The Night Silver River Run Red

The Night Silver River Run Red by Christine Morgan

Some things, according to Cody McCall, are worth risking a whipping. Such as, sneaking out with your friends after dark for a peek at the traveling show setting up just outside of town. Oddities, the signs promise. Marvels. Grotesqueries. Exotic attractions and mysterious magics.

Not as if they’d be allowed to attend otherwise, not with parents and preacher and schoolmarm all disapproving. But how often does a chance like this come along? There isn’t much else by way of excitement in quiet, peaceful Silver River, a once-prosperous boom town slowly gone bust.

Worth risking a whipping, sure. Worth risking life and limb, and maybe more? Worth risking being ripped to pieces by ravenous, inhuman brutes? Worth crossing paths with those strange, silent cult-folk from the high valley? Worth all the fire and bloodshed and horror and death?

Because something far worse than any ordinary traveling show has come to town, and one thing is for certain: those who survive, if any, will never forget the night Silver River run red.

The IndieMuse Review

One of extreme horrors biggest names delivers a manic tale of bloodshed and mayhem in the fourth book in Death’s Head Press’s insanely popular Splatter Western Series.

The once prosperous town of Silver River has its best days long behind it. Way off the beaten track and bypassed by the proposed new railroad, the once-bustling settlement has fallen on hard times. When a travelling circus comes to perform, news spreads fast, giving folks of Silver River something to take their minds off their struggles.

Cody McCall and his friends are especially excited by the news. He and his group of friends are too young to buy their tickets to see the Oddities, but decide to sneak to their camp one night to try and catch a glimpse. What awaits them is something out of their worst blood-drenched nightmares. Can the children make it back home alive, or will there be no home left by the time the circus leaves town?

The Night Silver River Run Red features cults, samurai, blind gunslingers, warlocks and cannibals, and that’s before you get to the really bad guys. This book is quick to get stuck in and does not take its foot off the gas until Morgan has managed to rack up a John Wick-level body count. The concept is crazy and the pacing is absolutely frantic, and I loved every minute of it.

Plot-wise, it is fairly straightforward. Starting off as something close to a Coming-of-Age story, the book largely centers on a large-scale attack on the town by a gang of outlaws, some of whom are there for the money, and others to indulge in less than savory pastimes, but all out for blood. It’s a simple premise, elevated by the sprawling and unique cast of characters. The books focus switches between the dozens of voices frequently, never staying on one for more than a few chapters, but everyone who gets a turn would be worthy of a book all of their own.

As we’ve come to expect from the Splatter Western series, and as Christine Morgan has demonstrated time and again with books like Lakehouse Infernal and Dawn of the Living Impaired, the “Splatter” part of the equation is as inventive as it is over the top. There are some very memorable set pieces and some truly despicable characters on offer and, without spoiling the fun, the fate of the town’s Sheriff, in particular, is not something I’ll soon forget.

What impressed me more was how authentic the prose felt throughout. Writing a book filled with Old West characters and accompanying turns of phrase must be a challenge and it is clear that a lot of time has gone into getting this aspect just right. Splatter Westerns are a fun concept but they only work when the “Western” element is done right, and it is absolutely perfect here.

The Night Silver River Run Red is a beautifully chaotic mess that is a joy to read from page one. If you’re looking for a fun book with a capital ‘F’ then Christine Morgan has you covered!

RICHARD MARTIN

Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.

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