by Brett Riley
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Pub Date 01 Sep 2020 | Archive Date 23 Jul 2021
Like a cylinder in a six-shooter, what goes around, comes around.
In 1887 near the tiny Texas town of Comanche, a posse finally ends the murderous career of The Piney Woods Kid in a hail of bullets. Still in the grip of blood-lust, the vigilantes hack the Kid’s corpse to bits in the dead house behind the train depot. The people of Comanche rejoice. Justice has been done. A long bloody chapter in the town’s history is over.
The year is now 2016. Comanche police are stymied by a double murder at the train depot. Witnesses swear the killer was dressed like an old-time gunslinger. Rumors fly that it’s the ghost of The Piney Woods Kid, back to wreak revenge on the descendants of the vigilantes who killed him.
Help arrives in the form of a team of investigators from New Orleans. Shunned by the local community and haunted by their own pasts, they’re nonetheless determined to unravel the mystery. They follow the evidence and soon find themselves in the crosshairs of the killer.
PUBLICITY AND MARKETING • Marketing and publicity campaign to historical fiction, literary fiction, thriller/suspense, and social media outlets. • Key outlets: Goodreads, NPR.org Books, Los Angeles Times, Midwest Book Review, New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Foreword, Desert Companion, Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, USA Today, Houston Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, Austin American-Statesman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Antonio Express-News, The Times, Focus Daily News, Baton Rouge Advocate, New Orleans Advocate, American Press, Shreveport Times. • Author signings and events in Nevada, California, Texas, and Louisiana. • Available on NetGalley & Edelweiss • National radio and TV interviews • National blog tour and promotion on the author’s social media platforms • Promotion and giveaways on Goodreads.com, Amazon.com, Imbrifex.com, Facebook.com, Bookbub.com, Booksends.com, FussyLibrarian.com, OfficialBrettRiley.com, and others. • Publicity and promotion in conjunction with the author’s speaking engagements
Average rating from 75 members
<i> Comanche </i> is a murder mystery, a gun-slinging western and a ghost story all rolled into one. Raymond Turner is a successful private investigator who has developed a serious drinking habit since losing his wife. The only thing that might save him is the need to help his sister before she loses her husband and her son. <i> Comanche </i> is the first novel by screenplay and short story author Brett Riley.
Raymond Turner only wants to drink and forget. His partner Darrell LeBlanc tries everything to break Raymond out of his downward spiral before their business is ruined. Nothing works until two people are killed at his sister Rennie’s diner and she asks for his help. The most urgent part is that the rumor is that a ghost did it and he (or it) has more people on his list, including Rennie’s husband and her son.
The story is set up extremely well. The first chapter gives the historical background. Then we move to modern day and the murders take place. Being a small town everyone starts a rumour. It makes sense to call in out side help and Rennie’s brother is a private investigator. The tension builds rapidly from there. I suspect I could listen to Riley tell stories around a campfire all night long.
The characters are very well developed. Raymond is a initially a loser but smart enough to have potential. Darrell is his childhood friend and protector. Their relationship is tight and consistent throughout the novel. My favorite character is Rourke, Raymond’s brother-in-law. He hates Raymond because he expects him to screw up and hurt Rennie. He also doesn’t want Raymond to hurt the town’s reputation. I think he is a great character because he has all the right intentions but can’t help but be a jerk. All the other characters are developed enough that if and when they get hurt the reader is invested enough to be shocked and even sad.
I know fundamentally that this story couldn’t take place but it is done in such a way that I almost believe it. I even sympathise with the murderer. What happens to him shouldn’t happen to anyone and revenge almost makes sense.
Finally, I have never been to this part of Texas but now I want to go. The countryside sounds like it is beautiful and the people are strong enough to live and die for each other. Hopefully the number of shotguns available is exaggerated!!
I highly recommend this book to those like fast paced action packed novels. I give it a 5 on 5. I want to thank Net Galley and Imbrifex Books for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
Like a good gumbo, COMANCHE, Brett Riley’s debut novel, is a wonderful mix of ingredients. It’s a throwback to violent, strange westerns like High Plains Drifter, it’s a southern gothic horror dripping with tension and grit and it’s a compelling drama driven by a sprawling cast of characters that would make Stephen King proud.
The small Texas town Comanche is rocked by a double murder outside of a newly built Diner. Witnesses say the killer was dressed as a gunslinger. Some say it’s the ghost of The Piney Woods Killer, a bandit from the 18th century, back for revenge, disturbed by the new building over his death site. But is this true or is something else at play?
