Epeolatry Book Review: Razor Country by Nicholas Wagner

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Title: Razor Country
Author: Nicholas Wagner
Genre: Western Horror
Publisher: Independent
Release Date: 9th April, 2024

Synopsis: On the eve of World War I, a private detective investigates a series of violent crimes across the British Empire.

This book is a sepia-toned, dusty journey into the past. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure I would like Razor Country, as I’m not into tales carrying that “Old West-ish/frontier/rugged explorer” vibe (or the last gasps of it, per the historical era where it’s set), and this novel had a lot more than I was expecting from the description.

Still, the story’s setting might carry a gritty feel, but the tales themselves are immaculate in both conception and design.

There is absolutely nothing to jar you out of this collection, especially if you’re a history buff. I mean, you might have some passing “well, maybes” but they come and go with the rolling motion of a tumbleweed across the desert. 

Readers who grew up immersed in the “show, don’t tell” practice might be a little put off by the continued use of the “telling-the-reader” character descriptions or the more unadorned, or formalized, tone of the text. I gotta tell ya, “partner”, do not let that discourage you from carrying onto the next literary outpost, aka chapter, in Razor Country. Because… it’s a completely effective technique here in this short tome of tales. 

Wagner evokes the feel of an old-timey text, and Razor Country is as slow and quiet and still as a desert landscape, or one with miles of nothing but flat prairie all the way to the horizon. The terrible and tragic events are more vivid in terms of emotional impact when placed in stark contrast against the seemingly dispassionate observations of resolute private investigator Colm Steiner.

So, amble your way through these not-so-tall tales, preferably with a shot of rotgut whiskey close at hand, and your gun even closer.


/5

Available from Amazon.

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