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Night Worms Book Party: A Savage Breed by Patrick C. Harrison III


A SAVAGE BREED by Patrick C. Harrison III




This book is number 6 in a series of Splatter Westerns released by Death's Head Press. The Night Worms blog group is reading all of this series for book parties, and this is the latest one in our reading queue. I have to admit that I took a bit of a break from social media for a while, and this is only the third book I have read in the series, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
A band of outlaws manage to escape execution after a priest finds out who they are and turns them in. A man overcome with grief sets out to kill the murderer's of his wife and young daughter, while an eccentric teenage girl decides to head west after learning of the death of her father. All of these characters converge in the Wichita Mountains after encountering a group of a terrifying and unexplainable entities that attack and kill both people and horses alike from seemingly out of nowhere.
Not many of the characters are likable early on in this novel. However, I found a few of them were growing on me as I read, and each of their separate stories come together to make one hell of an ending. It's hard living in the mountains, especially for travelers, and this book racks up quite a death count. I especially liked one chapter that was titled "A Brief Historical Interlude" and reads like some dusty tome that recounts the unexplained murders throughout the years before and after this story takes place. It sets up the ending nicely.

However, the beginning of the novel is troublesome. A Native American woman is repeatedly raped by a group of bank robbers, and then they even give her to a dirty priest who also rapes her. She becomes an actual character in the last half of the book, rather than just a mute woman who is forced to suffer at the hands of men, however, I would have liked to see her as the tough character she becomes throughout the entire book. We can surmise how terrible the robbers are without them abusing the poor woman for the entire first half of the book.

The blog group had extensive conversations about this book, and I realize that I may have been trying a little to hard to find the positive aspects of the story while I ignored the less than savory parts. It's definitely eye opening to discuss a book with your friends. I'm glad I have had the opportunity to do so with the Night Worms group. @gowsy33





** spoiler alert ** If I ever read the words "Satan's slit" again it'll be too soon.

This book was just gross. I know it's a splatter western so they're supposed to be lots of blood and gore and violence but it didn't work in this book. I felt like the author just thought, "oh lets throw a bunch of old white guys together on a mission, using racial slurs, shooting everybody and lots of rape" and that'll satisfy. I kept reading because there's mentions of monsters but that's it like really just mentions. I wanted more of a monsters less of every single woman being a bitch and a whore. Also has this guy never met a teenage girl?! The teenage girl character was so underdeveloped and yet also disgusting.

Definitely my least favorite of all the splatter westerns. All filler and no story.









A SAVAGE BREED by Patrick C. Harrison III is Book 6 in the Splatter Western series by Death's Head Press. The rest of the series looks like this:
THE MAGPIE COFFIN by Wile E. Young (5 stars- a favorite book in 2020)
HUNGER ON THE CHISHOLM TRAIL by M. Ennenbach (3.5 stars)
DUST by Chris Miller (3.5 Stars)
THE NIGHT SILVER RIVER RUN RED by Christine Morgan (4.5 stars)
STARVING ZOE by C. Derick Miller (DNF)

You know you're reading a Western when the book starts off with a hangin' and standard racism against Native Americans. The outlaws in this tale escape their execution and go on the run.
The breakneck pace of the storytelling doesn't lend itself to ample character-development, but the characters *do* begin to grow on you as the action permeates one scene after the next.

A young woman is introduced, Elizabeth Hughes, and immediately she's described with "budding breasts". *cringe* but I couldn't help liking her story as she storms out of the family homestead after her father's death and says, "Goodbye, Mama, you old hag." I was looking forward to reading more of her journey.
Then Part II came, The Tate Brothers, and Jezzus. You have women tied up, the senseless killing of a horse and I was *this close* to tapping out, just like I did with the previous book, STARVING ZOE (women, including female babies, are called cunts. No thanks) but I found myself continuing.
Chapter 4 introduces Father Ronald Milton and the rape of a Native American woman and that did it. I set the book down.
Here's the thing: I think we are fully capable of writing authentic Western tales with a nuanced view of racism. Just because that was the prevailing attitude of people from the past, doesn't mean that today, writers can't elevate the genre by portraying characters from that time that maybe weren't racist. I am also tired of men writing rape scenes for their female characters to endure.
This book also had some casual fat shaming.
Harrison is talented because even though I was struggling, the author's storytelling voice kept luring me back in and I really wanted to know what was going to happen, but I just couldn't.
I really love the idea of these Splatter Westerns and I don't want authors to skimp on the extreme horror but I know for a fact there are ways to execute on this genre without leaning so heavily on racism and rape. This has always been true but it's even more important RIGHT NOW with Sports Teams even changing their names in an effort to stamp out systemic racism. We don't need to "change or erase" history but we can write our fiction to align with our 2020 vision for equality.

Thank you to Death's Head Press for hooking the Night Worms Team up with digital and physical copies of this series for our honest reviews & Night Worms Book Parties @Mother.Horror




I just want to explicitly highlight the fact that Night Worms is in a close, working relationship with Death's Head Press. The press wants honest, straightforward reviews and we're here for the SplatterWestern genre all day-every day.
In no way does our opinion of a single book in the SplatterWestern series shape our entire perception of the series as a whole. We have enjoyed our reading experience of these books and especially our group chat. Our team is comprised of a diverse group of people and we feel like we are learning and growing as readers as we discuss our thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Without books to challenge us, we wouldn't have the opportunity to have the informative discussions that we have all benefitted from. Going forward into 2021, we hope to add more reviewers & readers into this shared experience. 
Lastly, we are so excited for the next two books in the series. 

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