COMANCHE had me at ghosts and grit, small towns and outsiders, murder and mystery but what really works here is Brett Riley’s prose. I really enjoyed the execution of the story. Sometimes you get a novel that’s wordier then it needs to be or one that drags its feet to set up characters and events- Riley’s style is all thriller, no filler. It’s lean and mean and to the point. Not a word is wasted in the breath-taking fast pace. Some points - moods, character descriptions, are repeated a bit here or there or plain strange even from a POV, but other than this, it’s economic storytelling.
Its a breezy read, speeding by set-piece by set-piece, and while it doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the genre, it establishes itself as being a solid genre piece that delivers on the thrills and violence that could satiate a horror fan.
Given its sprawling cast, I do wish that there was more time spent with some characters so that the stakes felt a bit higher. As it is, a death, say, doesn’t have much of an impact on me because I don’t particularly feel any ties to the characters. I’m more along for the ride, which delivers on its fun.
That being said, COMANCHE is a tasty southern dish that goes down nicely and sets up Brett Riley as one to watch.
This book wasn't quite a mystery, but it was an enjoyable thriller! It was a very quick read for me and I enjoyed almost every minute. It definitely had a few bumps along the way, but it was a solid read for me. I am typically not a big fan of 'ghost hunter' type stories, but the plot of this really pulled me in and kept my attention!
Some characters left me longing to know more about them, which is both good and bad. Others I felt like had little purpose being in the story. For example LeBlanc and his backstory was really unexplored, yet his was a primary supporting character for Raymond. I really had the desire to know more about LeBlanc, so I could connect on a deeper level emotionally, but I was left with little to hold on to... which resulted in me caring very little for the events impacting him or his feelings about the other characters (which was critical to one of the smaller romance events sadly!).
The plot was fast paced, but I felt like the later half of the book was a repeating event as they tried and failed during the conflict over and over. Don't get me wrong, I loved the plot overall, but at the end I was just getting exhausted. I am not sure if it is because the fast events never had a slow down, or if it was because the final show downs took multiple tries with the protagonist, but I had a hard time staying with it at the end. Additionally, in hindsight I really wished I wouldn't have known from Chapter 1 that the ghost was real... I wish I could have been bouncing back and forth within the theories the agency had all along the way with them.. instead I just felt like I kept having a sense of "hurry up and realize the ghost is real, lets go!". With all that said, the ending itself landed for me, it was rough in some ways, but it landed and felt complete.
Action scenes were hard for me to keep up with as it was difficult to envision how things were playing out around the diner and Dead House locations with the multitude of characters on site and multiple shifting perspectives. I read a lot of large fantasy epics, so shifting perspectives isn't new to me, but something about the writing for this felt like the perspective shifts during the major action sequences was jarring and left me having to back up and obtain my barring's again before continuing to read at times.
I am honestly really excited to see how this authors writing evolves and improves as he continues to publish more books in the future - I will be keeping my eye out for sure! This was quite an adventure of a story and is something I am glad to have had the opportunity to read. If I had one ask, beside the change with chapter 1, it would be to have the book be a little longer with a slow spot in the middle to explore some of the backgrounds on key characters such as LeBlanc so I could connect with them before the events of the second half of the book.
When selecting this book, I hadn't appreciated that it was a supernatural thriller, which is not normally a go-to genre for me. However, this book was well-written with a good dose of suspense and action/adventure such that I actually questioned whether it was a ghost story of not.
Despite my initial reaction, I really enjoyed the story and would happily read further books based on the agency characters.
This was such a fun read. It's been ages since I read a good ghost story. I loved the setting of Comanche although I'm not sure I'd like to live there. It was well drawn with it's heat, humidity, and lots of delicious iced tea. I loved the characters - the two main ones Darrell and Raymond, who are best friends and private investigators from New Orleans; and spiritualist Betsy and professor Jake who go along to help solve a murder and a mystery and get more than they bargained for.
As I said, this was fun to read. The author doesn't use speech punctuation marks and it took me a couple of pages to settle into this way of reading, but I did and it wasn't a problem. I could really hear the characters talking with their Southern accents.
Gunslinging murder mystery supernatural thriller. What?? All that. Comanche by Brett Riley has a lot of genres mixed in but it works well.
Well written supernatural fiction. Would like to see more books around the main characters and their ever growing group of helpers
I LOVED this book. I will be honest and say I didn’t expect to enjoy this book. I am not typically a fan of anything related to the “Wild West”. This book blew me away. Between the colorful character descriptions, enrapturing story line, and vivid storytelling, this book was absolutely worth the read.
