The Coilhunter Chronicles
By: Dean F. Wilson

Quick-take: 3 short enjoyable (though forgettable) sci-fi westerns

Dan's Review

This is a collection of 3 short books. I will review each one individually.

Book 1: Coilhunter Score: 3/5

The setting is the Wild North. The Coilhunter (aka Nox) is gruff bounty hunter. He doesn't do it for the money. He does it to deliver justice.

This was a decently entertaining book. My main gripe is the style of writing. The author is tossing in a bunch of cliche one-liners to make Nox sound like a badass. "The fabric was itchy, just like his trigger finger." "His tongue was quick, just like his gun." "The payment will not be in gold. It will be in lead." And on, and on.

The supporting characters themselves were also cliche with names like "Nine-finger Nancy" and "Handcart Sally".

Then there were some bizarre story oddities. There are hang gliders and grappling hooks, yet Sally had never seen electricity. Perhaps the book was going for Steampunk. I'm not sure.

Anyway, this was a middle-of-the road western that will get you through a plane trip.

Book 2: Rustkiller

The Coilhunter stumbles upon a young girl who lost her kid brother. Having a soft spot for kids in danger, Nox decides to help. We are then lead through an epic busting up of a slaveholders den as he rescues the boy. For some reason, the girl then runs off, so she gets rescued. With the kids both rescued, it is time to find the parents.

I don't have much commentary about Rustkiller. It is written in the same style as book 1 (plenty of throwaway I-am-a-bad-ass lines), but with some plot ridiculousness turned up a bit. Nox is apparently a gadget genius. We have remote-controlled cars, intelligent mechanical beasts, a smartwatch, a helicopter, etc.

Handcart Sally's comment from book 1 of never seen electricity is even more silly considering the area apparently has radio coverage. Is this a rural western or a high-tech dystopia? It's trying to be both. The book is best enjoyed if you ignore those discrepancies and enjoy the ride.

The main story arcs were closed with with a final battle that I was not expecting. That bumped this book to a 4. I enjoyed it enough to continue on to the 3rd book. It helps the books are not long.

Score: 4/5

Book 3: Dustrunner

Now, the Coilhunter finds his own likeness on the wanted posters. The Wild North was just begging for an excuse to take him down, and now they found one. He won't go down easy.

This was the weakest entry in the trilogy. All the events and side characters felt like they were introduced haphazardly. The ending was completely bizarre. What started off being a nice shoot-off turned in to flying people and sandworms. I still don't understand it. We've went from old west, to sci-fi, to steampunk, and now fantasy.

Outside of picking up a couple sidekicks, nothing remarkable happens in this book. You could easily drop this book and not miss anything. If you did like the previous two, then continue on.

Score: 3/5

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