Tag Archive: paranormal Western


Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Here at borg.com, we’re fans of Westerns.  And ghost stories.  But we haven’t truly appreciated just how much fun they can be together—until Holly Messinger’s lively debut, The Curse of Jacob Tracy, and a prequel novella, The Romance of Certain Old Bones.

Messinger’s books fit in nicely alongside Dead Man’s Hand (reviewed here), Bone Tomahawk (reviewed here), and Dragon Teeth, reviewed recently here, and will appeal especially to fans of All-Star Western’s hero Jonah Hex.  Set several years after the Civil War, The Curse of Jacob Tracy follows the title character, a Confederate veteran cursed with the ability to see the dead.  A former seminarian, Trace is lying low as a cowhand and trail boss, and doing his level best to stay away from hauntings.  He’s joined in his adventures with longtime working partner Boz, his indispensible, skeptical right-hand-man. But the curse keeps cropping up, in a series of fun, episodic adventures strung together by a strong throughline.  You’ll encounter Werewolves on a Train, haunted printing presses, gruesome Bordenesque axe-murders, and men possessed by dinosaurs.  Yes, really.

Trace is a strong, sympathetic, multi-layered lead, with a frank, level-headed, and sometimes downright funny voice.  Messinger’s supporting cast is just as strong.  Female lead Sabine Fairweather, a mysterious, learned gentlewoman who has hired Trace for odd jobs—really odd jobs—is hiding eerie secrets of her own, deep inside her esoteric steampunk laboratory.  As Trace becomes more deeply entwined in Miss Fairweather’s curious work, he begins to tentatively embrace, rather than recoil from, his strange powers.  But the partnership comes at a cost, and as Trace learns more about the supernatural, he realizes his newfound skills are jeopardizing everyone he cares about.  He can’t hide from the curse, but can he learn to control it?

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As the supernatural-horror-fantasy TV series Grimm wrapped an excellent series finale last Friday, the supernatural-horror-Western Syfy Channel series Wynonna Earp is wrapping up its second series production in Alberta, Canada.  Season 2 returns on Fridays this June, rejoining tough-as-nails heroine Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano) as she continues to pick off the remainder of the 77 “Revenant” demons in the town of Purgatory thanks to the legacy of her great-great-grandfather Wyatt–with the help of his legendary Peacemaker and the seemingly immortal Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon).

The Season One finale was full of activity and issues to be resolved this year: Black Badge cop Dolls (Shamier Anderson) had deputized Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell) onto his government team.  Older sister Willa (Natalie Krill) shot Nicole after conning Wynonna into handing over the Peacemaker.  Doc and Dolls teamed up against the Revenants.  Bobo (Michael Eklund) dropped a bombshell, telling Wynonna that Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) isn’t really her sister.  At the edge of the Triangle, Wynonna faced off against sister Willa, killing her with the Peacemaker to save her from an even worse death from a hellmouth monster.  Wynonna managed to escape, closing the Triangle.  Wynonna finally killed Bobo.  Wynonna and Doc decided to rescue Dolls as Waverly emerges, possessed from touching some primordial ooze at the hellmouth.  Cliffhanger!

Look for twelve new episodes this season, and the addition of new cast member Tamara Duarte (Longmire) as Rosita, enlisted to help fight the Revenants.  Will we learn who are Waverly’s parents if she is really not an Earp?  Will Wynonna be able to save her?  If you missed Season One don’t fret:  You can watch it all now on Netflix.  Check out this preview to Season Two:

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Wynonna Earp gun

By Elizabeth C. Bunce

We at borg.com have been big fans of several recent series on SyFy, notably those coming from Canadian showrunner Emily Andras (Lost Girl, Killjoys).  Well, Andras is back with an all-new series that we previewed here that looks to be just as fun, once again with a powerful female lead.  Based on the IDW comic of the same name, Wynonna Earp is a paranormal Western, in the tradition of the anthology Dead Man’s Hand, (reviewed here) and borg.com favorite All-Star Western, featuring Jonah Hex (reviewed here).

On her twenty-seventh birthday, Earp family black sheep Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano, Haven, The Listener) returns home to Purgatory (presumably Alberta) to attend her uncle’s funeral, and inherit the family curse: She’s become the Earp Heir, the only person capable of wielding her great-great-granddaddy’s Colt .45 Buntline Special, known as “Peacemaker.”  See, Purgatory and the Earps are haunted by the ghosts–or Revenants–of Sherriff Wyatt Earp’s kills.  And every generation of Earps must hunt down the undead again, until all 77 have been dispatched for good.  The trouble is, Wynonna wasn’t actually the Heir–that dubious honor ought to have belonged to elder sister Willa.  But Willa and their father were killed by Revenants when Wynonna was just a kid, leaving Purgatory, Wynonna, and younger sister Waverly unprotected.

Doc Holliday Wynonna Earp

The series has just aired its third episode (Episode 4 airs Friday, April 22), and it’s off to a fantastic start.  Andras has a great knack for blending excellent worldbuilding, sci-fi and paranormal elements, winning characters, and humor.  Scrofano is sharp-tongued and swaggering, a perfect modern-day gunslinger, and she’s backed up with an excellent supporting cast.  Shamier Anderson (Defiance) plays Agent Dolls, special agent of the Black Badge Division, a sort of Men in Black-style “cross-border” paranormal task force, and Dominique Provost-Chalkley as overeager little sister Waverly is a funny and delightful sidekick.  But the standout is Tim Rozon (Being Human, Lost Girl) as the mysterious Henry, immediately identifiable (though not identified) as the ghost of Doc Holliday, sporting a lazy drawl and unclear motives that make him absolutely captivating–utterly unrecognizable from his vile Lost Girl character.

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