MysteryPeople Review: PALE HORSES by Nate Southard

Nate Southard is a new addition to the crime fiction genre, crossing over from his previous experience writing horror. Like Tom Piccirilli and David Schow, Southard uses his skill at mining the dark side to look at the human horror in our lives. He moves into the genre seamlessly with Pale Horses.

The book involves the murder of a woman that affects the lives of two men in a small Indiana town. Sheriff Hal Kendrick is one of the lawmen on the case. He’s trying to hide the fact that he is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. This is poignantly established in the first chapter. In the scene, Kendrick is preparing to go out to the crime scene while talking to his wife whose name he struggles to remember. The main suspect in the murder is Korey Hunt, a vet from Iraq, who is suffering from PTSD. Ostracized in town, Hunt lives with his mother, struggles to cope and often falls into a pattern of self-medicating at the local tavern. His violent outbursts and black-outs even make him doubt his own innocence.

The investigation pushes both men over the edge. Hal struggles to hide his condition as it gets worse, pushing away those closest to him. Korey’s mental state takes him further and further from finding peace; returning him to the violence in Iraq. Southard gives an insightful look into how both characters are marginalized – the treatment society gives to the walking wounded. Much like his past horror novels, Southard has created a town that must know its own descent into Hell to pay for its sins.

Pale Horses paints a portrait of modern rural America. Southard populates the place with vivid characters from it’s bar denizens, to easy going but sharp lawmen, and a villain with a Christina Ricci obsession. His women are strong, but strained from picking up the pieces of the broken men in their lives. Most impressive is the journey of the life of the victim prior to the crime. She comes alive in a way that keeps the story crisp.

Pale Horses is a novel that takes you over, subtly. Fusing genres and subgenres, it defies whatever predictions you have of it, leaving you with a feeling you just can’t shake.

If Nate Southard decides to spend more time in crime fiction, he’ll be most welcome.

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Copies of Pale Horses are available on our shelves at BookPeople and via bookpeople.com

Noir at the Bar Celebrates MysteryPeople’s 3rd Anniversary

Our last Noir At The Bar for 2013 will also celebrate the third anniversary of MysteryPeople. It’s been a fun year and we’re going out with three authors who are a great example of the talent we’ve brought out in the past.

MysteryPeople has been dealing with Jon Basoff for sometime, but mainly in his role as publisher. His NewPulp Press has given us books like Hell On Church Street, Bad JuJu, and Frank Sinatra In A Blender. His second book, Corrosion, has received accolades from book bloggers, drawing comparisons to Jim Thompson and William Faulkner. It is a bleak, sweaty, rural noir with a scarred veteran, hooker, and preacher on a collision course for violence on one doark night.


Anonymous-9’s Hard Bite found it’s way onto many, many best of 2012 lists, even though it was only available to download. Newpulp has put it in print and we’re happy to Introduce Anynmous-9 to Austin readers. Praise for this tale of a paraplegic going up against the Mexican Mafia to save his kidnapped nurse with only a hooker and his trained monkey for help spread like wildfire.

pale horses

We love to promote our local authors like Nate Southard ). Nate’s book Pale Horses has two protagonists: a small town sheriff dealing with Alzheimer’s and a murder, and the damaged vet who may have committed it. Nate has earned a lot of praise in the horror world and it looks like the same is going to happen with him in crime fiction.

Join us this Thursday, November 7th at 7pm at Opal Divine’s on 3601 South Congress. Have a drink, hear from some bad ass authors, buy some of their bad ass books, and help close out a great year at MysteryPeople. See you there.