Skip to main content

Dead Reckoning

Review

Dead Reckoning

Dressed as a man in order to secure some more liberties in 1867, Jett Gallatin had been traveling around in hopes to hear any news about her lost twin brother, Jasper. Alsop, Texas was a likely stop along the way as the small town was slowly growing due to the railroad expansion. Masquerading as a boy for so long, Jett always expected trouble whenever she inquired in some of the seediest places about her brother, but as the first line of the book indicates, Jett never thought zombies would be involved. So when the zombies overrun the town and Jett barely escapes with her life, she is frightened beyond belief.

"Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill do an admirable job capturing the feel and essence of the Wild West.... I wouldn’t necessarily have thought zombies would work in this context, but they seem like they belong and completely make sense."

Jett’s flight to freedom takes her right to the oddest pair camping out in the brush together. Honoria Verity Providentia Gibbons views herself as different from “most people” in that she refuses to let her gender define her. Honoria is a thinker, so when Jett started telling tales of reanimated dead, Honoria thought there must be some medical reason why. Wapeshk Wakoshe, or White Fox, had lived among the natives but isn’t one himself. White Fox doesn’t outright dismiss Jett’s claims of zombies roaming through town, but he has learned that it’s better to be cautious when considering supernatural matters. Both Honoria and White Fox agree to accompany Jett back to Alsop to find the truth.

If there is anything to be learned about the presence of zombies, it’s that the truth isn’t as simple as bloodthirsty dead people brought back to life. While Honoria, Jett and White Fox initially find Alsop deserted with little trace of a vicious attack, everything changes at night. From the safety of the jail, Honoria, Jett and White Fox watch in horror as the zombies return and start ripping the town apart. Despite the devastation, it’s soon clear that something or someone is controlling the zombies, as this was an organized attack. This only brings up more questions, and Jett and White Fox decide to investigate while Honoria resolves to find a way to kill these beasts.

At this point, you might suspect that some deranged individual or dark arts group would be behind the attacks. Except this is Texas, and it’s 1867. That can only mean one thing: The Fellowship of the Divine Resurrection. This seemingly harmless missionary settlement wants everyone to come to believe that one day all will be resurrected, but Jett and White Fox soon find out this resurrection might not exactly be divine. The Fellowship will not be broken, however, and with zombies running rampant, Jett, White Fox and Honoria are running out of time to save the Wild, Wild West.

I’m not exactly sure what’s more impressive. Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill do an admirable job capturing the feel and essence of the Wild West. The characters are realistic, the setting is something out of a movie, and the dialogue and language aptly fit the time period. Then there are the zombies. I wouldn’t necessarily have thought zombies would work in this context, but they seem like they belong and completely make sense. Plus, they are naturally terrifying and everything we expect from zombies. Thus, it appears that a new genre has been born. All that’s left is to hitch up your boots, saddle up your horses, and hang on for one wild ride!

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on August 18, 2012

Dead Reckoning
by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill