I received this book as a First Reads give-away.
Chester wakes in a stable overlooking a small mountain settlement and is taunted into a no holds barred brawl after a breakfast of pancakes and whiskey at the saloon. The offender calls him "Lady Kate", a reviled nickname he picked up in an unfortunate incident with a lady of ill repute. Jailed, Chester Kates is offered the opportunity to work off his charges by burning down a neighboring mining town, Whales, supposedly stricken with a plague – called Coyotes Waits -- brought on by an Indian curse. Superstition, distrust, racism, corruption, and greed abound in this ghost town, which is due to become the next stop for the incoming railroad. A story of revenge, loyalty, and fear of the unknown, Bloody Chester contains elements of classic Western tales – a hidden gold strike, conflict between settlers and natives, westward bound rebels – yet combines the genres of western, mystery, horror in the graphic novel format. The cover design and drawings are stark and rough, yet suit the story, revealing some tender moments and invoking pathos. Chester is an anti-hero who suffers indignities and ultimately makes some tough decisions while coming to terms with his own ambitions, loyalties, and fears. Course language and crude images limit the book to mature YA readers but fits the grittiness of the story. Recommended for high school – adult readers, age 14+.