A ghost seeking revenge, a man trying to reclaim his life and the descendants of the people who humiliated the ghost in the 1800 all converge on the depot. This is one of those books I caution you to not start an hour before bedtime or you may find yourself spending the night awake reading. A well-written action packed tale of a revenge that will not quit. Great read.
Highly entertaining debut novel!!!
What well-rounded reader reviewer doesn't like a well written Western ghost story???
Easy one day read written in the style similar to Cormac McCarthy, without a lot of correct grammar and punctuation to illustrate the story........
Lots of action from beginning to end would actually make a really fun movie with the right cast!!!
PS thank you Netgalley for the freebie!!!
This is not your typical ghost story. Which is exactly why you won't be able to put this book down once you start. It is a refreshing change from the standard unsuspecting resident moving into a haunted house tale.
The book opens in 1887 Comanche, Texas with the emergence of a recently deceased outlaw named 'The Piney Woods Kid' and detailing the back story of his capture. Followed by a very gruesome death and disrespectful method of burial. Once the Author captivates you with the tale of our newly risen ghost he catapults us into the present and passionately plucks at our heartstrings. Taking us down the grief-stricken life of Raymond Turner. Raymond is on a self-destructive drunken path to nowhere fast after the death of his wife Marie. His business partner and best friend Darrell LeBlanc is doing his best to keep the business going and Raymond from being lost to the abyss of despair when Raymond's sister calls them down to Comanche to investigate some murders at her new diner. Skeptical of the tales she's hearing from witnesses at the diner when these murders occur and desperate to see the killer stopped before their small town loses the tourism income it relies on, she goes against her husband, the Mayor's, wishes to bring in her brother and his private investigation team.
This team of non-believers finds themselves face to face with the ghost of The Piney Woods Kid and questioning reality as they know it. Determined to think it is all some elaborate movie magic hoax they attempt to draw out the live culprit behind the murders. Scarcely living to tell the tale of their gaffe. Recruiting the help of an erudite acquaintance Prof Frost they learn what they need to confront a ghost. Accomplishing their goal will prove more perilous than everyone imagines. As the body count rises their courage wanes. Will they save the town of Comanche?
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Comanche by Brett Riely is a novel following a team investigating murders in Comanche, Texas. Mr. Riley is an award winning writer, who teaches literature, creative writing, and composition at the College of Southern Nevada, this is his debut novel.
The people of Comanche, Texas managed to capture and kill The Piney Woods Kid, a murderer that has been the dredge of the town. They did not let up after his death though, and grimly chopped him up.
In 2016, multiple murders occur around the old “death house” and the community in in shambles. A group of investigators from New Orleans come to see if they can free the town from The Kid’s legacy.
This book was a lot of fun, a mix of many genres which don’t seem like they should work together. Comanche by Brett Riely starts in the violent Wild West, and turns into a gothic horror story, and somewhere along the way it becomes a tense and gripping drama.
I don’t know how, but the author managed to create a big, interesting cast of characters without losing the narrative, pace, or storyline. The narrative is crisp and clean, right to the point, and doesn’t waste the reader’s time superfluous descriptions.
There is lots of good banter, sometimes you can’t tell if the character is saying, thinking, or just gesturing (oh, you) but the author gets the feeling across efficiently and quickly which makes the reading much more pleasurable.
The noir in the west type of story worked wonderfully in this instance, especially when the investigators from New Orleans show up, dealing with their own issues as well as the town’s. Each character had their own good motivation to act the way they do and their interaction with the rest of the cast in the novel.
Ghost stories are really not my genre, but this is a solid book that delivers a good yarn. I found the novel to be very entertaining, full of action, and best of all, very well written.
This is a great murder mystery. I enjoyed the way Riley mixed the historical with the current time period. The book has a fast paced plot, that is riveting.
Not my normal genre but something about this book caught my eye. I really liked this mystery and the book was very easy to get immersed in.
I received an ARC from netgalley for my honest review.
Comanche is like no other book. The Piney Woods Kid is vicious outlaw in the old west. When the local posse finally catch him, they are not satisfied with just killing him. They butcher him.
Decades go by. Another century has come and gone. The citizens of Comanche are preparing for a pow wow. Suddenly people dying from mysterious causes. It almost seems like they were shot, but no visible gunshot wounds appear on the outside. Then, the witnesses talk about seeing a ghost.
I had no idea what to expect when I began reading this book. It even took my quite a few chapters before I truly go into the story line. Once I did, I was hooked. The mystery of all mysteries...how to stop a murderer if he is already dead?
Raymond is a perfectly flawed hero. A recovering alcoholic trying to find his way through his grief. He is forced to face his demons while trying to save what is left of his family. He best friend and partner always there to support and save him.
