A note from Sadie Hartmann, Mother Horror:
I read WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN and it made a huge impact on me. I had a longing in my heart to talk to other people about it but there just wasn't a lot of traction for this book on social media. I asked the author, John Boden, if he would be willing to send his book to twenty people in exchange for reviews (either good or bad) he agreed. With the help of Kallie (@pageandparlor) we launched a review campaign for this book. I had no idea how this book would go over with people-it's a pretty unique/unusual story. What I did know is that more readers need to read John Boden's work and so this was a win/win situation. Here are the results of this big ol' read along!
Title: Walk The Darkness Down
Author: John Boden
Publisher: Crossroad Press (July 2019)
"Boden’s writing is true poetry. I highlighted quote after quote because I couldn’t get enough. Yes, this is horror, but it’s also a story, a quest, and even though there are fantastical, horrifying elements, you will get invested in WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN."
"This is my first cosmic horror western, and it knocked my socks off. WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN is many things. It is John Boden's tip of the hat to his peers and friends. It is a dusty, dirty western of a tale, that often veers off into very different territory. And It's also a cosmic horror story about evil, and monsters, and one monster in particular who just may bring an end to the world.
But it's also so much more than that. It's a story about friendship, the kind of true friendship that stays with you for the rest of your life. It's a love story too, where one man accepts his partner for exactly who she is, because that's how love works. It's a horror/western that hits the reader with so many feelings, but most importantly it's a story about journeys. All of the character's in Boden's novel are each on a different journey. Some seek revenge, while others are looking for a home. There is a character searching for power, and others are taking that long dark path to death's door. These characters are forever on a journey searching for something right up to the very end."
"Walk the Darkness Down embraces the odd and the dark, and it settles in comfortably among the mythological stature stories of the West have grown into, and Boden delivers a supremely satisfying story whose characters are as rich as its concepts. Highly recommended."
"This is not a long story, 154 pages to be exact. You could sit down, and binge read an incredible novella of this length in a few hours, easily. This was not one of those stories for me. It took me a couple of days to read this. I needed time to reflect after every few chapters as I have never experienced storytelling of this magnitude. Upon finishing the book, I felt what can only be described as a profound sadness that it was over. We all know what a book hangover is. Walk the Darkness Down takes this to a whole new level and I am not sure how I am going to recover from it." Keely @keelyfuse
"Walk The Darkness Down is a masterpiece. It should be spoken of in the same breath as classics of American literature. Nothing else that I have read this year comes close to the quality of this novel. John Boden is a must-read author, and this is a must-read book. I have seen a lot of recent talk that people use the five-star rating too often. I poo-pooed that sentiment until I read this book. This one breaks my scale because right now, I want to give Walk The Darkness Down 7 stars. So, ignore the 5-star rating, this one gets 7 stars and my HIGHEST recommendation."
"My first introduction to John Boden’s work was his collaboration with Chad Lutzke, Out Behind the Barn. I absolutely loved that story and waited way too long to dive into John’s solo work. Walk the Darkness Down is a western-themed story, but it’s not all grit. It has moments of horror and heart, and the writing is just gorgeous. There are so many quotable lines that I can’t list them all. Boden has a knack for writing a piece that makes a reader feel both unsettled and heartbroken in the best way possible. Sometimes, figurative language in a piece can be over the top, but this author is a master at using just the right amount. This is a book that needs to be savored by the reader, taking it all in so none of the richness of the prose is missed. It is a haunting, atmospheric, and lingering tale that left me with a book hangover and a desire to read everything that John Boden has written!"
"This is 154 pages of solid fucking GOLD. As an avidly fast reader, I took my time and slowly chewed each word so I could soak in the entire atmosphere provided and I ATE IT ALL UP. Each word was absolutely necessary and the imagery Boden was building in my mind was beautifully grotesque.
I fell in love with all of the characters and Levi may be one of my favorite villains ever, though most definitely not the most handsome. 😉 Each chapter, short and succinct, the words were almost pure poetry in how eloquently they described what was happening at each turn of the page. Jubal and his sisters. Keaton. Ford and his wife. Jones. Their journey and how each had to play their part. Wouldn't have imagined that such a short read would still give me all those feels.
I was properly unsettled throughout most of this read int he BEST possible way. Just when I think there's nothing new that would cross my path, Boden tells me to hold his beer. In three words: READ THIS BOOK! Pure horror beautifully written. I literally said, "Wait! But I want more!" when I realized that last page had been turned. Huge thanks to Night Worms and the author for this amazing copy."
