Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Shotgun Arcana (Golgotha, #2)” as Want to Read:
The Shotgun Arcana (Golgotha, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Shotgun Arcana

(Golgotha #2)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,213 ratings  ·  153 reviews
R. S. Belcher’s debut novel, The Six-Gun Tarot, was enthusiastically greeted by critics and readers, who praised its wildly inventive mixture of dark fantasy, steampunk, and the Wild West. Now Belcher returns to Golgotha, Nevada, a bustling frontier town that hides more than its fair share of unnatural secrets.

1870. A haven for the blessed and the damned, including a falle
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Tor Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,213 ratings  ·  153 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Shotgun Arcana (Golgotha, #2)
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
⚠️ A message from Sarah-From-the-Future: I just finished writing this crappy non-review and it’s much much much longer than I intended. You’re welcome and stuff.

Actual rating: 4.764586 stars. Or maybe 3.25413 stars. Or maybe 4.435697 stars. Or maybe 3.9586489897 stars (and a half). Or maybe 4.9999999 stars. ). Or maybe 3.11111111 stars. Slightly very confused I am right now.

Yeah, more or less.

To understand this most uncharacteristic discombobulation backtrack we must. So. While I was reading th
Once again a fantastic mix of the Wild West setting with a multitude of different mythologies and religions. Great characters with secrets that are revealed over the course of time.
I really hope that this is going to be a long lived series as I can't wait to return to Golgatha again.
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fantasy Review Barn

Sometimes taking a story all the way over the top just flat out works. It is not enough to )have angels on earth, zombie outbreaks, Frankenstein-ish scientists and various shape shifters in a Wild West town. It would be much, much better to add in some ninjas, ancient orders of mysticism, and a large number of the nastiest killers in the world to the mix. When in Rome and all that jazz (mixing clichés is even more fun that mixing metaphors, you should try it). Here is the weir
May 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Book Info: Genre: Weird Western
Reading Level: Adult
Diversity: GLBTQ characters, various religions, interracial relationships
Tense, Person, POV: Past tense, third person, limited POV
Recommended for: Fans of Weird Westerns, Lovecraftian books, steampunk
Book Available: October 7, 2014 in Hardcover and Kindle formats
Trigger Warnings: murder, mutilation, torture, mention of necrophilia, cannibalism
Animals: at least one horse killed

My Thoughts: These are listed as steampunk, but thus far there is limi
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: The Shotgun Arcana is the sequel to last year’s The Six-Gun Tarot. It was a book that Cindy and me both enjoyed and had big expectations from the author going forward. The Shotgun Arcana is the sequel to that fantastic debut and contrary to my worries; Rod Belcher has outdone himself with this solid sophomore effort. Also there'll be mild spoilers for The Six-Gun Tarot as I talk about the plot so be forewarned those who haven't read the
Wing Kee
Nov 08, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5! This one is fun!!!!

World: The world building is very good, it’s slow and meticulous and there are are a lot of characters and pieces but overall the time spent on building this world pays off. It’s Weird West so there are the staples of the genre and the fantasy genre found here. It’s put together well and I like this little world that Belcher has created.

Story: The story does start of slow, much like the first book. It can also be long winded in it’s character work and the multiple paths t
Wayland Smith
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: westerns
We were introduced to Golgotha in The Six-Gun Tarot. Now, we return to the town of abiding weirdness with The Shotgun Arcana. The overarching plot revolves around a powerful item from the pre-history of man, long hidden and guarded. Now, a force for evil wants it, and will stop at nothing to get it. The item is hidden somewhere around Golgotha, so the town where almost nothing normal happens ends up under siege from a collection of some of the most evil and powerful people around.

Among the many
Kristen Burns
3.5 Stars

These books are slow and meandering. They take a long time to get to the point of the plot. They spend a lot of time just exploring random things going on in the town or out and about in the world.

But gosh, these characters are so great! I feel so attached to them. They're imperfect and good-hearted and lovable. Their relationships and friendships are so sweet and genuine. I may not be all that interested in some of them, but even those characters are still lovable and I don't w

In ‘The Shotgun Arcana’ Belcher manages to bring a much better story, as he makes it even more interesting from the previous book, with stronger ideas, lots of action and also some nice humour.

