Books: L'il Gal Al and the Zombies of Amarillo by Christine Rains

Old West zombies. This free Smashwords story—it's not really long enough to be a book—is a nice idea but could use some refinement in execution. The core of the story is solid enough: Alma Sweeney makes money by protecting travelers from bandits through open expanses of the plains and prairies. She's a tough cookie, which is Rains's specialty. However, one wishes for a little more backstory here, and a little more showing instead of telling. Also, with the use of dialects, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish speakers; they all start to sound the same.

Meanwhile, having successfully brought a group of clients to Amarillo (Texas? Not clear, since Kansas is mentioned at one point), Alma's strict sense of reality is tested when she is confronted with zombies, both animal and human, that have been terrorizing the populace. Being a gutsy girl, she doesn't hesitate to take on the challenge. Here again, though, the story could have been made longer before rushing through to the conclusion and final reveal.

I wanted the yellow to mean something. I wanted the seamstress to play more of a role. All in all "L'il Gal Al" is a pretty good tale, but I guess I just wanted more of it. If you're curious to read it yourself, it's free in a variety of formats via Smashwords.

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