A drifter named Calamaro drags a wooden donkey into Screwhorse, Nevada, and enters a web of trouble involving people with bizarre fetishes, an ineffective sheriff, a depraved mayor, a rich man and his goons, and a gunfighter called the Hard Candy Kid. Will anyone be left alive when Calamaro leaves town?
Jordan Krall's Fistful of Feet is the weirdest of weird westerns. There are sexually transmitted tattoos, whores that cater to any bizarre fetish a cowboy may have, a woman nursing a giant starfish, and Calamaro, the gunslinger with the burping gun. Calamaro's the typical western strong and silent lead. Except for the shoe fetish, I guess. There's a fair amount of gore and cursing but I think that's unavoidable in a book of this kind. I loved how syphilitic men were used in a zombie type of role.
Any complaints? Only that it had to end.
As outlandish as the concepts sound, Jordan Krall weaves it all together into a bizarre but coherent plot. There's some Lovecraftian subtext and homages to various westerns. The only books I can compare it to in terms of tone are the two Joe Lansdale books featuring Ned the Seal, Zepplins West and Flaming London. Fistful of Feet will appeal to fans of bizarro and weird westerns alike. 3.75 Click here to read my interview with Jordan Krall.