I love the strong powerful women. Women who are willing to fight and be strong. Rennie willing to face her husband, her town and her brother to protect those she loves. Johnson willing to fight to protect her friends. Becky, the medium, falling in love and learning to use her gift as a weapon.
The only complaint I had was the dialogue was not properly marked with quotations marks. It sounds silly but I had a hard time realizing when the characters were thinking or speaking. I am assuming this will be changed when the book comes out officially.
This was a nice little ghost story. It kinda reminded me of something Preston& Child might write. I enjoyed the story but at times found it a bit confusing. Maybe there were too many characters, I had a hard time keeping them straight
The way he wrote their dialogue was a bit different too.
Thanks to Netgalley for the early copy
I loved this book. From the very beginning, I was immediately hooked. Stayed up all night to finish it and am glad I did!
In his debut novel, Comanche, Brett Riley gives us an intriguing hybrid novel. Part thriller, part ghost story, part old western. The opening chapter chronicling the violent history of the small town of Comanche and the men who not only executed, but also desecrated the body of an outlaw called the Piney Woods Kid is a great hook. Over 100 years later, the old death house sits empty. It doesn’t stay that way long though, as the enterprising new mayor seeks to breath new life into the town by building a brand new diner with good food, and historic interest that he hopes to attract new tourists into the area. Life seems to be going pretty well for everyone until two town residents are killed mysteriously. Both having suffered traumatic injuries without a weapon used. Witnesses claim that both people were shot by a mysterious man dressed in a cowboy outfit and colored a bland shade of grey. Still in recovery from the death of his wife, Raymond and his partner come into the investigation ready to nab a killer and put the idea of death by ghost to rest. They certainly get more than they bargained for. Overall this is fun story that reads quickly. It is written well and is a strong debut showing. Review posted to Goodreads
Review by 2shay..........🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.....
Many years ago I was enrolled at Tarleton State in Stephenville, Texas, just 34 miles from Comanche. I’m very familiar with the area, so I had to have this book. The majority of authors who write about Texas get it wrong, so my expectations were muted. I was very pleasantly surprised. Raised in Arkansas and making his home in Nevada, the author, Brett Riley, has either spent a lot of time in Texas or he does remarkable research. Either way, I felt like I had been transported back to my college days.
Mr. Riley chose to forego the use of quotation marks for dialog, a technique I’ve seen a few times with varied reactions. I’m not sure quite how to describe the difference I felt with this book. Mr. Riley’s transitions between prose and dialog is seamless. I don’t want to sound pretentious, which would be pointless anyway, but it added an increase in the flow of consciousness, an awareness of the subtlety of emotion or fear. Very nicely done.
This book begins in 1887 with a short prologue detailing the events that are the precursor to the main story. We then move on to New Orleans in 2013, and meet the main character, Raymond Taylor. Raymond has been battling the bottle since the death of his wife. Marie. His grief and despair has derailed his life until his business partner, Darrell LeBlanc, steps in and helps Raymond pull himself back together.
The two men own the Turner Agency, mostly following cheating husbands and other private detective jobs. Then Raymond gets summoned to Comanche by his sister who lives there with her husband, the local mayor. There have been two strange murders on the grounds of a local diner, a new business that just happens to be owned by the mayor. The witnesses say the killer was dressed like a cowboy in an old western movie.
Hang on to your hats! Part western, part ghost story, part cop drama, you are in for a thrilling, action packed whirlwind that would make an incredible movie. The possible special effects alone would be worth the price of admission. Needless to say, I loved this book and recommend it to everyone! Grab a copy as soon as possible and...
Enjoy! ARC graciously provided by Inbrifex Books and NetGalley for an honest and voluntary review.
An Old West ghost story, gunslingers and rock salt. A paranormal thriller that will appeal to fans of Stephen King and Supernatural!
"No one paid any attention to the wind that sometimes kicked up when certain townsfolk stepped onto the depot grounds. And if the patrons noticed the way the air shimmered near the storage building, none of them spoke of it."
When private investigators Raymond Turner and Darrell LeBlanc head out to Comanche, Texas, to look into the murders that seem to be specifically targeting local patrons of the Depot Diner, they begin hearing whispers of The Piney Woods Kid legend. Joined by a team of friends and locals, they soon find out The Kid has some serious unfinished business.
This book was fast paced and full of good old western action. I really enjoyed the fun banter between characters, which provided some relief to the serious task at hand. Although the final shootout did become rather tiring, with the repeated surging into battle and then retreating, there were no major unexpected twists and the ending wrapped up everything we'd come to know throughout the book nicely.
