Friday, December 27, 2019

Scapegoat, by Holly Messinger

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Weird West) In 1880, Boz and Trace come to a small, Kansas town where the locals are hostile and cause them to see hallucinations. A place where something truly terrible seems to have happened. (9,382 words; Time: 31m)

This is a nice introduction to the author’s “Trace and Boz” characters. This story is simple, but the characters are engaging.

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 293, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2019.692 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The strength of this story is the characters. The story itself is fairly straightforward; it’s clear at once that something is seriously wrong in this town, and the more we learn, the more horrible it becomes.

A big part of the story is how Boz resolves his feelings toward other black people who’ve suffered as he as vs. his feelings toward his partner, Trace. More accurately, it’s about how the demon uses those feelings as a wedge to try to pull them apart.

I liked Trace and Boz enough that I went ahead and bought, “The Curse of Jacob Tracy,” which introduces the characters.

Con: Although Boz is the protagonist, he doesn’t have a lot of agency here; Trace is the one who sees what’s really happening, and he’s the one who saves the day by sending Boz a mental message in time for him to kill the goat.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Hi! I never heard of this site before the bots picked up my review here. Cool setup! Thanks for all you do. :-)