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The Six-Gun Tarot

(Golgotha #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  3,342 ratings  ·  601 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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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  3,342 ratings  ·  601 reviews

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Montzalee Wittmann
The Six-Gun Tarot
Golgotha, Book 1
By: R. S. Belcher
Narrated by: Fleet Cooper
This is one amazing and creepy paranormal western book! There is a town in the desert that attracts the odd, the magical, the otherworldly, and often they don't know they are being attracted to the town. Every one here in the town of Golgotha has secrets, everyone.... And when someone tries to open the old silver mine, certain secrets cause a chain reaction. Lots of creepy but great stuff! Terrific imagination! I can't wa
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
⚠️ Three quarters Half of this non-review is not about this book. Thou hast been warned and stuff.

So. This could have been a Slightly Very Good Book (SVGB™). Only that it wasn't because, erm, you know, it wasn't and stuff. But yes, it could have been. Oh yes, it could have. But it wasn't...Sorry, what? You want me to cut the crap crab and get on with it and stuff? Oh, fine. You puny humans really are no fun, you know that?

You tell 'em, my Filthy Little Pony of the Armor that has Seen Much Bette
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)
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
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
May 23, 2013 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
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
Oct 13, 2014 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
Jan 14, 2013 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
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird, western
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
Apr 02, 2016 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.
The Captain
Apr 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandon-ship
I actually loved the premise and characters in this. The problem was the plot felt too slow. I put it down to pick up another day and then never really felt like it. I do want to try more of author's work though. Arrr! ...more
Sep 02, 2013 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
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
Sarah B
Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, fantasy, westerns
"There was something, something moving silently through Golgotha like a poisonous rumor. It lurked in the narrow, muddy streets, and in the shadows of the temples and the churches. It had no name..."

I wasn't too sure what to expect from this book but it had turned out to be fantastic! The storyline actually reminds me of "The Tommyknockers" by Stephen have a small town in the middle of nowhere (in this case the Nevada desert) that is slowly being taken over by a very ancient evil. And
Cupcakes & Machetes
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
Paul Nelson
Sep 26, 2013 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
Wild-west supernatural fantasy set during the gold/silver rush in America. I enjoyed it. This is one of those books which would do pretty well as a tv series. There's an action-oriented plot and interesting characters, and a setting that will definitely appeal to Spaghetti Westerns fans.

There was an excitement regarding the pace of the story, but the element of suspense and mystery was missing which I wanted in a supernatural fantasy novel. I could absolutely predict what's going to happen and
Jan 02, 2013 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 24, 2016 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
Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight)
3 Stars

This book was an interesting and fun Weird West (SFF + western) with a very unique set of characters, and it was those characters that really shone for me.

Jim was a great character and one I felt for in a protective sort of way. He was only 15, but he had to grow up fast and was already an outlaw. He found himself in Golgotha, looking for answers about his father's magical jade eye. He was eager and sweet, and I liked him from the very beginning when he gave his horse his last bit
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
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
Aug 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has been a book I have been eyeing up to read for a while - although I never really got round to it, I guess in part from not knowing the author and only really being drawn to the cover (the UK edition as the US one is totally different).

However once I started reading it became apparent that although over 300 pages long (ironically I started on the Kindle but enjoyed it so much I switched to the paperback - UK edition obviously) I discovered the action happens at a real pace - surprisingly
Wayne Turmel
Apr 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Belcher has created an exciting blend of paranormal and gritty Western. The story is sufficiently creepy and the characters, more than most in this genre, are interesting and engaging. A fun read and obviously the first in a series about this hard-scrabble, and creepy, desert town.
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
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? ...more
Holly (The GrimDragon)
"Because music is like hope. Between the strings in this box,” he ran his fingers along the keys of the piano and began to play once again, “and the strings in the heart, there is nothing but air and magic. Songs can lead men laughing into battle, lay strong men low, make you fall in love, let you visit with the dead. Ain’t nothing real to it – just words and rhythm – but it’s got power, all the same.”

This book is fucking bonkers! The fact I was whacked out on antibiotics while reading it just 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
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommended to colleen the convivial curmudgeon 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
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
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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 fo

Other books in the series

Golgotha (6 books)
  • The Shotgun Arcana (Golgotha, #2)
  • The Queen of Swords (Golgotha, #3)
  • The Ghost Dance Judgement (Golgotha, #4)
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