I want to start off by saying thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book, it was a very good read easy to follow along with storyline and characters. This was a new author for me but I very much enjoyed it, thank you for the opportunity and I look forward to reading more by this author again. I highly recommend this book to everybody.
This is not my usual type of read but wanted to try it out. Brett Riley is a very skilled writer and this being his first novel I am confident he will succeed with others. The story, though far fetched - even the characters didn't want to believe what was happening, was interesting. I believe his skill at writing was a factor in my completing the book. I had to find out how it ended. You can feel the pain and agony of loss, and the hard rehab from deep despair, that could cripple you emotionally and destroy your future and determined strength. The seeking of revenge that traveled over a hundred years. The story is about a possible ghost that was set out to revenge his own murder that happened over a hundred years prior. He is after the descendants of the men who killed him and desecrated his body. They of course don't believe in ghosts. P.I. Raymond Turner and his partner are asked to stop whomever or whatever is killing towns folk. I think if you want to read something different for a change it's worth your time. My rating of four stars shows his excellent writing ability. You knew the writer understood the characters and I liked it had humor in it also. Thank you NetGalley, Brett Riley and the publishers for allowing me to read this ARC this is my honest opinion.
Comanche was an enjoyable piece of fiction intertwining a historical event, the death of a vigilante over 100 years ago with a modern day crime. The setting was wonderful and I felt myself right in the action in the deep south of the USA with the humidity, the heat and the uncomfortable sweating. Riley's characterisations could hve been a little better researched as at times the smallest details were missing, and I often would have liked to know more about some of the individuals I encountered. Mystery and suspense were maintained throughout however, and possibly because I was unaware of some of the details of some characters. It was a fun read linking it in with ghosts and tall tales, and it's a book that I would recommend as a light read, not too taxing, and fun also.
As soon as I read the synopsis I knew I had to read t&is book, I grew up in Texas so the setting was pretty spot on for me. I had never heard of this author, Brett Riley, but I will be keeping an eye out for his future work. He is a very skilled writer and I could see the setting and characters clearly. I don't usually read stories about ghosts and such but this was very well written.
Thank you NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read this ARC
Old West, meets New West in this thriller/ghost story.
There is someone that is terrorizing and murdering people in the small town of Comanche, TX. A private investigator, who is a relative of one of the townsfolk, is recruited to investigate the crimes.
What follows is a gripping story that begs for a series.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4. Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
This book was different than I thought it would be. I initially asked for it based upon the cover. I guess you cant judge a book by its cover.
I loved not only the ghost supernatural aspect of the story, but also liked the mystery and intrigue that the book had to offer.
I am not usually one to read mysteries, however this book offered a good balance between both super natural and suspense and mystery.
I will probably re-read this book again or suggest it to my book club as a read. This is a good book to read wen it is dark and snowy outside.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Brett Riley, and Imbrifex Books for a chance to review this book. I was given this book for free in exchange for my fair and honest opinion. I have not felt compelled, in any way, by the author, the publisher, or NetGalley to alter my sincerest thoughts on this book. Every word of this review is solely and completely mine.
Comanche is a modern murder mystery steeped in an old west mythology and ghost story. The prior evil occurs in 1887 near Comanche, Texas when a posse goes after the Piney Woods Kid and the frontier justice mindset causes them to not just shoot the desperado but hack him to pieces.
In the present, when all the surviving family members of that long ago posse come together and reunite in Comanche for a photo op, the apparent ghost of the Piney Woods Kid is agitated enough by the commemoration that he returns to seek vengeance on the heirs that have grown Comanche into a small but respectable town. The supernatural elements are handled well. Good writing. Excellent descriptions of the settings. Super character development. I’m not really fond of supernatural, but I did find the story gripping and scary.
The plot of this novel is an interesting one. Mr. Riley tells a great ghost story. The character were believable and real, even the ghost. The main criticism I have about this novel is there were no quotation marks when someone was talking. If I have to go back over something I just read, then the author has not a good job of explaining what is going on. The main character is Raymond, who has a drinking problem, because of his wife's death. His partner and best friend, LeBlanc, tries to help him break this drinking problem. In the meantime, Raymond's sister has a bigger problem as something or someone is killing people in her town. Her husband is the mayor, and he hates Raymond because Raymond has made his sister upset with his drinking problem. Raymond and LeBlanc are private detectives in New Orleans. Their consultant is a psychic named Betsy McDowell. The fourth member to help them with the ghost is Jake Frost a professor from LSU. As they try and figure out how to stop the ghost, who is killing people, they are having to fight Raymond's brother-in-law who does not believe in the ghost. The ghost is an outlaw that was killed in the 1800s in the town, then cut into pieces and scattered. The ghost is killing the descendants of his murderers.