After the adventures that the people of Golgotha passed, the town seems now to return once again to its normal pace, with Jim and Mutt trying to make their life. But when an ancient, mystical, skull is discovered again, that was buried to the depths of the past, a new evil will begin to disturb Golgo
4.5 Stars TOP PICK

Belcher proves he’s no one-trick pony with the second installment of his wildly adventurous and humorously horrifiying Golgotha series. Putting his imagination to good use, Belcher paints a complex and engaging story of love, loss,
redemption and sacrifice in a town where dreams can come true, but often at an unimaginable price. Charismatic characters and a stunning blend of history, legend, religion and modern sensibility intertwine to create a world that embraces the strange
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-publisher
4 1/2 stars!

The nitty-gritty: An exciting and worthy sequel, a cast of colorful characters, a brutally violent western, balanced by humor and emotion.

I gleefully devoured The Six-Gun Tarot nearly two years ago, and I was chomping at the bit (hey, this is a western, so that metaphor is apt) to read Belcher’s follow-up. I was not disappointed. The Shotgun Arcana is a wild ride, with a large cast of quirky characters and a fair amount of blood flowing through the dusty streets of Golgotha, the rem
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this series. Review to come.
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Even better than the previous one. Established characters get fleshed out more, and new and exciting characters get introduced. Can't wait to revisit the cast in the next installment, which has some nice potential setups laid out.

I caught a few minor flaws and inconsistencies here and there, but nothing that took away my overall enjoyment of a really solid book. A fine mix of over-the-top adventure, grounded grit, suspense, mystery, supernatural, and laugh-out-loud humor. And probably more! This
Cupcakes & Machetes
I called The Six-Gun Tarot a seven layer cake.

This is unabashed second helpings.

Set one year after the events of The Six-Gun Tarot, Jim is a deputy partnered with Mutt. Mutt and Maude are approaching item status much to the chagrin of many town racists. Malachi Bick owns practically everyone and everything in town and someone has begun brutally murdering prostitutes.

An ancient artifact buried beneath the town is luring serial killers from far and wide to Golgotha. (Serial killers who are cleve
I really love this series, both books were graphic audio books and they were just awesome. The voices were awesome too. My family one Bic's voice, the angels voice.
Robert Humphrey
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Better than the SGT. Looking forward to reading the last in the series.

Excellent book. Better than his first in the series "The Six Gun Tarot", and with a bigger cast. I give it this rating because of the author's incredible world and character building.
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who enjoy fantasy, Weird West (especially the Deadlands RPG), steampunk
How do you follow up an excellent book (The Six-Gun Tarot) that brought together a variety of disparate protagonists who saved the world from an ancient evil? Where do you go when the stakes were that high to begin with? If you're R.S. Belcher, you create an equally devastating evil with a more human twist, bring back your world-saving heroes and heroines, add a few new players to the mix, and hint at more strangeness to come.

1870. The Civil War is over, and the West is a hodgepodge of pioneers,
Brandon St Mark
Wow. I can honestly say that this is one of the best sequels I've ever read. I do want to start writing really through reviews, but I can't really think of much to say about this one because it really was so good.

I know in my review of The Six-Gun Tarot I talked about how the pacing was off and theorized that that may have been due to me reading other books at the same time. However, I think it simply was the book's pacing being off, as I did the same thing with this book, but it didn't have any
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it
First half of the book: 4 stars. Second half: 2 stars, so overall a solid(ish) 3.

In the first half of the book there's lots of romping and running about and leaping on chupacabras and sentient evil (evil!) cacti and mysterious desert winds that kick up whenever star-crossed lovers set about loving. There's the dead father's eyeball and caverns beneath the earth and more running and jumping and mildly gooey murderapating.

But then the second half of the book is nature of life/destiny/religion, l
Fantasy Literature
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
To get a sense of R.S. Belcher's world of The Shotgun Arcana, his follow-up to The Six-Gun Tarot, one need only eavesdrop on the conversation of the seen-it-all residents of Golgotha, Nevada as they watch a wagon wheel away with some mysterious contents:
"Hey, Mutt, what is it this time . . . Another one of them boogeymen? Those black-eyed children? Like the ones that up and took the Summerton family and only left their shadows behind? . . . "

The crowd began to mutter among themselves.

"Them bat-p
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It took a little longer to finish Belcher's second book in his Golgotha series because I actually had to keep track of certain plot points by taking NOTES!! If you like an intricately weaved story with some good old fashioned Wild West action plus some horror and supernatural elements, then The Shotgun Arcana is a must read. The same characters from The Six-Gun Tarot find their world once again under siege.

