Cold as Hell

Blackstone Audio. (Black Badge, Bk. 1). May 2022. 12:86 hrs. ISBN 9798200711055. Audio. $28.99. FANTASY
Prolific duo Bruno (“The Circuit Saga”) and Castle (The Luna Missile Crisis) team up for a new and wholly original fantasy Western series. In this Weird West tale, listeners will meet former outlaw James Crowley, who is a new Black Badge—originally destined for Hell, but now resurrected by angels to serve as one of Heaven’s vigilantes on Earth. Bruno and Castle’s story places the world’s religion and folklore within a Christian framework, inconsistently balancing respect for cultures’ beliefs against the plot’s need for non-Christian deities to be defined as demons. It is unclear whether this is a feature of the series that will be resolved in subsequent volumes since the cynical, morally gray protagonist seems to rightfully be at odds with his angelic keeper. The audio is narrated by Roger Clark, who is touted as the protagonist of the Red Dead Redemption 2 video game. Clark’s voice is exactly what a listener might expect of a grizzled outlaw—a deep well of gravel and honey, as he conversationally drawls out his quest for justice.
VERDICT Recommend for listeners who enjoy Western tropes and supernatural horror. Perfect for fans of Jim Butcher, Jonathan Maberry, and Mike Resnick.
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