A very unusual book - a murder mystery where the culprit is a ghost! Which the reader knows from the outset, although it takes a while to really 'believe' that this ghost is out to wreak revenge.
The characters are likeable - Raymond who is drinking to forget the death of his wife, Le Blanc, his partner, who looks out for him. They are then drawn from Louisiana to Texas by Ray's sister who's town is being plagued by this murderous ghost.
I agree with other reviewers that some scenes, particularly around the climax in the Death House, are difficult to envisage. I thought they all drew up in cars, but then they seemed to spend days walking around trying to get in - the picture just isn't clear enough for the reader to imagine the scene.
Overall a cracking read, kept my attention and the reader was involved throughout. I hope to see more of these characters, and see them develop a little more.
Thank you to NetGalley and Imbrifex Books for allowing me access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
A really good western where the bad guy just happens to be a ghost and the good guys include an alcoholic, a physic, a professor of the paranormal and a man tasked with keeping everyone focus'd. The backstory set the scene for a revengeful ghost to terrorize a town who hires the motley crew. It is a surprisingly very good book. If you were giving it a grade it would be an A++ but we will just have to settle for 5 stars.
A Surprise in Disguise
I didn’t know if I would like Comanche. A ghost story about an outlaw cowboy, however, this book took me by surprise. Let me just say that I love a ghost story, but I didn’t see how it was going to work. The book doesn’t have a different twist on a ghost story, but it’s different in its own way.
This was a great read for me as it had all the elements I enjoy. It started with the action right away, and it has all the elements of a good story with a tragic death, family tension, and a horrible murder, all set in Texas. Riley gets extra marks for a Supernatural reference that made me chuckle. (Seeing as how that’s my #1 Favorite TV show … I will be sad when it ends.)
All in all, this book was a beautiful distraction and great time killer. I would highly recommend.
A Surprise in Disguise, Lipford
This was a very fun read. A modern western ghost story, it was different than anything I have ever read before. Comanche, a small town in Texas, is a sudden crime scene when two people are killed outside the newly opened diner. The witnesses claim that they saw a gunslinger committing these murders. Some even believe that this killer is of ghost form, the Piney Woods Kid, returned from the grave. Two private detectives from New Orleans accompanied by their psychic sidekick will have to stop these murders before it is too late..
It was a fast past read and kept me engaged until the last page.
My only complaint was that without quotations marks it was a little hard to follow along with who was talking..
Thank you NetGalley, Imbrifex Publishing, and author Brett Riley for providing me with a free digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.
This is a book for the lovers of mafia, old gangs, guns, armies and that type of explosive action! I couldn't put it aside from my hands from the first time I picked it up and I am really glad that I didn't do it. I gave this book a rating of 5 stars because it totally deserves it!
This modern western ghost story is a fun, engaging and quick read. The timing and pacing are on point and the characters pull you into their plight as the story unfolds. Time well spent.
Louisiana detective duo Raymond Turner and Darrell LeBlanc find themselves in the town of Comanche, Texas, investigating a series of murders that may have been committed by a wild west bank robber ghost.
I went into this book genuinely expecting a Scooby-Doo style reveal about the murders and what I got was instead one of the best meldings of the traditional detective novels and the supernatural that I’ve read in recent history. I really enjoyed this book. There were a few detective cliches I’ve grown tired of, like the “Detective with a drinking problem and tragic past” but there was enough fresh action in this to keep it entertaining throughout. I will warn you that it’s more ghost adventure than detective mystery, but if that’s what you’re in the mood for, you’ll enjoy Comanche.
This will appear in printed format in issue #2 of TABLETOPS & TENTACLES (July 2020)
Holy blended genres Batman! This debut book walks the line between procedural/police mystery/gothic horror/ghost story/PI and it almost works. There's a couple of tiny jarring bits that tipped me out of the story, but nothing that iddn't let me re-engage straight away.
A solid, interesting book that's well worth the read.
The author does a wonderful job of giving details. The story line itself is interesting, but the beginning was slow for my taste. Sure, you see some action in the beginning and you also get a brief story of who The Kid is and what happened in 1887 in Comanche, Texas.
However, I couldn’t connect to any of the characters, not Raymond, not The Kid or even Le Blanc. The story and the plot are unique, but it wasn’t my cup of tea, unfortunately.
