romance at times, but I am a dark writer at heart! The story – as stories do – evolved from there. Grace turned into a no-nonsense hardcase, so I needed a soft foil to counterbalance her loutish ways. Jessie was born. Then, somewhere around the middle of the first Part, the whole story – for all three novels – came to me. I was finally able to outline and write to some kind of plan…well, a loose plan! Call me a Planster!
After researching a different time period, different country, and completely different way of ‘jawing’ (talking), the characters and setting came alive for me, and telling their story went smoothly. Plot holes, editing, writer’s block, and crippling self-doubt… not so smooth. But, with the support and help of my friends in this writing community, I pulled it out, and am immensely proud to finally have my debut novel finished and published.
If you take a chance on Guns of Perdition, I hope you enjoy reading it – after all, that’s why we writers write, isn’t it?
Diana’s Review: Guns of Perdition
This is the first western-horror to cross my Kindle, and the blend of genres was a treat. Jessie is a young man sweeping up a saloon when Grace, one tough and dusty drifter, saunters in. Her face is hidden by a broad Stetson, and her holsters boast a pair of pearl-handled Smith & Wessons. It doesn’t take long for Grace’s guns to start blazing. But she isn’t shooting criminals. She’s hunting demons and out to get revenge against the Darksome Gunman. With no idea of what he’s signing up for, Jessie decides to tag along. Oh, Jessie, don’t do it!
The action in this dark and bloody story starts on the first page and doesn’t let up until the last. As Grace and Jessie ride through the wild west, each destination brings evil creatures, villains, and dangers, and the gunfights are frequent. They also pick up a few unsavory horsemen who join them on the hunt for vengeance.
As a horror novel, there’s plenty of gore, death, and horrifying scenes. I actually shouted, “Oh my God” near the end. Bakkers doesn’t hold back the punches, and I appreciated her unabashed commitment to the genre and plot. The over-arching basis of the story becomes increasingly clear throughout the read, and it gave me goosebumps.
The story is told from several POVs, and the pace moves along at a gallop. The characters are well-drawn and terribly flawed. I really liked Grace’s character, and I really hated Grace’s character. She’s sympathetic and ruthless. Jessie grows up and grows wiser, and he pays a price for falling for the drifter. The language uses western vernacular and has a western twang that I needed to get used to, but ended up enjoying.
This is the first book in a series. It doesn’t wrap up in a nice neat bow in the end, but I found it satisfying and will be reading on when book 2 comes out. Definitely a gruesome, creative, entertaining tale. Recommended for readers of horror and paranormal stories, who enjoy the Old West, flawed characters, and some intense writing.
©D.Wallace Peach 2020
About Diana Wallace Peach
I didn’t care for reading as a child – I preferred Bonanza and Beverly Hillbillies reruns, Saturday morning cartoons and the Ed Sullivan show. Then one day, I opened a book titled The Hobbit. Tolkien … literally changed my life.
I love writing, and have the privilege to pursue my passion full time. I’m still exploring the fantasy genre, trying out new points of view, creating optimistic works with light-hearted endings, and delving into the grim and gritty what-ifs of a post-apocalyptic world. Forgive me if I seem untethered in my offering of reads. Perhaps one day, I’ll settle into something more reliable. For now, it’s simply an uncharted journey, and I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I.
Please visit Amazon or Diana’s website to view all her books.
A recent review for Legacy of Souls
Legacy of Souls, Book Two of the Soul Swallowers Series, works well as a stand alone or as a sequel to the first book. It has been a while since I read the first book, and I wondered how well I could get back “into the zone.” No problem. I was pulled in immediately, getting to know and love the good characters, worrying about their safety when the bad characters came along.
The premise that one could swallow the soul of a deceased person and feel their influence, good or bad, plays a substantial role in the story. In some cases, having wisdom passed on through the soul stone can change the outcome in a dangerous situation. In other cases, swallowing a soul with more active skills, such and swordsmanship and discipline is even better. The important thing is to choose wisely and sparingly, lest madness take over.
The plot to save a kingdom and a loved one is believable, allowing that we are in a fantasy world, a world built beautifully by author Diana W. Peach. Her choice of language helps to set the scenes effortlessly as the action keeps us turning pages. As I read this novel, my one fear was that my e-reader would need its battery recharged before I could finish the book. I recommend this book to anyone who won’t mind losing a night’s sleep when they can’t put the book down.
Thanks for dropping in and Diana would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.