About this book
Year of the Rattlesnake by Steve Van Samson
Weird House’s first weird wild west collection!
Wrap around cover and interior illustrations by M. Wayne Miller
Signed and lettered deluxe hardcover edition with slipcase
Tales of Revenants, Revolvers and a Weird West that never was!
There was a time when a man went bad, his name spread faster and farther than any plague. Of course, there are worse things in the world than men. Enclosed in this collection are tales of horror and the phantasmagoric. Romping yarns which meander around each other, intermingling like threads of smoke from the barrel of a rifle.
Year of the Rattlesnake is a collection of eight not so short weird western stories by rising horror author Steve Van Samson. These biting tales stand on their own, and yet manage to weave in and around each other to connect in unexpected ways. Ultimately, a most peculiar tapestry comes into focus—one depicting an alternate (though still plenty ugly) version of a post civil war America. A landscape crawling with wanted desperadoes and vengeful spirits… but there are far older things too. Unthinkable creatures straight out of tribal lore that may just cause the sane mind to crack.
Hellfire In A Glass
After many days on the run, “Rattlesnake” Frank Hass finds refuge in a mysterious town’s only saloon. Fortunately, the big Mexican sitting at the table in the back didn’t notice when he walked in. Fortunate because it was Frank who shot out the man’s eye all those years ago.
If the stories are true, the town of Broken Promise is in the habit of tossing its dead down the shaft of an old defunct mine. The Briar Brothers have heard all about that and more. Some say there are other things buried down there than just the bodies. Possibly a fortune in gold.
A Feast of Flies
A gaunt stranger appears out of the dark, at the camp of the infamous Weeping John Wraith. The stranger claims he just wants to warm up by the fire, but almost immediately, things start happening to the gang’s food supply. Things so impossible, it’s enough to send sanity packing.
The traveling menagerie of the great Finneas Faraday has come to the town of Nacogdoches to thrill and entertain. Unfortunately, the beautiful woman with the snake act has caught the eye of the most wanted man in Texas. Comedy quickly becomes tragedy as the ragtag family does what they must in order to survive the night.
The Owl Man doesn’t like to get involved, but when he stumbles upon a freshly murdered wife and her husband, rage flashes in his golden eye. After putting the couple to rest, he calls upon an ancient revenge curse–invoking the name of the Skadegamutc.
Two young siblings are whiling away the afternoon, waiting for their daddy to return from work. He never came home last night and Dennis, being the elder of the two, knows what this might mean. To keep Anne’s mind off the subject, he tells her all about something he calls, the sewing bees.
Last Stand At The Grain Elevator
As the Chavez twins gallop away from a posse of well-paid railroad ‘bulls’, they make the split second decision to make their last stand inside an old grain elevator. The men could have never known what the place really was… or where it would take them.
The Rest of the Wicked
Having just been betrayed by his oldest friend, Theseus Nil is in a foul mood. All those years riding together and he gets double crossed over a damn pay day. If he can find a way to restock and procure a new horse, the first thing he’ll do is to go hunting for a little retribution.
PRAISE FOR STEVE VAN SAMSON’S “BLACK HONEY AND OTHER UNSAVORY THINGS”
“The stories in this incomparable collection comprise a crash-course into the immense talents of its author, about whom I should expect to hear much in the coming years. Van Samson is a tremendous writer and Black Honey is one of the finest selections of weird and horror fiction I have ever had the pleasure to read.”
—Ed Kurtz, author of The Rib from Which I Remake the World and the Boon trilogy
“Black Honey is one of those collections that offers pieces of everything we love about horror. There are shades of King and Barker in here, but Van Samson also takes us to the dark shadows of Victorian England, to post-apocalyptic madness, and to quiet horror of one’s own back yard, with his own fresh twist. No God But Hunger and Letters To Evelyn were my personal favorites, but every story brings something to the table. Top notch!”
—Morgan Sylvia, author of Abode
“I just finished reading BLACK HONEY And OTHER STORIES. Steve Van Samson’s collection is both wildly satisfying and perfectly balanced in its diversity of narrative styles and settings. Every story is a lovingly-crafted nightmare waiting to be discovered. I’m greatly looking forward to seeing this young author’s career take off in epic proportions.”
—Peter N. Dudar, author of The Goat Parade
PRAISE FOR STEVE VAN SAMSON’S “MARK OF THE WITCHWYRM”
“Mark of the Witchwyrm is epic fantasy at its best. A cunning blend of Conan, Hex, and Lord of the Rings, this adventure is an immersive, visceral, hypnotic journey. Lyrical prose, wise musings, and layered characters make this a gripping read that’s hard to put down. I can only hope that we have more tales set in this fascinating world.”
—Richard Thomas, author of Disintegration and Breaker (Thriller Award nominee)
“One part pulp fantasy, one part fable, one part eldritch monster story, Mark of the Witchwyrm is a crowning achievement in the dark fantasy genre. It’s grim, and still filled with strong characters that choose to hope, even in the face of evil running amok. Truly a fantastic book.”
—Chris Philbrook, author of the USA Today bestselling Reemergence Series
“Mark of the Witchwyrm” is a dark, sinuous tale of rampage and horror, with an unexpected core of warmth and redemption and triumphant humanity. If Jim Butcher ever tried his hand at a Conan the Barbarian story, it would feel a lot like this one does. It’s a tightly woven tale — there are plenty of narrative threads, but no loose ends, no subplots that peter out into nothingness; everything contributes to the plot, and it all comes together inexorably in the climactic chapters in a complex and explosive crescendo of meaningful action followed by a solid and satisfying denouement that leaves a reader spending the next few hours, or maybe days, connecting overlooked subtleties and mentally playing out the endgame from other points of view.
—Finn J.D. John, Conan the Cimmerian Barbarian: The Complete Weird Tales Omnibus