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Reviewed by Steve Leshin for Readers' Favorite
Plague at Snake Creek (An Ezekiel Cool Weird Western) by Rob Moody is aptly titled. Think Dawn of the Dead meets Clint Eastwood in the old West. Ezekiel Cool, the main protagonist in the story, is the sheriff of the town of Snake Creek. The story is set after the Civil War. We learn that the sheriff is a veteran of the Confederacy. There is not much going on in Snake Creek and the sheriff likes it that way. With not too much to do, he walks around the small town and says hi to folks, until he sees an Indian on a horse across the river, staring at the town, or at him. As the day progresses, he meets the madam of Myra’s Place, one of two brothels in town. Myra has a distinctive beauty and the sheriff notices it, but at the same time does not approve of her principles. An incident takes place at her establishment and this leads to the first case of the plague. You can guess what happens next. Certain residents of the town go about biting folks and the victims wind up dead after serving as their meal. Shortly afterward, they join the ranks of the biters who rise from the dead with the sole purpose of eating the living. In the background, the significance of the Indian across the river adds to the mystery of why zombies are inhabiting Snake Creek in the first place.
Rob Moody saves most of his character development for Ezekiel and Myra, both typical archetypes in this kind of western tale. Sheriff Ezekiel Cook could be played by Eastwood in his spaghetti western days, with economy of words in his dialogue and a reluctant but simmering bravery and strength. Myra is the prostitute with a heart of gold, or in this case, more bravado than heart. The sexual tension between the sheriff and her is implied, though it is only teased throughout the story. Plague at Snake Creek is the first book in a projected series that will expand on the zombie/old West theme. The dialogue is straightforward and generic for typical western speak, except when they try to explain to the townsfolk what happens to someone after they are bitten. The idea for the series is what drew me in to read the first book. What could have easily been too campy a story is, instead, well-executed. The story flows along well and keeps the reader engaged. I would have liked more of a background story for Ezekiel and Myra. Hopefully, that will be explored more in subsequent books of the series. So, if you are looking for a weird zombie adventure to read, Plague at Snake Creek is a good bet.