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The Six-Gun Tarot (Golgotha #1)

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  1,779 Ratings  ·  370 Reviews
Buffy meets Deadwood in a dark, wildly imaginative historical fantasy

Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoa
Hardcover, 364 pages
Published January 22nd 2013 by Tor Books
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The Gunslinger by Stephen KingBloodrush by Ben GalleyBloodfeud by Ben GalleyBloodmoon by Ben GalleyThe Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher
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5th out of 138 books — 120 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
One of the most enduring motifs of the Western genre is the town in the forsaken deserts of the West where people go to run from their past lives and to escape to a new one. In this novel, Golgotha is such a place, however the voice that leads travelers into its depths is a sinister, ageless one. A voice that also attracts all sort of supernatural phenomena.

Young Jim makes it to edge of this town, where the desert almost kills him and his beloved horse, Precious. His life is saved by a strange h
Jan 23, 2016 Sanaa rated it really liked it
[4.5 Stars] What a strange and interesting book! I haven't read anything this weird or dark in a while, and I really loved it. The characters and the world building are truly the most unique part about this book. I found myself wanting to know more and more abut every single character we encountered, and I felt really attached to many of them. They're real. They're not without their problems, baggage, or darkness, but they are complex and so intriguing to read about. This is the first weird west ...more
Mar 02, 2016 Ctgt rated it really liked it
Shelves: western, weird
Faith gives a thing power. Belief is one of the most powerful assets mankind possesses. It's a damn shame so few folks take advantage of it. Of course the world is set up to make it hard to believe-that's part of the elegant trap of it.

A really good weird western set in Nevada just beyond the 40-Mile Desert in the town of Golgotha(great name). The book is a mashup of ideas and POVs, western, supernatural, horror, a bit of Lovecraft, fallen angels, the Chinese creation story of Pangu, shapeshifte
Experiment BL626
I picked this book up thinking it was an urban fantasy in the Wild West, and what I read wasn’t far off from that impression. It’s a small town fantasy; not a big difference. Where I went wrong was thinking it would be exciting. It wasn’t — at all. The book was goddamn awful. It was so awful it took me 2-3 months to finish, speaking as a reader who in a motivated mood can finish 2-3 novels in a single day.

One chapter in and I already knew this book wasn’t going to be rated more than 2 stars. Two
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Golgotha, Nevada 1869. Fifteen-year-old Jim finds himself in town after surviving the 40-Mile Desert, running from his past with just his horse and his father's magical jade eye in his pocket.

Golgotha has always had a way of attracting and drawing in the supernatural. With its history of unexplained occurrences, the old town is also home to many strange denizens, including Jonathan Highfather, the town's sheriff whose extraordinary luck has always preserved him despite many close shaves with de
I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Also posted on my blog, Rinn Reads.

I can’t say that I have read many, if any Westerns. And I definitely haven’t ever read a supernatural/paranormal themed Western novel. The Six Gun Tarot was a new and unique experience for me, and definitely one I would happily repeat. Golgotha initially seems like a small, typical mid-Western town of the late 19th century, but soon it is clear that it is a magnet for all
Paul Nelson
Jun 05, 2014 Paul Nelson rated it really liked it
This last 12 months I've concentrated mainly on the horror genre and as a result almost stumbled across an affinity for the western, initially starting with Tim Curran but there’s some fantastic stuff out there bred by some far from balanced imaginations.

Six Gun Tarot attempts an awful lot in this début novel, it’s an enjoyable read but the author may just have crammed too much into the story, there’s some fantastic characters, too many really and as he adds depth to them all, the pace of the st
May 12, 2014 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Lovecraft, Weird West, Urban Fantasy
Recommended to Katy by: R.S. Belcher
Shelves: ebook
Book Info: Genre: Weird Western
Reading Level: Adult (although one of the main characters, Jim, is 15 and his coming-of-age is part of the story, I still think it's more of an adult story)
Recommended for: Fans of Lovecraftian literature, Weird Westerns, urban Fantasy
Trigger Warnings: murder, domestic violence against wife and daughter, slavery (during the part set prior to the civil war)
Animals Injured: Horse injures leg badly, had to push on through desert with no water for days (she's okay); tw
Apr 06, 2016 Emma rated it it was amazing
Wow! Absolutely loved this...paranormal Western sounds unlikely as a winning combination but it worked fabulously. I hope the next in the series is as good.
May 23, 2013 Felicia rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Ok I read this a while ago, and this isn't the kind of book that's easily summarized far away from reading, but I know that I enjoyed it, so that's good enough for a review. It's a fantastical mystery, if you've read Tim Powers then this is RIGHT up your alley. A strange town, lots of points of views, folklore and big bad evil people. A bit of George RR Martin with all the different characters and brutal death scenes, but really engrossing. Definitely one to read slowly, but if you love complex, ...more
Apr 24, 2013 Mihir rated it really liked it

