On the frontier planet No Man’s Land, Sheriff Charlie Colcord upholds the law and protects the people of Deadwood Gulch. His job is difficult and often dangerous due to the vicious native creatures which inhabit the plains and mountains of Noman, but Charlie and his riders have one advantage: dragons.
But the dragons come with their own difficulties in the way of a secret known only to a few. Charlie is a man used to keeping secrets, and it’s not the dragons’ secret that keeps him up at night. His secret is known to only one other, and keeping it makes their lives complicated enough that hunting monsters on the plains of Noman is almost relaxing.
Source: ARC from Less Than Three Press via NetGalley
Dragons and space cowboys! That really is all you need to know about this short story. If that sounds like your kind of thing, then go for it. If not, then maybe move along.
Actually, it’s pretty hard to review this story because it is so short and I don’t want to hand out too many spoilers. What I will say is that this definitely feels like the start of something. Characters are only really introduced, the world of Noman is fascinating without info-dumping and things with the dragons are tantalising, if not fully explained.
If you don’t like serialised novels or prefer a short story to be a complete entity that can stand on its own, you might not enjoy this much, because it is the opening of a series and very much feels like it should have Part One at the start and To Be Continued at the end. It’s a very intriguing opening, to be sure, but it’s all beginning rather than any middle or end. There’s also some sex, though I hesitated to call the relationship a romance, since it’s mostly about possessiveness and being overprotective.
However, I really enjoyed it. The Space Western feel is well done, the characters are interesting, the world is intriguing – and did I mention dragons? Also weird alien critters, which is always good. Overall, this is a great start and I look forward to finding out what happens next.
In the Hours of Darkness is out September 30th!
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