Dead Iron: In the Steampunk Western Town of Hallelujah, a Werewolf Bounty Hunter Must Contend With the Strange
Dead Iron by Devon Monk
My “to read,” stack is growing awfully slim. So with a book case full of “who done its,” I went shopping to find something a little more exciting from author I never read. I have read what seems like everything by my favorite authors. So I stumbled upon this one called Dead Iron, which is a steampunk action adventure by Devon Monk. And as I looked at it I realized that I have never read steampunk before, so I guess I gave it a chance.
So what is it about? It’s about a werewolf bounty hunter that investigates into odd cases in a steampunk old west. Sound crazy yet? Just wait. Set in the western rail way town of Hallelujah, our lead Cedar takes the job to look for the missing blacksmith boy. He is also offered the job woman named Mare to find her husband’s killer. He is believed to be killed by railway contractor Shard Lefel, who has indeed killed her husband Jeb up to four times. But Jeb keeps rising from the grave because Mae is a witch and bound him to her. And for the last final time Jeb rises from his grave to cross the country to seek revenge. Its explained early on in the book (So these are not spoilers) that Lefel is three hundred years old from the land of the Strange. The Strange is an evil that seeps through from another world to ours and possesses iron, steel, and mechanical things that will form into beasts with a thirst for blood. Lefel needs a witch, a child, and a werewolf to have their blood spilled on a full moon to go back home. And Cedar is the one who stands in the way of this plan with the help of the old Madders brothers and adventurous girl Rose Small.
So the good? To say this book is dull would be a lie. I like to read things that are new and imaginative and this delivered. With crazy weapons, old steam punk, and supernatural, this was a fun ride. And there was so much mythology untapped. I wanted to know more about the Strange. Is it another dimension really or is it in relation to the old gods that are mentioned in the book? Why would clock work thrive for human blood? And the mysterious glims that can give machines more life and make people superhuman was not thoroughly explained that much either. So much about this Strange is intriguing and scary at the same time. The book is written well. Written so well that it could stand toe to toe with Jim Butcher or Laurell K. Hamilton any day. And it had its own identity too. Here I was getting tired of supernatural crime drama, and this new author turned it on its head to make it new again. I did not expect it to be this good.
The bad? Given the character of Cedar, I was half expecting a number of fight scenes and shoot outs. I was not expecting nearly half of the book to night time scenes where he is in wolf form. Not a big complaint. I just like shoot outs better. Also there is no air of mystery really. The chapters rotated between Mae, Cedar, and given we get the point of view of the villain. So it’s a shame we knew the evil master minds plan from the beginning.
Overall, if you like paranormal stuff this is for you. If you like steam punk, you'll like this. Same if you enjoy westerns. It’s a whole lot of crazy. Its fun, exciting, and somewhat creepy all at the same time. I recommend this to anyone looking for something different.
4 smoothies out of Four
Overall Rating: In the Steampunk Western Town of Hallelujah, a Werewolf Bounty Hunter Must Contend With the Strange