Deadstock
Ian Rogers

Stonebunny Press
84 pages, October 14, 2011
Review by Darkeva

As I mentioned in my recent review of Strangeways, a Western graphic novel featuring vampires, I’m usually not a fan of straight westerns unless done well, but a good story combined with great characterization and supernatural elements makes me pay attention. I went into reading Deadstock by Ian Rogers with high hopes and I’m happy to say that he delivered on them with this wonderful tale, which introduces us to two of the most interesting main characters I’ve encountered, a Bonnie and Clyde-esque duo (without any mushy subtext) known as Sam Dryden and Raisy. They’ve received a telegram from a good friend, Chester, who tells them that something odd is going on at his cattle ranch.

Before they make it into town, they encounter a shifty Marshall, who Rogers cunningly uses as a foil to convince the reader that he’s behind the trouble with all the cattle that have ended up so mutilated that they’re beyond recognition. He’s definitely a strange one and there’s more than meets the eye, but he does help the duo by letting them know how to get to Chester’s ranch.

Once Sam and Raisy go through the process of elimination, they discover the real culprit behind the mutilations and behind that is a real mastermind, and that’s where the story gets even more interesting. It’s a page-turner that will have you riveted every step of the way. It definitely exceeded my expectations, and surprised me, particularly on how the mystery ended up being solved.

Among the text’s other highlights are the Western accents, done well here, because they were authentic and not overly exaggerated. Also, Raisy (who is a very cool female character) has a tabby cat with her called August Finch (and there’s an interesting story behind that name). Chester’s youngest daughter is also quite a little firestarter. Best of all, there’s no room for a tacked-on/forced love story subplot between Dryden and Raisy-just because she’s a girl, it doesn’t mean they automatically need to be knocking boots. As well, the spirit guide wolf was a nice addition. There are so many elements to this tale that make it worth reading, and even if you’re not a fan of Westerns or think you won’t like this, trust me-you will. Rogers is adept at painting a convincing terrain and he knows exactly how to suck a reader into an awesome story.

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