Review: Walk the Sky by Robert Swartwood and David B. Silva [audiobook]

Walk The Sky_Robert Swartwood_David B Silva_Matt Godfrey.jpg
Walk the Sky
By Robert Swartwood, David B. Silva
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My original WALK THE SKY audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

In its opening moments, George and Clay, a pair of men on the run from the law and fleeing through the desert, come across a small boy lying near-death beneath the hot sun. The boy is the sole survivor of a massacre that wiped out a nearby town and when they take it upon themselves to care for the boy and investigate, George and Clay find themselves captured by bandits and tied up in jail. The men are to be sacrifices for the inhuman evils roaming the desert, the nightmarish creatures that wiped out the town and demand blood, creatures that only come out at night.

Co-written by Robert Swartwood and David B. Silva, Walk the Sky is a very well-done work of western horror. It’s also Silva’s final piece of work, having passed away in 2013 mere weeks after the publication of this title as a limited edition hardcover by Thunderstorm Books. As such, Walk the Sky is dedicated to Silva, who, as an editor, author, and Bram Stoker Award winner, has a long, and very rich, legacy within the horror genre. Silva was not just a friend and mentor to Swartwood, but a co-author on one other title they penned together, At the Meade Bed & Breakfast. Listening to Walk the Sky in audio format, it’s hard for me to tell where Swartwood’s style separates from Silva’s, and their prose blends together seamlessly. The end result is a perfectly engaging story filled with terrific characters, some of them quite smarmy, and a rich supernatural spine binding them all together.

On narrating duties is Matt Godfrey, whose soft, natural reading style is one I’m quickly becoming a fan of after listening previously to his smooth delivery of The Happy Man from Valancourt Books. His subdued Southern twang lends a certain richness and authenticity to this particular work, and his use of a rougher, gravelly voice for Clay lends to that character an air of American Western classicism that I quite enjoyed. All in all, this a polished and professional production.

Walk the Sky takes a number of Western genre tropes – outlaws on the run, gun-toting bandits, a town ruled by an iron fist – and twists them in a number of satisfying ways, with particular motives being wrenched in response to an ancient, mysterious force. Of the handful of supernatural historical horrors I’ve read thus far in 2018, Walk the Sky is easily my favorite, sitting tall in the saddle as the best of the bunch.

[Note: Audiobook provided for review by the]

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Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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