One Night in Sixes Review
“It’s a cowboys and Indians story, except that the cowboy’s accidentally shot an Indian, and if the victims family doesn’t come after him, the fishmen will.” – Arianne Thompson
One Night in Sixes is the first part in a new book series by Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson and the writers first tale as well. The book follows Appaloosa Elim and Sil Halfwick, who are partners who have ridden off west for the border and Sil is hellbent on making a name for himself in native territory. They find themselves in the border town called Sixes which is quiet in the heat of day, but Elim has heard what awakens at sunset; gunslingers and shape shifters and ancient animal gods whose human faces never outlast the daylight. The two will test themselves in this foreign town, and Elim will discover just how much savage magic lay beneath his flesh and how far he is willing to go to survive the night.
So how does One Night in Sixes fair as a read and should you be excited to read it?
The simple answer is that it’s a fantastic novel and you should be excited to read this thrilling ride. The book starts very slowly which is great because it establishes both characters place in the world. Elim is essentially Sil Halfwick’s helper; he takes care of the horses and is one step above being a slave, albeit he is treated a fair bit better than a slave. Their relationship is a rocky one as Elim is out there to protect Sil in the world as it’s his first time out to prove himself and that he is capable of selling the Calvert families horses. At the same time, Sil is a cocky 17 year old that thinks he knows everything already. He makes an attempt to sell the horses but that ends in failure and he knows that Boss Calvert will not be happy with his defeat. Instead of taking the long trek back to Hell’s Acre, Sil decides in all his worldly wisdom to take the horses into foreign, dangerous territory where Elim knows they won’t be welcome to try to sell the horses.
The pace goes from traditional western to something more akin to an episode of Supernatural where shapeshifters come into play along with other interesting characters in the town of Sixes. Elim, a mixed raced man, is the endearing heart of the story as he constantly is trying to tell Sil the logic of turning back from going to Sixes in the first place, and then we get to see Elim in a harsh situation after harsh situation as the plot progresses once the hapless duo reach the town. Elim tries hard to keep the inexperienced Sil from walking into the treachery that awaits them and even after being treated extremely poorly by Sil, he is still very concerned about keeping the boy alive. Having the pace slow to begin serves well as we are invested in our characters by the time they reach Sixes, which is great because once the plot reaches the town there are a lot of characters brought into play and a lot of races to keep track of as well. It really feels like Sixes is a tinderbox of a town with tensions just waiting to go off and Sil and Elim provide the match to set the volatile town ablaze.
There are secondary characters and antagonists that drive the story forward in a big way once we reach the second and third acts of the story and they’re nothing short of fantastic. Characters that seem so simple at first more focused as the story goes on and there ends up being a lot more to them and how they interplay with the characters in this dangerous town. The different races are explored fairly well throughout and the races present are different enough from each other so it’s not confusing. The setting of the town of Sixes just feels like a sweaty hot mess during the daytime, and at night there is a very prevalent feeling throughout that it is a place you would not want to walk alone. Overall, it’s a pretty creepy town that’s incredibly volatile to boot.
There seem to be a lot of influence at play here; the book feels in the same vein as The Watchtower series by Stephen King, an episode of Supernatural set in the Wild West, or even some influences of Firefly. It’s hard to put a finger on what genre this book can really fall into, or the closest comparison to make, however Thompson herself has stated that it could be referred to as rural fantasy. Some influences such as Sil Halfwick’s background and race seems almost reminiscent of something from George R.R. Martin, as he is referred to as a lordling (he from a Northman race) who has special talents which makes for an interesting background. That’s one part of the book that I really wanted to know more about; Sil is the only prevalent Northman in the book and there seems to be a rich history to be explored. However, this book is part one, so it’s possible that there could be more brought to the table in future installments.
This is a fantastic book and throughout the entire story, Thompson manages to keep the readers attention and wondering what will happen next. So if you are looking for a great read or a fresh breath of something new, One Night in Sixes is the book to buy from the brilliant, first time author Arianne “Tex” Thompson.