THE MAGPIE COFFIN
(Splatter Western, Book One)
By Wile E. Young
*4 out of 5*
The Magpie Coffin kicks off the new Splatter Western series from Death’s Head Press with a hell of a bang, immediately setting the bar high for whichever books will follow.
Salem Covington – a feared man who collects stories and lives – is on a journey of revenge, following the news that his Comanche mentor is dead. With this shaman in tow (riding within a specially made coffin designed to preserve his remains), Salem sets out with a runaway Army scout to hunt down the men that murdered Dead Bear. Though Salem cannot be hurt by most guns, the one that can kill him is actually closer than he thinks.
Though this story felt a little disjointed at times, the dark magic at work here is entrancing, as are the horrors we witness along the way. The Magpie Coffin has a straight-forward path to it, but the world that surrounds Salem is unique and worth exploring. From what I’ve heard, there will be more Salem in the future, so I’d recommend paying close attention to the lore and magic Young has sprinkled throughout this short novel; I’m definitely interested to learn more.
The violence isn’t as much as I expected – provided the things I’d heard prior to reading the book – but there are some gory moments that would prove haunting on the big screen. And on that note, The Magpie Coffin would make an extreme movie if adapted properly. Seeing as I’m a fan of westerns (and this dark novel), go ahead and sign me up now for an early viewing if such a movie ever happens.
The Magpie Coffin may not be without its flaws, but they’re pretty minor. I really enjoyed this gritty ride, and can’t help but look forward to any news regarding Salem’s return. This could be the next must-follow series.