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

ANALYSIS: Six Gun Tarot is a debut that almost flew under my radar; it was thanks to Cindy, my fellow blogger that I was able to read it. The blurb details give you a small inkling about the book’s story but truly nothing truly prepares for the actual story. There are many POV characters in this story and as each chapter begins we are introduced to each and every one of them along with their backstory, motivations and futures. Jim is the young kid who’s
Jan 04, 2013 Beth rated it it was amazing
Forty miles in the middle of nowhere, there is a town called Golgotha. It sits in the middle of the desert. Silver mines once made this town thrive but now it is a collection of very unique residents. A boy with a magical eye, a man that can shift into a coyote, a mother and wife that is secretly a trained assassin, a shop keeper with a reanimated wife...Golgotha is quite distinctive.

Even in this unusual town even stranger things are happening. People are going missing, an ancient evil is coming
Jan 31, 2016 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2016
4.5 Stars

The Six Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher is an awesome piece of new weird fiction. This book is one part western, another part horror, a smidgen of horror and fantasy, and a whole lot of fun. This is a dark fantasy like story that has a great deal of religious undertones at it's center. Of course no book like this today would not also be about the Apocalypse. The combination of an alternative western frontier thrown into the mix gives the story a great of interest and originality.

I loved this
Right up my friggin' alley. I LOVE Weird Westerns (I am co-author of Dead West Omnibus One, after all), and Belcher just crushed it with The Six-Gun Tarot. I'm headed straight into the next book in the series, The Shotgun Arcana. Why not join me?
Hybrid Creature (devours books instead of brains)
There are layers to a cake and then there is this handcrafted, masterful art of a seven-layer cake called The Six-Gun Tarot. An orgasmic, literary cake. I stuffed my face with it and I regret nothing. In fact, I think that I will force feed it to everyone I know.

This cake is not a lie.

It takes a special talent to genre blend. When talking to my boss about this book and its many genres, he commented that it sounded too messy. That is not the case here. R.S. Belcher is a sorcerer. Everything flow
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
The story has a few things that I am not really a fan of, such as third person retrospective narrative to tell us what happened to a character. Not all of them tell their story using that device though. The sheriff is still a mystery to me, even if he revealed part of his life to another. Still, as much as I didn't like that particular way of telling a story, it worked well here, but I had to read the whole book to see it. While I was reading, it was occasionally annoying to have the main story ...more
Shanshad Whelan
So sometimes you just happen to spot a title and a cover and say "hey--that looks interesting." I hadn't heard a thing about this particular fantasy western. I was a tad skeptical that I'd actually like the darn thing--westerns are not my favorite genre by any means. But I decided to give it a try.

Folks, it is hands down the best adult SF/Fantasy work I've read this year. Now, given that it is only January, that's not saying much--but I've read about ten or twelve other novels so far, (and stopp
Kathy (Kindle-aholic)

Another book where I sit here trying to categorize it, think who would be most interested in reading it, and how to describe it without veering off into spoiler land. It is a Western with fantasy elements. I really like the blend of Western and Fantasy, so I've been looking forward to this one for awhile.

Very interesting mix of mythologies and apocalyptic prophecies. We have angels, Lucifer (in a minor role), Coyote's son, a man who cannot die, a boy with a magical artifact, a priestess
Aug 30, 2016 Athena rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of weird westerns, paranormal, fantasy, steampunk
I was reading Six Gun Snow White when I found this title in Goodreads (and what Western fan could resist a title like Six-Gun Tarot !): luckily my library had it on-shelf.

Unpaid Advertising: support your local library and give 'em a $1 or $10 out of the goodness of your book-loving heart: it's the easy way to make your community a better place!

Returning now to our regularly scheduled review:

New author R.S. Belcher provides a readable & interesting tale in the slightly obscure genre of the
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile
Jun 17, 2015 colleen the fabulous fabulaphile rated it it was ok
Recommended to colleen the fabulous fabulaphile by: Shanshad Whelan

This is an interesting Weird West story that sort of reminded me of Supernatural - specifically in the way that it uses Christian mythology as a sort of baseline, but also weaves in aspects of other mythologies, specifically, in this case, Native American and Chinese (which skirts, but mostly manages to avoid, the Ethnic Magician trope, but only by dint of that fact that it seems like most of characters are or have magic to some extent.)

