nother one from the collection Four Summoner’s Tales, the second of the set.
You’ll remember my review of the first one of this group, Suffer the Children, and how I thought that was going to be pretty much the sorts of stories we were going to go through in this necromancy collection (people of the past raising their dead out of Salem graveyards or the like). Well, Pipers blew that assumption out of the water.
So in this novella, Zeke is a practical rancher down in a Texas border town. He lost his wife years back and so his world now centers on Savannah, his beautiful daughter, the light of his life. Our story opens with him chatting with her in his pickup on their way to a music festival, a father-daughter discussion where he’s both clueless and big-bear loving, a conversation that rings true and helps establish his love, his caring, and his situation. So he drops her off to go hang with her friends and then decides to try his own hand with the waitress he’s been considering over the years. Perhaps he’s finally coming out of the shell he cast himself into after his wife’s death.
But that’s when a Mexican cartel, pissed that this little town has organized a border watch and caught a couple of their mules, strikes. Two trucks loaded with gunmen fly down the main street, blazing away. Savannah is killed right before his eyes.
And it’s nothing but bleakness for Zeke, that is until the little dark man comes to town with an odd proposition. He can raise the dead, and he’s pissed at the cartel and its top man, given the fact that they kidnapped, raped, and killed his daughter, posting parts of her back in pieces. Turns out that this little man cannot bring her back – not with only half a body. But the dozens of innocents killed in the streets by the rampaging cartel? Yes, they would make a perfect army of the dead. And all the survivors have to do is agree to his terms and he’ll give them the power to bring them back. And they will keep healing, keep getting better until they are restored to normal. But until then, they can’t be killed.
But they can kill.
I really liked this tale. It was dark and twisty and tense, and the person who read it for the audio disk did a crackerjack job in his reading (his cowboys sounded weatherbeaten, and his drug lords oily). It was a great story with a fantastic twist that grows on me every time I think back on it. So, yes, this one is just a jewel on the crown of a fantastic collection. My recommendation is to read/listen to it. Wow.