The Ballad of the Blue Sidewinder
by David J. Thirteen
In this weird western, an apprentice witch and his master journey out beyond the boundaries of civilization to collect a bounty on a creature from beyond the stars. The monster they seek leaves towns in ruins and twist the world around it into something bizarre and alien. With his jinx-shooter on his belt, this young witch hopes to prove himself whether his master thinks he’s ready or not.
"When I pick up anthologies, I usually have a good sense of the type of stories I’ll encounter, but that was not the case with Coppice & Brake, much to my absolute delight. These tales are almost beyond imagination, directly tapping into that place where nightmares are born. From grizzly body horror to dark science fiction, this collection runs the full gamut of superb speculative fiction."
"'The Anomaly' by David J. Thirteen also grabbed my attention. Having read some of Thirteen’s other work I knew I’d be in for a treat, and this one did not disappoint. In this tale, Oswald’s grandson brings home a scrapped metal calendar which has a mirrored backside. But there’s a splotch in the mirror, an anomaly, which begins to grow every night after Oswald’s encounters with something evil. These nightly visits are like terrifying experiences of sleep paralysis and leave Oswald a little weaker every day. As well as providing a creature that left me wanting to sleep with the lights on, the story also delves into complexities in family relationships as the roll of caretaker shifts between generations. It reminded me of the poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas, but set in a horror story, which is a great combination in my opinion."
- Review By J.A. Sullivan
Read full review