The other similarity with SUpernatural, to me, is in spe
Mar 15, 2013 Sophia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading The Six-Gun Tarot, and found the climax enjoyable enough that I considered giving it three stars. However, a dramatic sequence in the end can't erase how frustrating it was reaching that point in the first place, especially considering that I would have stopped reading much earlier in the book if I hadn't been determined to forge my way to the end despite all discomfort.

There are plenty of great concepts and characters in this story, but they don't come together to form a
Fantasy Review Barn

“It’s been proven by all the sciences, m’boy-biolgoy, alienism, phrenology.”

Westerns and fantasy work surprising well together I am finding. ‘Territory’ by Emma Bull, ‘Half-Made World’ by Felix Gilman, even ‘Red Country’ by Abercrombie are all solid tales with a western vibe. Add ‘The Six-Gun Tarot’ to that list.

Golgotha, Nevada is a strange little cattle town whose inhabitants do their best to live normal lives. Sure they have a sheriff who may be immortal or already dead. Th
Sep 01, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
Insanely good weird western! Full review to come.
aPriL does feral sometimes

I have not read such absurd senseless demented twaddle in some time.

'Six Gun Tarot' by R. S. Belcher has a literary tone and a veneer of scholarly metaphysical research, but don't be fooled - (view spoiler) a simplified politically-correct unification of all world beliefs into one face of god and one face of evil becomes a ridiculous and contrived irrational novel which fits together as chaotically as if one tried
Elizabeth Bear
Apr 28, 2014 Elizabeth Bear rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ornella (Nyx)
Jan 15, 2013 Ornella (Nyx) rated it really liked it
Shelves: stand-alone
4.5 Stars

This book was...I don't even know how to describe it. Twisted, dark, but very entertaining. I'm gonna be using a few quotes in this review, cause it's the only way to really describe things in this book.

I'll be honest, the first half of the book, I was totally lost. I was just nodding my head thinking 'Yeah, ok..' and just kept reading. After that halfway mark things started to get realllly interesting. Each chapter had the title of a tarot card, and it would be in pov of the person who
The Six-Gun Tarot is one hell of a debut novel. It’s not quite fantasy, not quite horror, and has a whole lot of fascinating mythology that plays on deeper themes. Though the plot does take a while to take off, and the numerous points of view that are almost constantly introduced can feel rather distracting, Belcher really has something promising on his hands. This is a book that’s a lot of fun with enough depth to keep you thinking. Tight writing and a unique setting keep everything fresh and n ...more
This was a very good book, but also one that just wasn't entirely to my taste. The setting is the Wild West, 1860s Nevada, a town called Golgotha, where strange things seem to happen a lot. A fugitive boy is dying in the desert but is rescued by the half-Indian deputy who is able to sense the powerful magical talisman he is carrying. The town's sheriff is supposedly a dead man who cannot be killed. People are going mad, raving about a dark, evil worm eating their souls. The town's banker is kill ...more
Scott Bell
Dec 28, 2015 Scott Bell rated it really liked it
An interesting mash up of horror, supernatural, and Western, The Six-Gun Tarot is Belcher's debut novel. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the writing, which showed a polish and a flair frequently absent from first-timer's works. Belcher is lyrical and descriptive without being overly flowery (for the most part) and his command of the imagery of language is marvelous.

My only disappointment in Tarot was I felt no real connection to any single character. Belcher gives us one angel--Biqa
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Dragons & Jetpacks: Six Gun Tarot Discussion SPOILERS 16 39 Sep 16, 2015 05:56AM  
Flights of Fantasy: May 2015 - Fantasy: The Six-Gun Tarot by R. S. Belcher 12 28 Jun 17, 2015 10:36AM  
Weird Westerns: Feb 2015 Group Read Discussion 29 18 Mar 05, 2015 08:11PM  
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R.S. (Rod) Belcher is an award-winning newspaper and magazine editor and reporter.
Rod has been a private investigator, a DJ, a comic book store owner and has degrees in criminal law, psychology and justice and risk administration, from Virginia Commonwealth University. He's done Masters work in Forensic Science at The George Washington University, and worked with the Occult Crime Taskforce for th
More about R.S. Belcher...

Other Books in the Series

Golgotha (2 books)
  • The Shotgun Arcana (Golgotha, #2)

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“However...," Satan said.
Bick sighed. "However, I didn't count on the growing interference of lawyers, regulators, bureaucrats and politicians into my business. I swear it seems that every year they stick their noses into more and more."
Lucifer chuckled. "Sorry about that-I outdid myself there.”
“Regrets will eat a man up. My pa told me that. Said you should always try to make your peace when you can, 'cause no man knows what the Lord has in store for us tomorrow.” 3 likes
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