Night Worms Book Party: DUST by Chris Miller (Part 1)
Author: Chris Miller
Publisher: Death's Head Press
Book 2: HUNGER ON THE CHISHOLM TRAIL
Book 1: THE MAGPIE COFFIN
We are having a continuous party with Death Head Press’ Splatter Western Series! We’re on to book three now, Dust by Chris Miller. I need to give a special shoutout to Justin T. Coons who, thus far, has done all of the cover art for the series and is an AMAZING artist. This one is all over the place for us. We are, as always, a diverse group of reviewers with widely varying opinions. That’s what makes these book parties so fun. You never know what you’re going to get.
Again, with the pandemic ongoing, the reviews you are about to read are all from eBooks that Death’s Head Press sent to us. Those that don’t use eReaders will have a separate review roundup when our physical copies arrive!
“This kicks it straight from the first page with gore and guts and that’s just how I like it. Every time I crack one of these splatters open I feel like nothing can top the last and this one is no exception. I loved the setting and the characters. I know there are complaints about there being a lack of character development, and while this is true, I just enjoyed the overall world. I think the action scenes and gore really keep me entertained. Also, I might’ve shed a tear or two at the end, but I can’t confirm nor deny this lol. Needless to say, I need more of these!” - @marcyreads
“The story is entertaining enough, but I had some problems with execution. I think Miller writes some great scenes and descriptions but some of the dialogue falls short and the pacing is off. Denarius ends up being the character that shines the most which I think helps the story. Although I enjoyed the nods to Stephen King, Lovecraft, and the other two books, there was one bit that was meant to be a “did you catch that meaning” moment but was too subtle to have any dramatic effect.” - @shereadswithcats
“I had an interesting experience with this book. The first ten pages are not the best introduction. There are some clunky sentences and odd word choices that kicked things off on the wrong foot. Everything about the setting, dialog, and characters was too on the nose; too cliche. Telegraphing the message to the reader, "This is a Western!" But there is something irresistible and accessible about Chris Miller's storytelling voice that generates enough interest to keep going. Plus, I'm a sucker for weird Westerns.
It's my opinion that Miller's storyline (fairly reminiscent of King's cosmic horror Western, THE DARK TOWER SERIES) is a great idea that needed more time in the oven. Some of the scenes are executed well, while others feel half-baked, giving me a sense of epic scale for a story that was squished down into a novella.” - @mother.horror
This is a fun series and I love how we get to meet a variety of authors since there's a different one for each part of the series. Rather than a continuation, we get to go back to the Western days through the eyes of someone new and that is always of interest to me. @wherethereadergrows
“In this book, we get a little magic and some old gods thrown in to bring some fantasy elements into this gory, horror western! A dash of cosmic fun never hurt anyone, right? Dust is exciting and full of adventure - quite a lot happens in these pages. Being less than 200 pages, however, did not allow for a lot of character development.” - @findingmontauk1
“...I didn’t care about the main character until I found an easter egg from the author's previous work. I think as a novel that’s supposed to be a standalone the main character should have made me feel connected or care without making that connection. I want to judge this book as if I’ve never read anything else by this author. The second issue I had was after the halfway point in the book there is so much action going on that I was lost through most of it and it made me feel disinterested in the story. Lastly, the monster’s description took me out of a serious scene. I dunno if it was to bring levity to a horrific situation but it didn’t work for me. Let me be emotional or scared for a minute without bringing in humor.” - @n0vel.id3a
“Dust is a hoot! I really had a good time with this read, and as far as entertainment value goes I’ll place it behind Young’s Magpie Coffin (who sets the bar pretty high) and just a little above Ennenbach’s fun Hunger on the Chisholm Trail.” - @zakk.madness
"I wasn’t really emotionally connected with any of the characters, and found myself skimming until I got to the gory parts. My favorite character is probably the lead James Dee (a grizzled Clint Eastwood type), who wields some pretty awesome magical powers, and the most problematic character is Denarius, who is written in a way that made me uncomfortable
Still, there’s a lot of fun to be had here. The violence is gleefully gratuitous and abundant, and the creature design of the horrors found in Dust are very interesting and vividly graphic. When I just let go of all pretense and saw this for the schlocky tale it is I was able to find a good deal of enjoyment (just think of it as a sleazy B-movie or ultra-violent video game and you're good) I'm down for anything that riffs on the Lovecraft mythos, so that was an immediate plus for me. Some bloody good times to be had under the old-world Western sun."- @reading.vicariously
“Chris Miller’s novella packs so much lore and action into a short amount of time - I was left with that feeling when you watch a weaker Superhero origin story. You know there’s good stuff coming down the line, but you also recognize that the emptiness you just watched is only there to help establish something better in the future.
I know this isn’t the end of this universe, but Miller is going to need a “Thanos” to keep me invested in future offerings.” -@thehorrorhypothesis
"What we have in book 3 of this epic series is a damn fine piece of horror western. Aside from the lack of character development, this was the most fun I’ve had with the series so far. Highly recommend this one to fans of horror, cosmic horror, time travel, old gods. You name it." @steelrainreviews
“Overall, I found Dust to an exciting and entertaining entry into the 'splatter western' line of stories. I especially liked the callbacks and references to The Hunger on the Chisholm Trail that made this book feel like more of a direct sequel. If you're a fan of cosmic horror, you will find Dust by Chris Miller to be a worthwhile choice to add to your shelf.” -@teamredmon
“This book felt like the author outlined a killer idea for a short story when he was writing it but ended up needing more scenes that he threw in hastily and haphazardly. There were some scenes that were well written with great descriptions. Then there were scenes that were choppy and felt like they were rushed last-minute additions.
The dialogue is a little too cliche for me. It often seemed inspired by one too many 1960s made for tv westerns.
I’m giving this one 2 stars. I think it was exciting, but sometimes that excitement muddled the storyline.
Overall, I think with a few more pages and a little more time to really work on a few rushed scenes, this book could be cool.” -@pageandparlor