Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-696-9
Sci-fi Romance, 2009
Wither is a cowboy-in-a-spaceship story. Colt Marshall, our hero, doesn’t enter the story gracefully, as early on I am treated to a scene of his target getting away from him and Colt nearly getting killed in the process. Our wrangler-cum-bounty hunter decides to pursue his target to the nearby planet of Harrow. At the same time, a message arrives from someone from his past. Brynn Wight needs his help. Conveniently enough, the woman he’d once slept with and had never forgotten lives on Harrow. He’d wrangle his target and then spend some time learning what Brynn needs from him.
Colt is in for some surprises. Brynn is the sheriff of a small town called Wither. The reason she needs his life is because, every day when the sun goes down, local predators called the Tribe by the folks of Wither come out to hunt and these predators aren’t picky about the kind of meat they get to chew on.
I should enjoy this story, but I find myself feeling emotionally detached from the main characters. The only character I care for is Young, the robot that Brynn took for granted for so long. I don’t know whether to cry or call him the biggest fool ever when he sacrifices himself for that worthless woman. While the adventure is fast-paced, everything comes together in one big ball of coincidences that I can only scratch my head at the end of the day. It also doesn’t help that when Colt is with Brynn, he behaves like a silly baby. As for Brynn, this woman comes off as often too emotional and self-absorbed. I can only imagine how she managed to become a sheriff since she spends more time here wringing her hands over her love life that the Tribe seems like a secondary concern for her.
Ultimately, Wither is a decent read, but I can’t bring myself to care for this story too much. I do find myself rooting for the robot Young who only wanted to be human and who is stuck in a thankless role in this story, but the two main characters can fly off into a black hole for all I care.