Black Hat Jack
by Joe R. Lansdale
Cover Artist: Ken Laager
Review by Mario Guslandi
Subterranean Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596066779
Date: 30 September 2014 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Renowned, prolific horror author Joe R Lansdale every now and then surprises his numerous fans by providing fictional work in different genres. This is the case with Black Hat Jack, a western novella in which the narrator is Deadwood Dick (a.k.a. Nat Love), an African-American involved in adventurous activities such as hunting buffalo and fighting Indians, together with his good friend Black Hat Jack.
The book reports Nat's version of the second battle of Adobe Walls, where a bunch of cowboys were surrounded by hundreds of Comanche, Cheyenne, and Kiowa warriors, inflamed by the promise of being invincible (wrongly) made by their medicine men.
The novella is wholly enjoyable, proving once again the extraordinary quality of Lansdale as a skilled storyteller. The language is colorful and funny, with traces of humor when the circumstances allow it, profanities galore (but never vulgar or offensive) in a delightful medley of action, boldness, friendship, romance, and violence.
In other words, a page turner, the only flaw of which is the fact that the entertainment lasts only 120 pages printed in big typeface.
Hopefully, Lansdale will soon provide more material (either short stories or a full-length novel) featuring those interesting characters. I'm looking forward to new episodes set in the Old West, I can only advise you to secure a copy of this very pleasurable small book.