Overall, even though it wasn’t my cup of tea, the story line is a good one, I enjoyed the twist and the author does a good job in telling the story
Comanche – Brett Riley
If the Wild West genre is dead, then Comanche, by Brett Riley, is a good shot at resurrecting it. The story, not a mystery but a ghost story with outlaws, follows the journey of Raymond Turner, P.I., to redemption. An alcoholic haunted by the loss of his wife, Ray leads his partner LeBlanc, medium McDowell, and professor Frost from New Orleans to Texas in order to solve the murders being committed by the ghost of The Kid. They will all have to outgrow their own fears, their own scepticism, to recruit a motley crew of future victims in order to defeat the phantom and halt its vengeful killing spree.
Despite their failings, the characters all have something for the reader to root for, creating the empathy which promotes investment in the story. Mr Riley builds it well, with enough unexpected outcomes to the plans to avoid simplified heroes. Also, he stages the action to the ineffable showdown all good Western will have, so much so that even the cliché event is welcome, cinematic, convoluted, atmospheric, and action-packed.
Who would enjoy this
Comanche is a smart creation. It would appeal to people who enjoy a tale of human self-improvement. It will also be a good choice for lovers of cinema with big showdowns, to the point they might even forgive the ghost part of the story. On the other hand, Mr Riley’s work should be recommended to lovers of mild paranormal fiction. Nevertheless, I believe its strongest point is the readers’ identification with the characters – if you’re an empathetic reader, this will bring out all your emotions.
Who should give this a pass
If you are looking for a Western, or a book in the horror ghost range, this is not the book for you, as you will be disappointed. This is no cowboy story any more than it is a true ghost story – both these are elements to help carry the main tale, but they are not really explored, leaving such audience unsatisfied.
On the other hand, if you get overly attached to characters, or have difficulty handling descriptions of human and personal loss, better leave this volume on the shelf. Comanche is a work for entertainment, thus it is unsuitable for readers looking for more than that.
Conclusions and suggestions
Even before reading the information on Mr Riley, I was impressed at how very Hollywood-esque I found this book: the way it follows and describes actions, the inner monologue of the characters, it all makes one think of voiceover; the showdown, crucial to the genre of action where I’d also slot this book, made me think of iconic film gunfights; the segmentation of action intro scenes, including staging of places and actors; even the way it barely introduces elements such as the American West, or the phantasmagorical, yet uses them as an element of mystery throughout the novel. It was not surprising to learn that Brett Riley is both a teacher, and a scriptwriter, skills he has clearly employed when creating this work. Comanche is definitely engaging, an example in structure and characterisation.
I knew, when I picked it, more or less what awaited me inside. I was not disappointed. Well done, Mr Riley, this was a piece that should do well with an audience wanting fun and redemption, action and a bit of anxiety.
I was, however, quite frustrated with a few of the elements and characteristics of this book. To begin with, I don’t really get all these alcoholic/addicted characters which seem to populate more and more stories (such as Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Girl on the Train, or Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas). I have a similar issue with swearing or general rudeness. These may well be because I’m not cool enough, but the more the point is driven that the character is craving for a drink, swears, acts in revolting ways, etc., the less I am interested in the character. I can do with a couple of instances, then it becomes a matter of “I got it, the character has that issue, no need to keep telling me, I got it, all right, I got it!”
This sort of repetition was rife in this book, thus I often lost interest, ending up skim reading certain paragraphs. It may be a personal peeve, but it was sad to handle, considering the excellent characterisation done in this book otherwise which also affected, to an extent, the showdown scene. After a wonderful pace throughout the book, this scene had everything thrown at it: the weather, the clichés, the repetition of action. It became clear the writer was enamoured with it, but the readers, less so. However, I am certain it would make an excellent sequence on film.
Something else I did not enjoy was the lack of speech punctuation, even during dialogues. I understand the absence in works such as Angela’s Ashes, or E. E. Cummings, where the authors aim to mirror stream of consciousness. In this tome, it was confusing unnecessary, and to any lover of language, frankly frustrating. It is as though Mr Riley had forgotten that any deviation from norm is an indicator of added meaning, such as when vernacular appears in italics, yet he had no added meaning to be found attached.
I imagine it is quite clear what my recommendations are to be for this novel:
• Use punctuation correctly, it’s there for a reason.
• Trust your readers to understand the character once you have described him/her, so only a few and far between repetitions are needed.
• Honour the tropes you use in your narrative, giving them enough depth to be relevant.
• What works in cinema does not necessarily translate well onto paper, as it takes different amounts of attention to watch an event than to read and imagine it. Beware of mixing media.
I had a good time reading this book. It's a fun thriller/horror/ghost story that keeps you turning the pages. I appreciate the character arc that we see the main character go through from the beginning to the end. This book definitely has series potential.
