Eric Scott Fischl “Dr Potter’s Medicine Show” (Angry Robot, 2017)
Some years back, David Milch rocked us with Deadwood. Suddenly people thought that Westerns could and should be dark. And now they are.
Did I say dark? Wow, this book is dark. I have to admit that perhaps it’s my own reading protocols. I thought of this book as a fantasy with some horror elements. I can see now that it’s really a horror novel, with some historical fantasy mixed in.
The book follows the titular Medicine Show around as they travel and use the sales of their cure-all as a means to conduct dark alchemical experiments. It’s gruesome stuff, and the cast of characters do not help. You are either evil or a victim. I kept waiting for a cowboy with a white hat to ride in & clean things up but it was obvious early that was not going to happen.
Now most of my reaction is on me, I’m just not the reader for that. I will say, however, that I thought there were tonal problems with the early scenes with the brothers Ag & Sol. Their early scenes were straight black comedy. Yet contextually it felt jarring rather than comedic relief.