Best known as one half of the incredible Gothic country duo Those Poor Bastards, singer/songwriter Lonesome Wyatt has proven to have many more tricks up his sleeve. In addition to his distinctly desperate howling on the many TPB albums, he has his own band known as The Holy Spooks which bring a creepy edge to his songs of desperation. A fantastic duet album with alt-country goddess Rachel Brooke released in 2009 showed us a slightly lighter shade of his consistent dark side. And now, along with his prolific musical output, he has added the title of accomplished author to his resume, with his new novel The Dreadful Death of Edgar Switchblade.
A follow-up to 2012’s introduction to the colorful character, The Terrible Tale of Edgar Switchblade, the new book is a fast-paced violent trip into the warped mind of our pal, Mr. Lonesome.
Edgar Switchblade is a fascinating character; a religiously-obsessed mentally-disturbed cannibalistic bounty hunter born with cloven hooves. With his trusty horse Old Red by his side, who also enjoys quenching his thirst with human blood, and armed only with a deadly switchblade, Edgar wanders the world with the righteous intentions of cleansing the earth of the mad sinners and foul spirits which now plague it.
In the introductory novel, we learned the details of Ol’ Edgar’s strange upbringing, and followed him on a fast-paced first-person western/horror adventure into the darkness of Lonesome Wyatt’s fiercely imagined world.
In the new book, written with the same distinct quick and dirty intensity of the first volume, we catch up with Edgar and Old Red right in the middle of a gruesome zombie apocalypse. Edgar dispatches the undead masses with gory glee and moves on to meet the man who commissioned his services, a mysterious character known as Reverend Hitchcock.
After taking some time to warm up to the Reverend, the trio finally join forces to embark on a holy mission to destroy an ancient demon wizard. Bizarre characters and uniquely chaotic scenes bring about the titular “death” of our heroes, but it takes a lot more than the notion of leaving his earthly body to stop Ol’ Edgar.
The writing is the star of the show, as Mr. Wyatt somehow manages to make the gruesome deeds and thoughts of Edgar Switchblade seem downright charming. He can slish and slash at the undead hordes until his trusty horse gets his fill, all in the name of his godly conviction. The turns of phrase are unique and convincing, as well-defined as any character in recent memory.
These twisted tales are not for everyone’s taste, for sure. They are violent and irreverent, and at times shockingly sacriligious, but all in the name of classic pulp fiction straight from the EC comics mold. Even the design of the thin volumes works to evoke that feeling ; the books themselves appearing wrinkled and tattered and edged with red paper, like something you would find on a magazine rack in a pharmacy decades ago.
Readers will find themselves rooting for Edgar, even as they are repulsed by his words and deeds. He is the genuine article, a character so convinced of his own motivations that nothing stands in his way. These stories are fast and fun reads for us horror fans, and we can only hope that Mr. Wyatt can keep on spinning these tales for us in the coming years.
I know that I can’t wait to see what kind of horrific misadventures Edgar and Red will get into next.
As Edgar himself says at one point, “I still got so much Godly Violence and Cleansing to perform on this shit smeared world.”
Both the books and all of the Lonesome Wyatt and Those Poor Bastards albums are available at the official Tribulation Recording Co. website, including a bonus audio adventure where Edgar teams up with Krampus (!) to teach children the true meaning of Christmas.
Lonesome Wyatt also has a great Facebook page, as does Edgar Switchblade himself!