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Publisher's Summary

In the West, there are worse things to fear than bandits and outlaws.

Demons. Monsters. Witches. James Crowley’s sacred duty as a Black Badge is to hunt them down and send them packing, banish them from the mortal realm for good.

He didn’t choose this life. No. He didn’t choose life at all.

Shot dead in a gunfight many years ago, now he’s stuck in purgatory, serving the whims of the White Throne to avoid falling to Hell. Not quite undead, though not alive either, the best he can hope for is to work off his penance and fade away.

This time, the White Throne has sent him to investigate a strange bank robbery in Lonely Hill. An outlaw with the ability to conjure ice has frozen and shattered open the bank vault and is now on a spree, robbing the region for all it’s worth.

In his quest to track down the ice-wielder and suss out which demon is behind granting a mortal such power, Crowley finds himself face-to-face with hellish beasts, shapeshifters, and, worse…temptation. But the truth behind the attacks is worse than he ever imagined.…

The Witcher meets The Dresden Files in this weird Western series by the Audible number one bestselling duo behind Dead Acre.

©2022 by Rhett C. Bruno and Steven Beaulieu (P)2022 by Blackstone Publishing

Critic Reviews

“A weird and wild twist on the Old West that mashes gunslingers, divine intervention, and the supernatural into one hell of a story. Highly recommended!” Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of V-Wars and Kagen the Damned  

“The rich mystical elements feel every bit as authentic to the west as the gunslinging and grit, all of which deftly bring the characters and setting to life.” Shirtaloon, Top 10 Amazon charts bestselling author of He Who Fights with Monsters

“A badass supernatural western…It’s like the Witcher goes to Tombstone.” Larry Correia, New York Times bestselling author of Monster Hunter International 

What listeners say about Cold as Hell

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Saints and Elders, that was good!

I've been anxiously awaiting this title since Dead Acre released a year or so ago. That novella blew me away and, like so many, I thought James Crowley's story needed more. When Cold As Hell was released, I did everything possible to get ahold of an early copy. Somehow, I was lucky and succeeded.

This story exceeds all expectations I had and my only regret is having to wait so long for book two!

Roger Clark has to be the best narrator alive. He reads like a dream.

If you like Jim Butcher/The Dresden Files, don't even hesitate. This will take its place when Harry retires.

7 people found this helpful

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Yeti keeps coming back for more...

I never thought I'd like a series as much as I like Dresden, and I know there's only 1 and a half of these, but if this keeps up, I'll have a new favorite.

6 people found this helpful

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Like I died and went to heaven

Cold as Hell is absolutely refreshing. I've listened to a ton of Urban Fantasy type books, and most leave you wanting for either story or world-building. Not this. this fires on all cylinders. If you're reading reviews to see if you should buy this... do it.

5 people found this helpful

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Fans of Red Dead and Jonah Hex rejoice!

Bruno and Castle did it again. Another fantastic novel.
The story is fun and exciting. The narrator is perfect. He really channels Arthur in this one.
This is an awesome follow-up to Dead Acre!

Very very highly recommended to anyone

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Amazing

Once I started I couldn’t stop. Great narration and great story. This will definitely be a book that I will listen to over and over.

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Best book I've read this year!

I wasn't surprised how much I liked this based on the synopsis, but I was surprised how fast I blew through it. The narrator, from Red Dead Redemption fame, is the perfect voice for Crowley. He has that rough, gruff tone that fits the MC like no other.
The plot is also fantastic with plenty of monsters and demons that test the battle-hardened warrior. I've seen this novel compared to The Witcher, but honestly, I think this book is better. I love Crowley and his outlook on life, and death. Grab this one, you won't regret it! I can't wait for more!

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Amazing!

Castle and Bruno work well together. There is a perfect mix of world building, action and storytelling in this book. The pilot was great and this continues that same line of quality. Clark is a great narrator in the same light as Bray or Boyett but he really shines here.

4 people found this helpful

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Even for weird westerns, this was dreary

I enjoyed the prequel novella Dead Acre more, in part because its one-quarter length made it more efficient, with less plodding filler. The prequel also delivered better menace and horror.

Which isn’t to say this was bad; i liked the spiritual Unforgiven vibe, with Crowley as a reluctant
Black Badge serving penance for the White Throne.
And Roger Clark was born to deliver dry, lone gunslinger narration.

But, for me to feel more, it seems I need to have a main character that is capable of feeling more.
Crawley is dead. He doesn’t die, bleed, or feel pain when shot or stabbed. Empathy, hunger, or lust?
Yeah, not so much. Without great range of emotion, I needed more action, bad-guy scene chewing, or tightly written plots. Instead, this had a lot of the same tropes found in mundane westerns.
Crowley observes that “a man has one gun for defense, two if he means to kill” … and of course then notes he has three. 🙄

As the plot meandered like a saddle backed nag, my mind wandered with questions. I was frustrated by the whole “G0d works in mysterious ways” idea. Crowley gets his orders from an Angel in his mirror, who can turn his arm to dust to make a point. So, why can’t the Angel battle the nephilim or the spiritual monsters? And why all the secrecy? And why keep making Crowley put the mission above protecting the innocent?

I put this behind Six Gun Tarot (which built great suspense/horror amid its weird west setting),
tied with Make Me No Grave (which had a noir-weird west mood and even more subtle magic system), and above The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu (which walked down the dull, dark and dreary path even more than this book).

2 people found this helpful

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Western Black Magic Blockbuster

If you want to know what a blockbuster movie looks like before someone has the good sense to put it to film, read Cold as Hell. It starts hot off the heels of its prequel novella, Dead Acre, driving the action and intrigue so hard that I deeply resented having to pause for other concerns. At that, I finished the 13 hour tale in 2 days, a feat all the more impressive given my notoriously short attention span. I won't spoil nothing, except to say James Crowley's hunt for the evil supernatural monsters inhabiting the Wild West provides a feast of gunfighting, magic, suspense and finely crafted characters I both loved and loved to hate. Even though it's only May, I can tell this will probably be my favorite book of 2022. I strongly urge anyone to experience the story through the audiobook as Roger Clark's rich drawling narration is top notch. I eagerly await the next book in the series!

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Red Dead Red's next plot line ..

This would be an awesome video game story line and world....Witcher 3 meets RDR2.
loved it.