Book Review: The Marshal

Marshal, The

  • Title: The Marshal
  • Author: JS Matthews
  • Series: #1
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Western
  • Publishing Date: October 27th, 2017
  • Publishing Co.: Indie
  • Length: 273 pages
  • Format: Kindle Unlimited, Paperback
  • Acquired: Given free paperback in exchange for an honest review
  • Amazon Link: The Marshal

The world of old is no more. The bombs fell, the fires spread, and deadly radiation was spewed across the landscape. Mankind struggled to survive in great underground tunnels, shelters, and wherever else they could find protection from the destruction above, and once the dust settled, they did their best to endure in the irradiated wastes.

Two hundred years later, humanity is rebuilding. What was once known as the United States in the old world, is now a torn and fractured land, divided in two by two powerful factions. To the west lies the New Western Confederacy, built upon the bones of and inspired by the republics and democracies of old. To the east, the Commonwealth of States, a nation ruled by nobility and power passed down through bloodlines. While most seek to bring back a semblance of the old world’s civilizations, the wastes are still a haven for irradiated monsters, dangerous tribals, and violent bandits. There are many stories of these horrors, but none have been told more than those of Wesley Kerrigan: the most feared outlaw the wastes had ever seen. For half a decade, Kerrigan and his gang terrorized the counties of the New Western Confederacy and the Commonwealth alike, until he was finally killed in a bloody shootout.

Seven years after his supposed death, rumors of man claiming to be Wes Kerrigan have made their way across the sandy deserts, bringing with them a new wave of terror. The outlaw is not only alive, but he is also in his possession of a piece of old world technology, one that can once again bring the fires of nuclear war to the already fractured world. In response, the New Western Confederacy sends their best to track down Kerrigan and finally bring the outlaw to justice.

They are the Marshals.

Final Judgment: 3 Stars out of 5

Elizabeth, a brand-new Marshal, sets out with her team to hunt down the notorious Wes Kerrigan. Their only hope to find Kerrigan and take him down is through the use of his old partner, an outlaw only minutely less evil, Rubin Stark. Stark leads the Marshals through the wastelands, hunting Kerrigan but always one step behind, and time is not on their side. Will the Marshals find Kerrigan before he destroys the world–again? Or will Stark turn on them before the deed is done?

This is very much a western story. It is set in the future, post-apocalypse, but all the tell-tale signs of a Western novel are there. Kerrigan is a right gunslinger, a bit crazy and out to kill everyone–himself included. I enjoyed the hunt and the cat-and-mouse feel of the chase throughout the novel, especially during the gun fights. The action was decent, and allowed me to really get a feel for the weaponry and tactics. The world-building was also great, giving the readers the feel of humanity trying their best after the world exploded around their ancestors.

One thing that slightly put me off, however, was that I was not expecting it to be so Western-styled. I think I went into the book with different expectations, and as I am not much of a Western reader, I was a bit disappointed (post-apocalypse is one of my favorite genres).

The writing of the novel was a bit rough for me. The editing job was not done thoroughly, and so there were many missing words, typos, and grammatical errors on almost every page. The dialogue also seemed to fall a bit awkwardly to my ears and didn’t seem to make sense with the characters/plotline. As an English teacher, I also found the colloquially incorrect language to be distracting and annoying, but that may be due to my profession! I am a sucker for tight, perfect language.

Going along with this, the characters were flat. There were many of them in the group, and they all seemed to have the same personality (which was none at all). HOWEVER, I did love Kerrigan. And Stark. Of course, I just had to love the villains. I would have loved to see more of them, especially them together, and less of the Marshals as a whole. Even Elizabeth, the main character, did not seem to grow at all through the story. She tried, but it just didn’t work.  Hopefully, this will improve in the sequel!

Overall, this is a good book to pick up if you enjoy Westerns and don’t mind editing mistakes.

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