Review: The Night I Walked Off Of Boot Hill

By circumstances I cannot recall, I follow many blogs of self-publishing authors. It’s not that I knew their books beforehand. If that would be the case I wouldn’t follow them. I guess. Because the admiration and respect for their craft and art, would have held me back. Thinking I’m unworthy to invade their holy circle of creativity.

I think I follow them because of their marvellous blogs, but I haven’t finished any of their books, until yesterday. I started reading another two, one of which I will finish soon and review as promised (twice).

It’s not that I fear that I might not like their writing. I read their blogs because of their writing capabilities, that’s why I’m following them in the first place. No, it’s the genre. I’m pretty picky. Usually I read non-fiction, and when I read fiction, it’s fantasy.

Now I have just finished: “The Night I Walked Off Of Boot Hill” by Briana Vedsted. Go check out her amazing blog when you have finished here.

It’s a western.

The reason for me to buy (0.89€ at the German Kindle store) and read it, was: the cover. Everytime I came across Briana’s blog, I thought: Oh shit, that cover is really really ugly. Sorry for the frank words.

Her posts are generally great, so that bothered me. Quite a while to be honest.

‘If her writing is similar to what I know from her posts, that cover really pulls it down.’

‘Damn, there is no way I can’t come up with a better one.’

Continued my thinking.

A short review

To understand what the book is about I bought and read it. A quick read. Actually I think it’s too short. As much as I appreciate short books, there is not enough time to develop the characters properly.

For example: towards the end of the book Tom talks about Jim as if he knew him for years. But they just met a few days earlier. The intensity and trust they show for each other isn’t believable for me. A side journey, doing some outlawish things, the three years, until Tom could file a claim for himself, would have given them the time to become much more acquainted and build a real father-son relationship.

There are no ups and downs, either. It builds steadily up, until the – to be expected – climax. In no point in time is their journey disturbed by anything major. The small interlude with the Indians doesn’t work as such.

Additionally I have found a minor organizational mistake: there are two chapter 4.

But nevertheless, it was an engaging and fun read. In the moment I finished it, I really liked it, and there was no point in the story where I didn’t enjoy reading it.

But then my analytical mind took it apart. I realized, it won’t be anything I will remember in a month or so. It’s simple and straight, not much to think about, but I couldn’t put the book down until finished, either. So there is something in it. Maybe it is how the genre works and I don’t just get it, fully.

4 out of 7 stars.

A new cover

Nevertheless I have imagined the perfect cover art. Perfect in my opinion, at least. I won’t talk about the current cover, more than I already did above. But here are some thoughts about a possible new one:

In the center of the cover is a picture of a cemetery located on top of a hill, Boot Hill. No trees of course. It’s the desert, after all. Maybe a cactus. Some tombstones and wooden crosses. You see the back of a cowboy, ghostly white and blurred. A trail leads across the hill. The cowboy walks the trail. Behind him the trail is blood red. The red color increases it’s intensity to the bottom and grows as wide as the whole cover. The authors name, in white letters sits in this red area at the bottom.

In the ghost-cowboy’s walking direction the trail gets lighter and slimmer like a tunnel. It leads into a white light. You see the shade of a little girl, a horse, a mule and another more slender cowboy. Above, the central picture flows into a black area at the top of the cover. There is the books title, again in white letters.

I will work on it a bit and show you soon a first draft. But it’s one thing to imagine something and quite a different thing to make it happen. I will give my best and I’m quite excited how the result will look like.

6 thoughts on “Review: The Night I Walked Off Of Boot Hill

  1. Briana Vedsted says:

    Well, I must say, I’m glad you like my blog! Sorry for the let-down of the book, though. You did say some positives, which I appreciate, and I understand that there are two reasons you’re not crazy about my book: 1-it is a western and 2-it is written for a young audience (MG/YA)
    However, you idea for the cover sounds pretty phenomenal.
    And thank you for taking the time to review this for me.

    1. Dirk Porsche says:

      And I’m glad you don’t take it personal. I feel young at heart, but I guess I’m really not the target audience.

      And really, I tend to be overly critical. I have to stop myself sometimes, otherwise I would concentrate only on the flaws and wouldn’t appreciate the good parts.

      There are many good parts.

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