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Noose Brennan Lafaro Main

"Noose" Book Review

Written by Zach Rosenberg

Published by DarkLit Press

noose brennan lafaro poster large

Written by Brennan LaFaro
2022, 176 pages, Fiction
Released on September 4th, 2022


Rory Daggett is a man on a mission. Since he first met Noose Holcomb, he knew he would need to kill the man; indeed, Noose killed his parents in 1872 and left Rory an orphan. Now Rory has grown, with a new family and life. Seeing one of Noose’s old gang members spurs him to revenge, to hunting down Noose Holcomb. But what is vengeance worth and what must a man do to achieve it?

Brennan LaFaro’s second novella, Noose, hits the ground running. Pulling no punches, this is a story of violence and brutality. Life is cheap out in the west and there is no romanticizing the sheer cruelty man is capable of there. LaFaro writes Rory Daggett with immense skill. From the start, we are in this man’s head, feeling what he does and seeking his righteous vengeance with him.

But then LaFaro asks, can vengeance ever be truly righteous? The story questions what happens when the object of hatred becomes more layered and nuanced than expected, and what one must sacrifice to break them down as brutally as they deserve. The classic Nietzsche quote on being careful not to become a monster rings all-too true in Noose. The human characters are everything, even as the west grows increasingly warped and frightening, with experiments and old ghosts enhancing the horror of the setting.

And what a ride it is. The novel is soaked in blood, powerful as a bullet from a specially designed colt revolver. LaFaro knows how to write characters the whole way through. The story is occasionally rushed and hurried, lacking a bit in the side cast, but this is a minor complaint.

There are elements of the fantastical through the book as well. LaFaro uses the setting as a backdrop to create a splendid horror tale. Treachery and bloodshed lurk around very corner and one cannot even be sure of the humanity of those they come into contact with. Characters are vividly painted on a canvas, with everyone having their own agendas. Though we see everything through Rory’s eyes, the author invites us to draw our own conclusions over what we see. The reader will want Rory to triumph, but LaFaro invites them to consider the cost of it.

Noose himself could easily be relegated to a one-note villain after his first appearance, but LaFaro is better than that. After introducing him as a devious murderer in the opening train robbery, LaFaro allows the legend to speak for the character. Noose is spoken of in hushed tones and whispers, filtered through Rory’s perception to help guide the reader in anticipation to their inevitable, climactic conclusion and all the surprises it contains.

One can easily imagine Noose as a Sergio Corbucci-style western, a character study on how far one is willing to go to achieve vengeance.


Overall: 4.5 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Zach Rosenberg
Staff Reviewer - USA
Zach Rosenberg is a fantasy and horror writer living in Florida. He appreciates the ocean, wildlife and his love of literature was constantly nurtured growing up where he practically lived in the libraries, reading every horror and fantasy book he could get his hands on. His print debut short story "The Teeth Of the Deeps" is featured in the fifth short story collection from Dead Sea Press.
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