"You know what? The bastard blows me out of the water. This guy writes Maine like Ardai writes New York. If you're not reading him, you don't know what you're missing." --Chris F. Holm, author of The Big Reap, The Wrong Goodbye and Dead Harvest.

"Bagley's got the poet's eye, but that doesn't mean everything is prettier in his work. It means the ugly stuff is more vivid. More intense. Like a sudden switch from analog to HD. And that's a trait to very much admire in his work." --Anthony Neil Smith, author of Hogdoggin', Yellow Medicine, The Drummer and Psychosomatic.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Forgotten Books Friday: Shadow on the Sun by Richard Matheson

If Elmore Leonard and Joe Lansdale were to collaborate on a western, the result might be something like Richard Matheson's Shadow on the Sun. Though best known for horror classics like I Am Legend and Hell House, Matheson is no slouch when it comes to western tales.

In Shadow on the Sun, we meet Billjohn Finley, an Indian Agent who has negotiated a new treaty between the U.S. government and a band of Apaches led by Braided Feather. The situation is tense, with the white townsfolk of Picture City doubting the natives will keep their word and the soldiers of Fort Apache ready for any excuse to wipe out the band. When the bodies of two men are found horribly mutilated outside of town, their brother demands that Finley send for the cavalry to attack Braided Feather's people. But what about the dark, oddly scarred stranger who has come to Picture City asking for archaeologist Albert Dodge and the Apache known only as the Night Doctor? Finley refuses to the believe that the Apaches are behind the killings, but he's the only white man interested in uncovering the truth.

Shadow on the Sun was originally published by Berkely in 1994. Tor has recently brought it back into print as a $13.99 trade paperback. Go get it.


Randy Johnson said...

I've read a good deal of Matheson, and more than a few westerns, but not this one. It goes on my list.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Patrick. Randy just told me.

George said...

I've read plenty of Matheson's science fiction and suspense short stories, but none of his westerns. I'll have to track this title down.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

SHADOW ON THE SUN is western/horror. I should have made that more clear in the post. The two genres combine beautifully in Matheson's hands.