Damnation Books has released the first two volumes in Edward M. Erdelac’s Merkabah Rider Series, Tales of a High Planes Drifter and The Mensch With No Name. Both books appear in both paperback and Kindle editions. The third volume in the series is currently in the works.
Tales of a High Planes Drifter Description: The last of an ancient order of Jewish mystics capable of extraplanar travel, The Merkabah Rider roams the demon haunted American West of 1879 in search of the renegade teacher who betrayed his enclave. But as the trail grows fresher, shadows gather, and The Hour Of The Incursion draws near… Four novella episodes in one book.
In a town hungry for blood, the Rider encounters a cult of Molech worshippers bent on human sacrifice(‘The Blood Libel’). A murderous, possessed gunman descends upon a mountain town, and only the Rider stands in his way (‘Hell’s Hired Gun’). A powerful ju ju man with powers rivaling the Rider’s own holds a fledgling Mexican boomtown in his sway (‘The Dust Devils’). Finally the Rider faces the Queen of Demons and a bordello full of antedelluvian succubi (‘The Nightjar Women’).
The Mensch With No Name Description: In this installment the Rider unravels more of the mystery of Adon’s Hour of the Incursion plot and quickly learns that demons are the least of his troubles. He defends a remote settlement against a gang of half-demon gunmen in ‘The Infernal Napoleon,’ joins forces with Doc Holliday to hunt down an invisible creature in ‘The Damned Dingus,’ aids a group of Indians against the mindbending horror of ‘The Outlaw Gods,’ and takes his hunt to hell itself in ‘The Pandæmonium Ride.’
“The Merkabah Rider series sprang from my admiration for the American West and genre bending achievements like Robert E. Howard’s Old Garfield’s Heart, TV’s Kung Fu, and the works of Joe R. Lansdale,” says Erdelac. “Each installment is written as a collection of ostensibly free standing novellas in episodic order, like the old Lancer/Ace Conans. The Rider (so-called because he has given up his true name to protect himself from hostile spiritual entities) is a kind of Jewish Solomon Kane, draped in talismans, drawing a bead with his gilded, mystically engraved Volcanic pistol against enemies both diabolical and Lovecraftian in his quest to bring to justice Adon, the renegade teacher who betrayed his ancient mystic order, The Sons of The Essenes.
“My biggest peeve about a lot of weird westerns I’ve read, and something I wanted to rectify in my own writing, is that most authors who attempt the genre concentrate on the ‘weird’ to the detriment of the ‘West.’ Howard never did this, and I believe the solid sense of place and time is what elevates his work. Monsters and spirits aren’t the only things the Rider encounters. His world is the real Southwest of the 1880’s, and racism, Mexican bandits, and real-life gunmen like ‘Myserious’ Dave Mather and New Mexico’s Dodge City Gang all make an appearance, and are as real a threat as Moloch and a gaggle of raving dybbukim.
“Aside from its pulpy trappings, The Merkabah Rider series is also the saga of a man whose faith in man and God is broken, a man whose world is driven by anger and disappointment when he learns the world is more than he was taught it was.”