In the Land of Dead Horses

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Pub Date 14 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2021
Greenleaf Book Group, Greenleaf Book Group Press

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Description

The Dead Have No Love for the Living
In the Land of Dead Horses tells the story of Texas Ranger Jewel T. Lightfoot’s pursuit of and confrontation with a resurrected horror from another age—a manifestation of the Mayan god of darkness, unearthed from its subterranean crypt in the wastelands of the Chihuahuan Desert and set loose on an unsuspecting world.
Lightfoot, a hard-drinking Texas Ranger, is aided by an aging silver miner named Ernesto Zavala and his grandson Antonio, a rangy firebrand who longs to free his people from the rule of Porfirio Diaz’s corrupt Mexican government. Together, these unlikely heroes face off against a sinister German academic, a trio of religious fanatics who wants to restore the glory of the Mayan empire, and a horror from the depths of history that grows stronger with each setting sun.
​Join Jewel Lightfoot in what Kirkus Reviews calls "a paranormal whodunit that offers a gripping battle between good and evil." But be careful: Not everyone who rides out of Austin in the fall of 1908 is going to make it back alive.
The Dead Have No Love for the Living
In the Land of Dead Horses tells the story of Texas Ranger Jewel T. Lightfoot’s pursuit of and confrontation with a resurrected horror from another age—a...

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Advance distribution of Digital ARC via...


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ISBN 9781626348639
PRICE $19.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 12 members


Featured Reviews

This was pretty interesting but I did feel emotional as I read along. I’ll definitely be picking up more works from this author though, I always appreciate it when writers are able to touch me in ways I’m usually not touched while reading anything.

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This was a supernatural western and it worked out well. It did drag a bit in places but overall was a good story. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book

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I received this ARC from Netgalley in return for an honest review. Weird Westerns.  Is there anything cooler than supernatural fiction set in the old west?  I was so excited when I saw this title being published.  There are very few weird westerns out there so any addition to the genre is welcome.  In the Land of the Dead Horses follows Jewel Lightfoot, a Texas Range as he tries to stop the resurrection of the ancient Mayan god of darkness. He is helped in this endeavor by Ernesto, an elderly silver miner, his rebellious grandson Antonio.  Racing against time to stop an apocalypse, Lightfoot is faced with interference with Mayans revolutionaries, German spies, and an old enemy from his past The plot is inventive and fresh.  Not too many stories deal with Mayan mythology so getting to explore that universe a bit adds to the novel. A large part of the story deals with issues of colonialism. We see the effects the invaders (Americans and Europeans) have had on the indigenous Meso-Indian population. This hot button issue is handled with senility and empathy.  McCandless is able to make you sympathize with our trio of villain's even as they commit unspeakable acts in their quest to raise their ancient god. Most of that is due to McCandless' ability to create well written, believable characters.  Jewel is completely believable as a tired, alcoholic Texas Ranger more dedicated to his job than to the people he loves. Ernesto and Antonio are also completely realistic as are the Mayans who want a return to the glory days of the Mayan empire. Less well-done is the character of Professor Kritzinger who comes off as a tad cartoony. I wish their was some more background on Kritzinger and his motivations. There are only two slight drawbacks to the novel which resulted in a 4 star instead of a 5 star review. The pacing did begin to drag towards the end.  A little better editing could have fixed that.  The other issue is a particular pet peeve of mine.  There is a character that dies in the novel. That character did not need to die. It was unnecessary and gratuitous. It seems like a lot of authors have a character die just for the shock value and not because it actually adds anything to the novel. I get what McCandless was trying to do with this character's death but it fell flat for me. As I found out last night that is book #1 in the series I am excited to see what the next installment will bring.  Book #2, Sour Lake, will be published in December and I will review it before it comes out.

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This was an interesting mix of a western, mystery, and supernatural horror. I really enjoyed portions of the book, and I’m interested in the sequel. I really enjoyed the blending of the different genres. It’s like True Grit meets From Dusk til Dawn. That being said I wish there was a little more meat to the book. There are portions I wished I could have seen more developed. The author tended to rely on genre conventions for the reader to make certain leaps which was refreshing, but new concepts introduced seemed to be left on a cliffhanger. I would have liked to see a more epic ending as well. While the ending was satisfying, I wish the final battle could have been a bit more of a harrowing endeavor. I enjoyed the device of having letters written with updates giving an unreliable recount of events that had previously transpired. I wished I could have seen more of that. I was a little thrown off of the cutting to Washington DC. It seemed to be to give more backstory to the current plot, but if I had to guess it was to set up a greater role in future novels. I enjoyed the book, but I just want more.

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Beware of Men Bearing Gifts From the Maya In the Land of Dead Horses is a must-read example of Texas-flavored historical horror fiction. The terrible events it depicts draw deeply from Texas's tangled and deep-rooted relationship with Mexico and the cruelty and indifference of both nations toward their indigenous peoples. Though the story takes place more than a century ago, it grew from the dark corruption of more than a millennium in the past. The added oomph of unusual supernatural elements carries an already suspenseful story over the edge to nail-biter. Jewel Lightfoot is a wonderful central character, flaws and all. In general, all of McCandless's characters are remarkably authentic and multi-faceted. He makes me care about what happens to them, and in this book, what happens to them is a whole lot. I read Sour Lake, volume two in this series, before I read this one and loved them both. Both read well as stand-alones, but for the maximum impact, I recommend reading this book first. In addition to entertainment, this disturbing story gave me some deep background on my adopted state and what the city of Austin was like back in the first decade of the 20th century. A portion of the described events are actually on public record. I loved how McCandless described Austin as "an up-and-comer. She buried her dead and kept building. She didn’t have time for reflection." For better and for worse, that remains true today. I was blessed to receive a free ARC from the author and publisher, Greenleaf Book Group, via NetGalley. As always, the cost doesn't influence my opinions: I've paid good money for buzzards and paid nothing for gold. In the Land of Dead Horses is gold and Bruce McCandless III is one helluva up-and-comer!

