Welcome to Scar Ridge
by Jonathon Mast
"You have arrived. I have awaited you. You owe me rent."
"This ain't your granddaddy's western."
~ Jason J. McCuiston, author of The Brotherhood of Secret Darkness
and other Cults, Cabals, and Conspiracies
For paperback, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited
This book is appropriate for teenagers.
A train station sits neatly at the top of Main Street, but tracks are suspiciously absent.
A false priest presides over an unusual amout of funerals.
After a young man comes home from the Civil War, trees start to randomly appear
in strange locations.
From the moment Carter returns home to find his beloved western town and the people within it have disappeared and he must win it back, we learn things have gone strange in Scar Ridge, Arizona.
The nine stories presented here are intimately intertwined in this isolated location, dusty and hot, a perfect place for the Landowner to work his odd magick. There's
an unusual relationship between Jarvis, his hands, and the cows of his ranch.
Cattle drivers experience somehting during a monsoon storm that sems to be not quite a deer. A cursed skull is stolen from Danzig's General Store.
Each individual story will lead you to the ultimate terrifying conclusion, that there is something truly wrong within this town, within the people, and within this world that might just be a part of our own.
WELCOME TO SCAR RIDGE.
About the Author
Jonathon Mast lived in the Dakotas, once on a time, and he knows what it is to have the sky glare at him. He glared back, but it didn't seem to do much.
He lives in Kentucky now, with his wife and an insanity of children.
His short stories have appeared in Dark Owl Publishing's Something Wicked This Way Rides and A Celebration of Storytelling, and numerous other anthologies and magazines. Dark Owl also published his first novel, The Keeper of Tales. He also writes middle grade science fiction and fantasy for Dawnsbrook Press. You can track Jonathon down at jonathonmastauthor.com.
Praise for Welcome to Scar Ridge
"This ain't your granddaddy's western. In fact, if Rod Serling himself scooped up the Ponderosa, Dodge City, and Walnut Grove then plopped them right smack dab in the middle of
The Twilight Zone, it still wouldn't hold a candle to the wild weirdness of Scar Ridge. Jonathon Mast will keep you turning the page with this hellish collection of bandits and lawmen, cowboys and Indians, soiled doves and the salt-of-the-earth dealing with high strangeness in a Weird West all his own.
Welcome to your next can't-put-down read, Welcome to Scar Ridge."
~ Jason J. McCuiston, author of
"From the moment you read the opening few lines in the first story in this collection, you are made aware that Scar Ridge is not your average Old West town. The first and last stories actually serve as bookends of sorts for what is an excellent collection of short stories.
"I enjoyed how certain characters and locations appear throughout the book, with Danzig's General Store and the twin saloons almost feeling like characters within the intertwined tales.
"Honestly, there is not a bad story in this collection, and I am hard pressed to choose one as my favorite. There is a little something for every horror fan in this collection, which is a quick, fun read.
"5 stars out of 5."
~ John Watson, Horror Book R&R
"As much as this sounds like what someone would expect me to say about a horror book, I'll say it. I would not suggest reading this book right before you go to sleep. Or do, if that's what you like. Strange dreams await!
"As I read through each of the nine interconnected stories, I wondered how they would be tied together at the end. Each vignette brought another weird, peculiar, and unsettling way Scar Ridge affects its residents. Strange plants appearing and disappearing, things going missing, and the dead? Well, they have their own issues. And why is there a train station if no rails are going in or out of town?
"Welcome to Scar Ridge by Jonathon Mast is the perfect length if you'd like just a little bit of something scary and bizarre to give you a break between other reads."
~ Rachel J. Pierson,
contributing author of #EduMatch: Snapshot in Education
"There was a time when western novels had the reading public's attention tied up on the railroad tracks, as the three-ten express barreled down the line. People devoured western novels with such a speed that publishers couldn't hope to slake the appetite. As such, the quality slipped. This is where the term 'dime store novel' came from: formulaic westerns were written at speed (and produced on a budget) just so something new could be put on the shelves.
"Those days are past now; the western novel no longer holds the sway that it did. That isn't to say the western has gone the way of The Penny-Farthing Owner's Manual or the Guide to Dodo Bird Husbandry. When I was a kid, [redacted] years ago, the major bookstores still dedicated entire shelves to westerns. Today, they're in their own little tiny grouping - the most popular and well-known names have circled the wagons - but their legacy lives, dispersed through the tropes of so many other books: the outlaw with a heart of gold; the soiled dove with a troubled past; the man running from something; and the lone protector, doing what they know to be right against all odds, just to name a few.
"What Jonathon Mast is doing with Welcome to Scar Ridge is not so much a Trojan Horse of the western novel, but a dust-and-blood-caked boot knocking down the door.
"The titular Scar Ridge is the center point, in one form or another, for the collection of short stories. The small desert town is foreboding, hostile, unsettling, and oftentimes downright eerie. That is, when it's not an outright Hell. If you haven't guessed by now, Welcome to Scar Ridge is as much horror as it is western.
"Which, I believe, is the natural stage in the lifespan of the western genre: the location is isolated, desolate, and naturally hostile to life; the world is still untamed there, making it a place where the demonic, the supernatural, and monstrous people can thrive; none of the characters are who they seem, whether they're running from something, or they're chasing something. Indeed, the typical archetypes for the genre haven't been twisted, they've just been let to develop. And that development is horrific and, oftentimes, tragic. Which the reader will know before the characters do, in a dramatic irony that interlocks as much as the stories themselves do.
"In many ways, the horror western parallels the gothic horror.
"You don't need to like westerns, or be able to tell a horse from a hee-haw, to enjoy what Jonathon Mast has written. Really, if you've read or watched any kind of fiction, you already have the basics. What Mast does is not allow you to shy away from the advanced western the basics are capable of developing into. It's not something you'll find in any dime store... if you could still find dime stores, that is."
~ Carl R. Jennings, author of Just About Anyone