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Shadow on the Sun

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  226 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Southwest Arizona, a century ago. An uneasy true exists between the remote frontier community of Picture City and the neighboring Apaches. That delicate peace is shredded when the bodies of two white men are found hideously mutilated. The angry townspeople are certain the "savages" have broken the treaty, but Billjohn Finley, the local Indian agent, fears that darker, more ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Tor Books (first published 1994)
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Mar 25, 2012 Maciek rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Twilight Zone enthusiasts
Richard Matheson was a writer for the original Twilight Zone, and most of his work shows why. Short and tight, his work has entertained, surprised and amazed whole generations. He became a writer's writer, with many citing him as inspiration and motivation to pursue their own dreams of writing.

A Shadow on the Sun, a short paperback western published in 1994, is not destined to become a classic, but certainly succeeds at being a piece of entertaining fiction, if short. I think that if we were to
A pretty straightforward horror/western: the gruesome murders of two white men threaten a treaty between a band of warlike Apaches and the U.S. before the ink has even dried, but when Indian agent Billjohn Finley investigates, he discovers that the murderer may be supernatural.

Matheson's writing is pure story: he doesn't set up more than he needs to, and his characters get only as much detail as they need. This would make a good movie, though unlike many of Matheson's other stories, it hasn't be
Though my interests in the genre has waxed and waned at various points in my life I’ve always been interested in Westerns. Growing up the Lone Ranger and Tonto were the first Western characters to ever capture my imagination. In my teen years I discovered the Westerns of Clint Eastwood and numerous other “Spaghetti” Westerns, a genre which I still find cool today. Then in my twenties I discovered the type of Western I loved best, the “Weird Western”. Weird West tales are usually a hybrid of West ...more
Richard Matheson is well-known for being a writer on the Twilight Zone. This novella could have been delineated in the course of a half-hour TV show, but that doesn't mean it wasn't enjoyable!

Finley is an Indian Agent in the old west, and he has finally brokered a treaty between the white town of Picture City and Braided Feather's Apache tribe. However, the mutilated bodies of 2 townsfolk and the appearance of a odd stranger riding their horse, create a yarn of old west supernatural mayhem. As
Angela J Maher
I found it a bit hard to stay engaged with this book, maybe because of the Wild West setting. It's an interesting story, but there aren't many unseen twists. Not his best work, but an ok read.
James Rhodes
Thoughtful cross genre horror with a heavy dose of post-colonial history and politics.
Alaa  A
its different that any thing that I ever read ....

the horror of a unknown man that kills like am animal
I've always felt that all horror works on suspense, not knowing what comes next, not being able to understand what happens; that causes fear. Shadow on the Sun by Richard Matheson shows the difference between suspense and intrigue.

The plot of this western, as you can see, is fairly straightforward. About six pages in, and with one glance at that first cover, you can guess what should have been the biggest mystery of all – what mauled the two young men and how is it related to that strange man wi
Jeffery Moulton
I knew absolutely nothing about this book other than the synopsis and that it was written by Richard Matheson. Being a fan of Matheson's work (and becoming more of a fan every day), I decided to check it out and I'm really glad I did.

This book was very, very good. Maybe part of it is that I just finished reading a book about the Navajos, and while this book is about the Apaches (a VERY different culture altogether), I felt very in tune with the setting. It resonated more with me than ever. And t
Martin Hill
Author Richard Matheson was an amazingly prolific author and screenwriter best known, perhaps, for his novel I Am Legend which was the basis of multiple movies and is considered the granddaddy of the zombie genre. While I enjoyed Legend so much that I read it twice, I think Shadow On the Sun was even better.

In the late 1800s, an uneasy truce has been achieved between the western town of Picture City and nearby Apaches. The peace was the achievement of Indian agent Billjohn Finley despite hostili
Richard Matheson is a writer who doesn’t need a big introduction. Among his most famous novels which were later adapted for the big screen are A Stir of Echoes, I Am Legend and What Dreams May Come. Famous horror writer Stephen King cites Matheson as “the author who influenced me the most as a writer”. It was this quote on the front cover that caught my eye at the bookstore, and the intriguing blurb at the back – a story set a century ago, Apaches, and a mysterious man “who may not be entirely h ...more
Do you miss the tone and pace and style of Matheson's narrative voice? Do you miss the impression that he sits beside you as you drive around his world, with clouds of dread just behind each horizon? Then enjoy.

