Hunt for the Ghoulish Bartender is the first book in Charles Day’s YA series, The Adventures of Kyle McGertt a western fantasy novel with copious helping of considerable splattery goodness, set in the days of not-so-glorious past.
Charles Day’s work is varied, mostly focusing on the Young Adult genre of books, crafting stories for an audience that wants to be equal parts grossed out and scared, instead of experiencing another filtered book experience that has been made squeaky clean for the sake of their impressionable minds. I personally applaud Charles Day’s choice of setting up a gorey adventure and in creating an alternate ( but certainly not more violent) version of the historical Old West.
My only beef with the novel is in its structure: Charles Day knows his audience and wastes no time with unnecessary build up, but this happens only after the lengthy introduction of a band of shameless villains getting their just desserts. After that point, the story unfolds in lightning quick succession. So much so that at times I felt like I was watching a slideshow of great moments without being given the time to soak in on the atmosphere and the tone of his setting.
The book’s cover (created by Gary McCluskey) does a great job in setting up the story, expertly hinting at the red gooey goodness inside. If you are tired of reading another YA book about teenagers finding themselves or a coming-of-age story set against a whitewashed fantasy land, then this book is just what trhe doctor ordered.