The chapters in this book seem a little more disjointed than the first book; however, onc
Chris Berko
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book was a lot of fun. A much darker, more mature entry in the Golgotha series. Belcher literally throws everything under the sun into this book, and some stuff from behind and above it, but it never feels cramped or rushed or improbable (other than it being a work of fiction with fantastical elements). So many cool characters, so many interactions and plot threads that seem totally independent of one another come together in an ending I was praying would not take the deus ex machina r ...more
Robert Aldrich
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very good great. I have high hopes for this author and series and can see it growing over the years beyond a mere three book trilogy so be a series that could rival The Dresden Files in scope and complex, interesting characters.
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best second books ever. Some really bad-ass evil adversaries. Head butting between fallen angels. All wrapped up in a very good western. I hope he continues this series for a long time.
Jonathan Wilson
Another great book by Belcher! The final battle was just amazing (the mad science off between Professor Zenith and Clay was favorite part of the whole story). Really liked the mini chapters introducing the 32 killers.
Raney Simmon
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
To view on Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings:

As someone whose reading R.S. Belcher for the first time, this book was an amazing read. Part of the reason I enjoyed it so much is because this book has an abundance of genres. Its part western, steampunk, fantasy, sci-fi, and history all in one. But it’s done in a way where you’d enjoy the story, even if one of the genres mentioned doesn’t always suit your fancy. These genres also aren’t too o
Chandra Lafrentz
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Awesome. Darker but better than the first! Can't wait for more from this world!!
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nobody writes a book like R.S. Belcher.

In this, the second adventure into the tumultuous town of Golgatha, the characters who readers met in Six-Gun Tarot return and are expanded upon. More characters are introduced, of course, but the focus is mainly on the town. Golgatha itself serves as the main character, showing the darkness of the town, whether natural or supernatural, as well as the hope.

Belcher writes without an agenda. The mayor is both a Mormon and homosexual. He's not gay, simply so t
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ah, Golgotha, home to the batshit insane old west. All of our favorites come back, and I have to say, i love Clay so much (i have to go dig up the quote about everybody with a generator suddenly thinking he's a scientist) (but also we are *so* fucked), Maude you absolute badass and your badass spawn FTW, Kate you utter badass, too, and Rowan, get it; bless little Jim, John you gloriously immortal bastard, Mutt, just go on with your bad self and keep telling everyone who deserves it to fuck off, ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Another case of 'great premise, poor execution'. I will admit to not having read the first novel 'Six Gun Tarot' which excuses some of the assumed familiarity with characters, but it cannot excuse the overblown gore, violence, and high stakes battles (which never end badly for our heros) that so frequently mar this otherwise semi-believable main plot and interfere with the reader's ability to suspend their disbelief.

These blunders into disbelief only really begin to occur far enough into the bo
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Predator One (Joe Ledger, #7)
  • Code Zero (Joe Ledger, #6)
  • Red-Headed Stepchild (Sabina Kane, #1)
  • By Force Alone
  • The Hundred Headless Woman
  • A Song Below Water
  • Extinction Machine (Joe Ledger, #5)
  • Hope and Red (Empire of Storms, #1)
  • The Mage in Black (Sabina Kane, #2)
  • Green-Eyed Demon (Sabina Kane, #3)
  • Ghostwalkers (Deadlands, #1)
  • Silver-Tongued Devil (Sabina Kane, #4)
  • Blue-Blooded Vamp (Sabina Kane, #5)
  • The Stone in the Skull (Lotus Kingdoms, #1)
  • The Queen's Bargain (The Black Jewels #10)
  • Paws and Effect (A Magical Cats Mystery, #8)
  • The King of Plagues (Joe Ledger, #3)
  • The Book of Destiny (The Last Oracle 9)
See similar books…
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 (4 books)
  • The Six-Gun Tarot (Golgotha, #1)
  • The Queen of Swords (Golgotha, #3)
  • The Ghost Dance Judgement (Golgotha, #4)

Related Articles

As serious bookworms know, autumn reading is particularly rewarding. The days get shorter, the air gets cooler, and curling up with a...
424 likes · 190 comments
“-hatred is like a shotgun. It's powerful and it rips apart everything in its path-good, bad or indifferent.” 4 likes
“Belief is a wonderful and terrible thing.” 2 likes
More quotes…