Other than that, 'Shadow on The Sun' is a good supernatural western with a familiar but sympathetic protagonist and a puzzling and ominous antagonist. "A good read," as son Richard Christian Matheson would say. "Gripping--"

This one's not going to change your life, but it's a satisfying ti
Originally posted at

Story: Shadow On The Sun is a horrific mystical journey into the borderlands of early America where wary townspeople and neighboring Apaches have finally agreed to a truce. Matheson wastes no time in building tensions that threaten to break the treaty and thrust the countryside back into a bloody war. It is ultimately left to Billjohn Finley (the Indian agent who negotiated the truce) to attempt to maintain the peace.

This task becomes more and mor
At five hours, this is one of the shorter books I've read recently and I wonder how much my luke-warm reaction has to do with that. When you're used to dozens of named and POV characters slowly revealing their personalities, five hours can seem straightforward, if not downright thin.

Or perhaps I should say "straight-forward," since that's what the story is: after many years of skirmishing, a band of Apache Indians has just signed a peace treaty with the government, brokered by the one honest Ind
I now know where that creepy creature from JEEPERS, CREEPERS (the movie) came from. Matheson's works may seem familiar but, that's because he invented all of these horribly delightful ideas that have since been made over and over again in books & film. He is an education in horror/fantasy.
Chrysten Lofton
This was my first real taste of (reading) Richard Matheson. This was just great prose and great story. I had a marvelous time. Creepy, interesting, great underlying themes-- a bold novella.
Nothing groundbreaking here, but kind of cool to read a horror story set in the Old West. Not Matheson's best work.
Very dark, but done in Matheson's typically gritty style. An interesting take.
Blair Hodgkinson
This is not the best book Richard Matheson ever wrote, but that still puts it miles ahead of the majority of what's out there. Matheson's mastery of prose is in full play here and his storytelling is clear, direct and strong here. I have liked his westerns and fantasy stories independent of each other over the years, but here the two genres are skillfully blended. Highly enjoyable. The audiobook I listened to from Audible was read by Mark Bramhall and he makes a fine job of it. Recommended.
Daniel Routh
To amend my two stars, I should say that Matheson is a talented enough writer that it kept me up all night turning pages. But a lesson that book publishers should learn by heart: just because a book makes you turn pages doesn't mean its worth reading. This is a slight-horror Old West book that features a strange spirit called into play. It read more like a penny-dreadful than Matheson's other horror book I read, "I Am Legend" which is a true classic.
Mick Trevitt
OK. Not the best of Matheson.
Apostol Marinopoulos
Matheson succeeds here in building a scary and unique story set in the american West some years after the end of the Civil War (1865).

This novel borrows a lot from indian beliefs about (malevolent) spirits. The result is that Matheson creates an atmosphere of fear for a small town in Arizona which hosts a peace treaty between the US government and the local Apache population.
Set in the 19th century west, Finley has signed a peace treaty with an apache band. But now horrific murders have occurred and the people in town believe the Indians are responsible. Only he isnt too sure. A strange man has been in town and the Apaches are frightened. But what he finds terrifies him. Pretty good tale.
Joey Cruz
Another case of Matheson taking a relatively ordinary story and making it shine with the power of his prose, pacing and characters. This one is well-labeled as a tale of the Weird West. A supernatural thriller set against the backdrop of tense negotiations between a struggling town and the local indian tribe.
Steve Hadfield
A western horror / thriller story. Once again, Matheson shows how good of a writer he is, since I've seen several movies that have borrowed the concept for their movies. A man with a duty, willing to see it all the way through, even when it likely means his death. Excellent.
Joshua Gage
This was an odd Weird Western tale that felt very dated. The white Indian agent was the "good guy" who had to protect the ignorant, helpless Indians, etc. Very stereotypical, and a very abrupt ending. Not one of the better Weird Westerns.
T.E. Grau
A great Weird Western, folding in grim commentary on the federal government's handling of the Native Americans with Apache mythology and curse magick.

A quick read, and very enjoyable.
Hayden Harper
Loved it! The protagonist, setting, and suspense. Matheson's writing style is engaging and makes you feel like you're experiencing the action firsthand.
James McCann
This was a fantastic supernatural thriller set in the old west. Spooky and a page turner.
Andrew Scaife
Simple, cinematic, fantasy western. Reads like a fairy tale. Loved it.
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Born in Allendale, New Jersey to Norwegian immigrant parents, Matheson was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1943. He then entered the military and spent World War II as an infantry soldier. In 1949 he earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and moved to California in 1951. He married in 1952 and has four children, three of w ...more
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