Review: A Town Called Pandemonium / Author: Various / Publisher: Jurassic London / Release Date: Out Now
Welcome to Pandemonium, a frontier town sat in the desert of the New Mexico Territory. Once mined for silver, the surrounding wilderness has seen far better days; so, too, has the town. It's your typical Western setting, then, complete with a saloon, a brothel, an undertaker. But scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find something much more sinister. Those who dwell in Pandemonium have their dark secrets and desires for revenge, while others are haunted by guilt and shame. Some have even seen their future, and it’s as bleak as their past.
A Town Called Pandemonium is an absolute cracker of an anthology. The editors refer to it as a 'slightly alternative history', each tale imbued with a sense of strangeness added to Western tropes. The result is an engrossing collection of ten short stories, not a runt in the litter, but a favourite would be Grit by Scott K. Andrews. The author has captured the tone of the Wild West perfectly in this narrative told by a mysterious drifter. Joseph D’Lacey’s story is steeped in mysticism, while Will Hill’s has a finale laced with gore. There’s no set pattern, other than the location, but each story is well paced, and characters that could so easily fall into cliché are vibrant and interesting. The editors have done a terrific job in assembling writers whose prose exudes dust, sweat, gunsmoke and firewater. Here's hoping there's another stagecoach to Pandemonium soon.