Antisocial monster hunter Jonathan Crowley and his companion, the albino former undertaker Mr. Slate, canvass the Old West, giving what for to werewolves and schooling shapeshifters in Moore’s darkly enjoyable collection of tales.
Where the Sun Goes to Die follows events in that occur in Boomtown, (see my review here), where Crowley and Slate’s efforts to fend off reanimated corpses, a malevolent wizard, and a group of possessed Native Americans leaves the town of Carson Point, Colorado a bit worse for wear. As in, well, decimated. I.e., bloodbath. Where the Sun Goes to Die stands successfully on its own gruesome feet, so you don’t need to read Boomtown first, but it does give a little more background on Slate and Crowley’s odd relationship.
Mr. Lucas Slate, once a genteel mortician, is becoming…something else. Judging by others’ terrified reactions to his gaunt and growing frame, whatever he’s changing into is the antithesis of his normally soft-spoken self. Slate is travelling with Crowley to discover the nature of his transformation. Crowley is keeping a weather eye on Slate, coolly ready to dispatch his companion if—when—Slate becomes a monster.
On their journey, they encounter a demon train and a parasitic preacher. They get caught in a conflict between soldiers, Apaches, and a Skinwalker who looks remarkably like Mr. Slate. In a story co-authored by Charles R. Rutledge, Crowley, Slate, and a fellow hunter rescue a stagecoach from werewolves.
Where the Sun Goes to Die is flat-out fun. That is, if your idea of fun involves supernatural throwdowns, gunfights, and general carnage. The grimly charismatic Crowley, as always, carries the tales. Crowley is just…cool. He has magical powers and does not appear to age. He is compelled to aid (fellow?) humans if asked for help. He is irascible. Unimposing. He revels a little too much in a fight. And he doesn’t suffer fools—or really anyone—gladly. But every now and then, there’s just the slightest whisper that there may be, or was, an iota of heart under that tough, techy hide. Mr. Slate complements Crowley nicely. The two remind me vaguely of Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd from Diamonds Are Forever with their formal addresses and occasional dry banter. But Mr. Crowley and Mr. Slate are good guys. Mostly. Fans of westerns and the paranormal will appreciate this genre-bending treat.