Book Review: Ghost Towns

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Ghost Towns is an anthology of short stories by classic and contemporary western writers. Not all the stories are Weird Western stories, with elements of the fantastic or supernatural, but all feature abandoned and decrepit towns or villages from the Old West, and the beings, alive or dead, that haunt them.

There are fifteen stories in all, and several are sure to strike your fancy. Boom towns gone bust, abandoned oases of civilization returning to the elements, eerie landscapes. It’s all here. The stories deal with revenge from beyond the grave, righting ancient wrongs, the hunting habits of unnatural creatures and beasts, or people taking refuge in aabandoned, isolated, or dangerous places.

Editors Martin H. Greenberg and Russell Davis offer a foreword that discusses the enduring appeal of ghost towns. Traditional westerns have typically steered clear of the supernatural, but the farther we roam from the Old West, the more the stories of a bygone era forge a kinship with fantasy.

I flew through the 352 pages of this book and enjoyed it whether it was daytime or night time. If you have a hankering for stories about literal or metaphorical ghosts and the deserted towns they haunt, check out Ghost Towns.

Western Horror short story: ‘Thin Skinned’

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Thin Skinned: a short story of a woman’s revenge in the West

By Patrick Dorn

on April 27, 2016
Thin Skinned was delicious! A perfect journey of the macabre… I was left surprised and satisfied.

In the barren, unforgiving desert outside Las Cruces, New Mexico, a sadistic Irish immigrant exacts gruesome revenge on the English lord who wronged her family. This is a western horror short story, approximately 2,250 words. NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN.

Read FREE on Kindle Unlimited, or PURCHASE for only 99 cents.

Fiction Update: Weird Western series in the works

I’m currently developing a series of short stories in the Weird Western genre. The tales will take place around 1780, during the California Mission period, and involve cryptozoological (creature of the week) storylines.
My hero is Otto Eisenschaf, a Hessian mercenary who lost his left hand and part of his arm in the first battle of the American Revolutionary War. Rescued from a colonial POW camp by a Jesuit priest, Otto is spirited away to Alta California, and fitted with an iron prosthetic that is full of gears and gadgets and accessories.

Otto serves under Father President Junípero Serra in various capacities, especially investigating strange occurrences in the New World.

My current project, Chupacabroninvolves a wily shapeshifting creature that sucks the blood from goats during the full moon at St. Anthony Padua mission.

The stories will have gobs of action and humor. As soon as one is fit for print, I’ll make it available for free on this website, in exchange for subscribing to my newsletter. Or, if you subscribe beforehand, I’ll send you a copy when it’s ready.

The idea for a German mercenary with an iron hand came from a real life character, Gottfried “Götz” von Berlichingen, who fought in the 1500s, nearly 300 years before my stories begin. His prosthetic is pictured here.