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Combine the fertile imagination of Cormac McCarthy with the distinguished and colorful prose of James Lee Burke and you will find yourself reading the tale of a crotchety Texas Ranger as he pursues evil at the turn of the 20th century. As if the Old West itself wasn't difficult enough on its own to survive, the crimes that the Rangers were assigned to solve and the brutal criminals they were charged with tracking down and bringing to justice caused the horrific details of each Ranger's case to be indelibly imprinted in their memories and relived through constant nightmares. Thank you Net Galley for introducing me to author Bruce McCandless III. One of the true pleasures of reading an unknown (to me at least) author and allowing him/her to take me on a journey that I haven't yet traveled before is the ultimate reward of stumb;ing onto an old tale spoken with a different yet deadly twist. "In The Land Of Dead Horses" is a western novel pure and simple yet morphs into something quite unique when combined with the old formula of discovering something evil that has been buried for centuries and recently unearthed.. No, this is not a story about a vampire or mummy, nor does it resemble anything previously written about by others. Instead it is a figure of pure evil, a monstrous creature previously treated as a God of the Maya, trapped and confined underground several centures ago. But this novel is not solely about fighting and defeating this eater of the dead, it is mainly about an old Texas Ranger who is finally getting physically tired of being exhausted on the job, of being beaten and shot, and of spending lonely nights in the middle of the mountains and deserts of the Old West. It is about finding his own self-worth and being able to release himself from the horrors he's seen and the difficult trials he's encountered and conquered. And it is about love, taking too long to recognize it, and finding himelf drawn toward it finally in his later years. I will definitely read another of Mr. McCandless' novels.

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3.5/5. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. In the Land of Dead Horses is a page-turner. I'm not a big western fan, but I like how McCandless incorporated supernatural horror into the western vibe. The bones of the story isn't super unique: ancient monstrous creature is awakened and must be stopped. Crotchety old man kicks butt. Still, ItLoDH combined familiar elements in a way that was unique enough for a good read. It did feel like the introduction to the story was the majority of it, and the climatic moment was too quick and impersonal. It just happened without much effort or tension. I'd recommend the Land of Dead Horses to western fans and horror fans who don't mind crossing into other genres.

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Set in Texas in 1908, this mix of western and supernatural horror tells the story of hard-drinking ranger Jewel Lightfoot who is hired to track down the killers of a local farming family.  What he and his companions, Ernesto and Antonio, don't realize is that they are about to come face to face with evil itself.        This was one of those fast-paced, engaging reads that I found difficult to put down!  The characters are well developed, and I found myself saying "oh ****" more than once when a favorite character was heading towards a bad situation.  Horror westerns are here to stay, and I highly recommend adding this one to your reading list.

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Jewel Lightfoot is a Texas Ranger who can't let a good mystery pass him by. In the fall of 1908, Jewel receives a case from the commissioner of insurance that he can't let go. The whole Peterson family has been gruesomely murdered on their farm except for their five year old daughter, Lyssa, who tells a story more like a fairy tale. Jewel is now tracking a group of Mayans who are potentially carrying a strange piece of cargo across the Texas desert in hopes of returning to Mexico and restoring their people to power. Jewel enlists the help of an old silver miner, Ernesto and his grandson, Antonia who tell Jewel of an ancient Mayan god who was laid to rest in the hills nearby. However, this god isn't going to restore the Mayans to power as the team of bandits hope, it is the Mayan god of darkness whose sole purpose is destruction and death. Jewel must figure out how to kill a god while thwarting a group of Germans who want to stir up trouble between Mexico and the States. Jewel has always said he was hard to kill, but the god of darkness may have other plans for him. In the Land of Dead Horses is a fast-paced Western paranormal historical murder mystery. Right from the start, the expedition to unearth the Mayan god pulled me in. Jewel's character was a perfect blend of hardened Texas Ranger and wizened old soul making him a complex person that I cared about. The combination of a Western mixed with Mayan mythology and the effects of colonialism in Mexico created a unique story with action at every twist and turn. I actually do wish a little more of the story could have been told from the Mayan gods point of view as he woke up and I could have learned more of his history and importance to the Mayans. The addition of the meddling Germans along with an old foe of Jewel's determined to kill him added to the suspense. Filled with gore, mystery, ancient gods and a surprising amount of heart, In The Land of Dead Horses is a wonderful read. This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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I've recently discovered I quite enjoy Western horror, and In the Land of Dead Horses does not disappoint. Prose is sharp and well done, in an intelligent Western style that feels authentic. The setup is great, every character feels like their own entity that you truly care about. Their introductions were interspersed naturally into the story until the plot really began, and it never felt like the pacing was slow. Ending was predictable, but I sure enjoyed the journey.

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