I hate being the bad guy on this one. As someone trying to publish independently myself I don't like chopping down others trying to do the same. After all, they're only trying to entertain people and make a living. I want to pick out good authors and tout them for all to see, both to help them be more successful and to give viewers something worth their time and money. But I can't do that here, because simply put, Badlands: The Hunter is bad. In this book's defense, it isn't a complete train wreck. It's just that the major flaw it has sucks out all enjoyment I would otherwise get from it. In terms of plot this is actually darned good.
But I must elaborate here, as there are many levels of bad, and this can serve as an excellent example of this particular case. There are badly plotted stories, badly written characters, bad ideas, stories loaded with plot holes, or poor execution.
The basic premise is a specialist paranormal investigator has been called out in a Wild West setting to deal with some ghostly happenings. From that angle it is in fact good, and the writer did well on that note.
So where does it get bad? Simply put, the writing style is too dry and flat to evoke any emotion from the characters or the reader. It's almost shocking how devoid of flare it is. It almost feels like the characters are all robots giving their interpretation of a Western or mimicking one.
"I am Protagonist. Beep boop beep. Initiate Gritty Hero program 327. Activating interaction module. Scene commence."
I'm really not trying to be mean, but the character interactions were so stock. I got half way through the book before I had to stop, because I felt like I was eating a piece of stale bread. Sure, the bread has its structure and vitamins, but it is so stale that I can't enjoy it.
When characters act outraged it comes as a mild surprise, because it doesn't feel like they were showing any signs of aggression before. Sure, there are some indicators, but there just isn't any real feeling of emotion, and it's an anchor around the ankles of what would otherwise be a story I'd love. I don't hate this book at all, and I honestly hope the author improves if he continues, but this one certainly isn't a good example of the genre. I'd almost recommend looking this book over just to analyze the mistakes as well as the things done correctly, as it is sort of fascinating from an academic standpoint.
I really do hate to actually respond negatively like this, but honesty takes precedence. I really do hope that the author of this learns and improves, because in terms of plotting he actually does have potential.
Next I think I'll do Cowboys of Cthulhu! Stay tuned!