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The Shotgun Arcana

(Golgotha #2)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  994 ratings  ·  132 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
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  994 ratings  ·  132 reviews

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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
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
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
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

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
(Tori-Smexybooks) smexys_sidekick
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
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.
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
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
Raney Simmon
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
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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
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.
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.
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
Meg Harrison
Mar 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Still a definite no from me.
The main characters are acceptably developed except there's no back story on them, or if there is it's limited. Mutt is half coyote which remains completely unexplained.
The antagonists are extremely poorly developed, there are too many of them and one of them was sexually aroused by killing people? Was a completely unnecessary addition to the character which just resulted in a couple awkward sentences.
There's like 900 Gods in this series, Mormon Gods, Chinese Gods and
Eric Troup
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Often dark and disturbing in its brutality, this book also has some of the most adrenaline-inducing action sequences I've ever read or seen. The highs are exhilarating, and the lows are enough to send the reader crashing into his or her own private hell. This book has a little of everything – compelling characters, great plot twists, all of the western tropes one expects, humor, drama, and even a little philosophy thrown in for good measure. The story is complete in and of itself, with just enou ...more
Donna Simonetta
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an excellent book! Belcher has created such a complex world. The Golgotha books are exciting, suspenseful, terrifying, darkly humorous, and satisfying, all in turn––sometimes, all at once. The date started and date ended dates for me are deceptive. There was a large chunk of time in between when I was not reading. I devoured this book in a few sittings. Belcher ties various characters adventures together in such a way, that you have to keep turning the pages to see how each story comes out ...more
Mary T
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
(3.5) I would say the second book in the series is an improvement over the first, as the author continues to hone his skills. Since characters have been introduced, the reader is able to follow along with the sub-plots more easily. Although I am still not sure what the point in half of them are to the overarching storyline (ie Gerta). In my opinion, there are just too many random little details about characters who we don't really need to know that much about. But the book does keep interest wit ...more
Charlie Moses
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'd think it would be hard for Belcher to find new and more horrifying things to happen to poor Golgotha, but he manages to provide enough new horror to interest and carry along the reader while further developing his characters and the storyline. The Six-Gun Tarot was great - and The Shotgun Arcana keeps to the same high standard. I won't say it ups the ante, but we learn more about many of our old characters, and Belcher introduces new ones we're interested in seeing more of. Plus, for some ch ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5/5 stars

OK, the more I think about this, the more I realize that I'm actually disappointed because I liked the plot better than the first instalment's but this one fell in relatively more other, different, aspects. Maybe I'll formulate a little more detailed review sometime later..

Liked this one's plot better than the first's, though it did get repetitive quite a lot and also stale when it came to certain parts.
Alex B
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After discovering The Six Gun Tarot at a flea market, I quickly took this second R.S. Belcher book out from the library. I'm happy to say that this book was even better than the first. The author has created a cosmic microcosm in the town of Golgotha. His characters resonate deep down in the psyche and his prose moves effortlessly from terse to elegant. I will likely buy both books sometime in the future, as they're worthy of a re-read and an honored place in my vast collection of "keepers".
Steven Davis
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark. Violent. Macabre. Twisted. Fun. Steampunkish, more Cowpunk. Voodoopunk, ArcanaPunk even. 460 pages of a really good read of evil/good standing up to pure evil/self centredness. With cowboys. And Indians. Thugees, Ninja Assassins, Trickster Gods, mechanical science, psycho-killers and Fallen Angels. Now I need to find the first in the series (this was totally readable without reference to the first)
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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 (3 books)
  • The Six-Gun Tarot (Golgotha, #1)
  • The Queen of Swords (Golgotha, #3)
“-hatred is like a shotgun. It's powerful and it rips apart everything in its path-good, bad or indifferent.” 3 likes
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