Peter Brandvold holds a special place in my western shelf. When I first tried getting into westerns almost a decade ago Brandvold had just published the first of his Lou Prophet: Bounty Hunter novels. Funny, well written, and action packed, with at least one tawdry romance per novel, this series has been one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Brandvold has written a number of other books under his name and the pen name Frank Leslie. I have avoided them, though, they always seemed much grimmer than the Lou Prophet books. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon Brandvold’s own blog, where he talked about getting a long shelved weird western, Bad Wind Blowing, published as an e-book. I definitely need to read more of his books.
Bad Wind Blowing tells the story of a gold prospector, a school marm, and a female town sheriff fighting off the evil presence haunting the Poudre River Valley in 1800’s Colorado. I am not sure where to start with this book. Gunfights? Check. Demons? Check. Crazy Indians? Check. Hot sex scenes? Got that, too, but less than you would think from trashy cover (in fact I am not sure how the cover is related to the book at all). By his own admission, Brandvold has given up writing anything that would look like great literature in favor of writing great campfire stories. He is dead on with this book. Always riding the rim of being over the top, but never quite crossing it, Bad Wind Blowing is consistently fun page after page. I am not sure if there is a literary category for brilliantly written trash, but Brandvold owns it for the western genre.