"If you’re looking for a bloody, weird book. This is it. You’ve got weird (cosmic?) horror, blood, violence, a horrific villain, friendships, and some beautiful writing. I enjoyed Walk the Darkness Down, and I suspect most of you will too."
"Boden is a wonderfully evocative writer and this novella proves that there are much bigger stories and worlds brewing in him. I look forward to being a part of that journey."
"If I had to describe the tone of this book, I would say it felt like if Guillermo Del Toro were to write a Western... but with a touch of cosmic horror... Anyway, the bottom line is that this book is special and unique and I urge you to give it a try."
"I LOVED THIS...I gave this book 5 stars because of the gorgeous writing and beautiful/horrific storytelling that never wavered. If you're into horror western, hell even if you're not...YOU NEED THIS BOOK!"
"Wisdom appears on almost every page; this one line, said when enemies turn into friends, is going to stick with me for a long time: "Grief is a hungry fuel. And it will devour anything to keep burning" five stars for this masterpiece. Please give it a read because it deserves all the love and doesn't fit into any one genre."
"This story is unique. Boden kept me guessing, thrilled me, scared me, made me laugh, made me sad and then he left me to crash and feel hungover and strung out. I normally can finish a book and then immediately pick up another and move on. But I could not read anything for a full day after I finished this book. I lived through the twists and turns and walked through an atmosphere that made me want to stop with every step. But I had to keep going. I had to know what happened and I was not disappointed, though I do still want more.
WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN ravages you and does not apologize. This book is not for those just starting out in horror. This is a book you work your way up to. I recommend it to everyone. Maybe just get your horror sea legs about you before you try this one out." Kallie @pageandparlor
"A gripping gruesome western horror that will leave you looking around with eyes that see through a film of dust, ash, blood and grime... and how sometimes... destroying one monster opens the gate for something else.... 5/5 stars for this unique tale"
"The writing is absolutely beautiful and the first sentence grabbed me and never let go. There is a sentence on page 10 that reads, "The swelter of words, the boil and scald of them, were the only gift he'd ever been given." John Boden was definitely given the gift of words. His words were gently caressing me one moment and tearing my heart out the next. I am not a visual reader in that I don't see a book in my mind while I read so when things are described so well and in such great detail, it makes for an immersive reading experience for me. The book started out with a bang and so many things happened along the way. I was a little worried at the end that there wasn't enough time to finish well, but I think the book definitely had a good and well-rounded finish. I cannot even fathom how Boden fit everything that happened with such rich detail into a mere 153 pages. You will want to spend some time with this book reading some of the lines over and over again because that's how eloquent the writing is.
I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone who likes horror."
"WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN contains the sort of writing where you read the same chapter three times in a row just to scan for the nuances and subtleties in every carefully chosen word, phrase, and metaphor. It’s haunting. It’s ugly, but at the same time beautiful. It so effectively captures this sense of dread and melancholy that I often had to pause reading and just contemplate my own existence for a moment or two. This sounds hyperbolic, but it really had this effect on me more than once. Often, the “Wild West” is romanticized to the point of absurdity. Boden uses this setting to hammer home the harsh reality that this era was messy, dirty, and brutal. Additionally, he develops this amazing relationship between brutality and human connection that leaps off of the page.
If you’re looking for something to knock you on your ass and trap you in the darkness. Give this a shot. Just sip it, slowly."
"Boden’s writing quickly became a favorite of mine. His words are so rich and flow with such ease. From the beginning, you can just feel that something underlining is happening. There is a kind of mysticism hovering over the words. Truth be told, I was not aware that there was a whole sub-genre for this feeling, and I am hungry for more. Walk the Darkness Down is a weird, fantastic book. While there is so much brilliantly written gore, I found that it has so many more elements in it that are touching and real. I could not recommend this book more."
"John Boden. This gentleman is building a strong case for the label of National Treasure at some point in the near future. His words strike a chord with me each and every time I get my hands on them. Here I vow that I’ll savor anything he sets down on print, anything, forevermore. I’ll hitch my horse wherever he leads.
Walk the Darkness down, it’s your huckleberry, it’ll stare you down at high noon and it’ll put you in the ground, next to Johnny Ringo…
There it is…
I’d call this a must read book." Zakk @zakk.madness