The formatting for dialogue is different from what you typically see in books, which can take a moment to get past. I didn't even notice it after a minute of reading except for every so often where I would end up reading a sentence three times trying to figure out if that was supposed to be dialogue or just part of the text.
So, some of the Amazon reviews of this book reference the lack of quotation marks making this book unreadable for some.
This is a legit concern. When I began reading the book, that was frustrating. It was hard to tell dialogue from inner thoughts and descrptions. But as I kept reading, it settled in for me and I was able to read and appreciate the author’s style.
However, I’d definitely suggest downloading the sample before buying to see if you can hack the style.
If you can, what you get is a really solid ghost story.
You’ve got parts that are just really eerie – the chills down the spine sort of creepy. You’ve got a ghost story that’s both tragic and horrific. And you’ve got some wonderful characters who just hope will come out of this okay.
I really liked this book.
It may take a little getting used to, but once you do, it’s all too easy to get lost in the story.
I’d definitely read the author again!
I have read Comanche by Brett Riley. This is not really my cup of coffee but there was something about this book I actually liked. I usually don't read science fiction, hooror or ghost stories. But, this one had a western theme and I like those. How do you solve a murder when the killer is a ghost? Well if you read this you'll get one sollution. It is a rather entertaining story and I will see in the future what Riley will write. I must thank #Netgalley and #ImbrifexBooks for giving me this arc to review.
i really loved the mixture of horror and western, I wish we had more of this genre. The author was able to create a interesting world and I liked the characters.
Comanche is a thriller/murder mystery type of book.
It's nonstop action keeps your interest through out . The plot was not what I was expecting but I enjoyed the fast pace of it. The characters grew on me and I wouldn't mind seeing them in another book by this author.
Lots of action from beginning to end will keep you well entertained.
Pub Date 01 Sep 2020
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
I finished “Comache”, a western ghost story and murder mystery. As an avid horror/ thriller reader, the story line was refreshing for me.
Raymond and Leblanc are two private investigators. Raymond, who recently lost his wife, has started abusing alcohol to forget the pain. Leblanc tries to help Raymond so that the alcoholism does not destroy their business but is unsuccessful at pulling Raymond out of his misery. Absolutely nothing works until two people are killed at his sisters diner in Comanche, Texas. Rumor is that a ghost did it! Is it a cowboy ghost? Is it not?
The characters, in my opinion, were extremely
well developed. The readers gets a
sense for who they are and their personalities with out much backstory. I loved Raymond and Leblanc’s banter in the book. It really brought the characters to life. I was able to connect with all the characters and felt a loss when something bad happened.
I loved the overall plot of this book and enjoyed the pacing. There were plenty of high octane action scenes and gore to keep me interested. I felt that this book was set up very well. The first chapter tells the historical back story and then the book fast forwards 130 years to the future for chapter two. At this point, the mystery begins to unfold.
The end of the book wrapped up quite nicely, but I felt there was a bit of repetition as the story was ending. 4.5 ⭐️
Such an interesting read. Brett Riley managed to weave a story that mixes so many genres. Thank you to the publishers for a chance to read this book.
An old west atrocity becomes a modern day ghost story. Even psychopathic killers have feelings, which a posse finds out after they disrespect an outlaw's body, pinning his murderous ghost to the site. Over a hundred years later, investigators come to Comanche, Texas, to rid the town a second time of the Piney Woods Kid. Humor and irony abound in this delightful tale of a pissed off ghost. I highly recommend this book for fans of ghost stories, westerns, and cozy mysteries. I was fortunate to received a digital copy from the publisher Imbrifex Books through NetGalley.
I loved this book. And adventure story with a haunted twist that will keep you guessing until the end. Not my "normal" type of read but I'm so glad I branched out a bit. I admire how well Mr. Riley can take you to the woods and place you right in the protagonist's shoes.
This one is hard to put down, and why would you? Stay on the roller coaster until it's over.
I really liked the sound of this one. I found it a quick read and enjoyed the different elements. Great characters and a really thrilling and spine tingling. I found the timelines easy to follow as well which can often be an issue with this type of book
Riley's influences, without over-reliance, are clear and he adds a welcome addition to western, gritty noir. An engaging page-turner.
Up to the middle of the book is a bit slow, you have the impression that the author struggles a bit to build the background of his characters, both the current ones, who will be the protagonists of the story, and those of the past, and some passages sound a bit forced. From the middle onwards, however, the story gets going very well and the crescendo of violence triggered by the interaction between the protagonists and the ghost they are hunting keeps the reader glued to the pages. The ending is, literally, incendiary, showing a writing skill that one would like even for a much celebrated author but always a little weak on endings.
The cover is decidedly ugly.
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