Southwest Arizona, a century ago: an uneasy truce exists between the remote frontier community of Picture City and the neighboring Apaches. That delicate peace is shredded when the bodies of two white men are found hideously mutilated. The angry townspeople are certain the “savages” have broken the treaty, but Billjohn Finley, the local Indian agent, fears that darker, more unholy forces may be at work. There’s a tall, dark stranger in town, who rode in wearing the dead men’s clothes. A stranger who may not be entirely human.
Originally published as a mass-market Western in 1994, Shadow on the Sun has been largely overlooked by horror fans and general readers. But this tale of supernatural terror is sure to chill the blood of Matheson’s many fans.
©1994 RXR, Inc. (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Perhaps no other author living is as responsible for chilling a generation with tantalizing nightmare visions.” (New York Times)
I read science fiction and fantasy, but I also like literary fiction, the classics, the occasional mystery/thriller, and non-fiction.
A pretty straightforward horror/western: the gruesome murders of two white men threaten a treaty between a band of warlike Apaches and the U.S. before the ink has even dried, but when Indian agent Billjohn Finley investigates, he discovers that the murderer may be supernatural.
Matheson's writing is pure story: he doesn't set up more than he needs to, and his characters get only as much detail as they need. This would make a good movie, though unlike many of Matheson's other stories, it hasn't been turned into a film, probably because Westerns are so out of fashion.
3.5 stars. This is a decent yarn, though even the ending is scripted like a Hollywood movie. Definitely worth reading or listening to for a few hours of entertainment, though it's not likely to rank as one of your all-time favorites.
The performance by Mark Bramhall is good, if perhaps a bit overacted at times, but it fits the melodramatic plotting.
I'm a fan of a lot of Richard Matheson's stories...this is not one of them. Overall I thought it was okay. The narrator did a good job, and his voice suited the story. It was a different sort of story compared to Matheson's other works. This one is set in the Wild West and our hero of the story is a government official, who must figure out who is killing people in the town. It is a supernatural story, so if that isn't your thing then don't get this book!
If you're a Richard Matheson fan, this book is well worth your time. It's an excellent blend of two of his favorite genres.
The reader does a terrific job presenting the book.
Great storytelling with foreshadowing that created great suspense.
The scenes that foreshadowed the ending - the Corcoran brothers observing the treaty talks and what happened to Little Owl.
Billjohn Finley. He was formally educated yet had an understanding and appreciation for the native American culture and ways. He respected - and ultimately rightfully so - the Native American views on mysticism.
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