Title: Second Hand
Author: Rajan Khanna
In: Dead Man’s Hand (John Joseph Adams)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Weird western, Wild west
Dates read: 19th September 2020
Format: Short story
Publisher: Titan Books
5th sentence, 74th page: No wonder Gunsmith survived for as long as she did.
In a world where you are gifted one deck of Cards, people are constantly scrambling to find a way to prolong their powers…
Cards and gambling appear to be a fairly big aspect of westerns and the whole idea of the Wild West. So of course, in a collection of Weird Westerns, there should be one that focuses on the power of cards. And boy is it a power. I love how the cards are magical weapons. It’s such a fantastic idea, and I’m kind of hoping that there are more stories which use this idea by Khanna.
At the beginning of this short story, I was convinced that it was all about gambling and card games and the dangers of this. It wasn’t until a little further in that I realised that it was more of a gunslinger story. Just with the guns being constructed by something else – playing cards that can do powerful and very intriguing things.
This story was a little fun. And a little evil. After all, it’s a mother and daughter who try and kill each other. And then they try and kill the protagonists. And just in general, there is a lot of scheming and killing. But, nevertheless. I still really enjoyed it. And can’t wait to sink my teeth into more, similar stories!