100 books like The Weird Wild West

By Faith Hunter, Jonathan Maberry, Gail Z. Martin

Here are 100 books that The Weird Wild West fans have personally recommended if you like The Weird Wild West. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu

Julie Bozza Author Of Writ in Blood

From my list on set in the weird Wild West.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love a good story that crosses genres; seeing where they mesh together, playing with where they differ, and letting the various parts spark into a whole that’s greater still. Though my writing usually takes place in the “real” everyday world, I often introduce supernatural elements. Partly because, while I’m an atheist, I still believe there are more things in the universe and on earth than we yet know. And partly because these elements, whether real or imagined on the part of the character, can act as splendid metaphors – or help to understand a state of mind. 

Julie's book list on set in the weird Wild West

Julie Bozza Why did Julie love this book?

A new Western novel that already feels classic in its ready use of all the key elements of the genre. Interestingly, the eponymous main character is Chinese, proving that our Western heroes and antiheroes are perfectly open to diversity. Intriguing fantasy elements are found in Ming’s Chinese guide, The Prophet, and in the circus performers with whom Ming travels across the harsh Western landscape. A wonderful read! 

By Tom Lin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Orphaned young, Ming Tsu, the son of Chinese immigrants, is raised by the notorious leader of a California crime syndicate, who trains him to be his deadly enforcer. But when Ming falls in love with Ada, the daughter of a powerful railroad magnate, and the two elope, he seizes the opportunity to escape to a different life. Soon after, in a violent raid, the tycoon's henchmen kidnap Ada and conscript Ming into service for the Central Pacific Railroad.
Battered, heartbroken, and yet defiant, Ming partners with a blind clairvoyant known only as the prophet. Together the two set out to…


Book cover of The Buntline Special

Julie Bozza Author Of Writ in Blood

From my list on set in the weird Wild West.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love a good story that crosses genres; seeing where they mesh together, playing with where they differ, and letting the various parts spark into a whole that’s greater still. Though my writing usually takes place in the “real” everyday world, I often introduce supernatural elements. Partly because, while I’m an atheist, I still believe there are more things in the universe and on earth than we yet know. And partly because these elements, whether real or imagined on the part of the character, can act as splendid metaphors – or help to understand a state of mind. 

Julie's book list on set in the weird Wild West

Julie Bozza Why did Julie love this book?

This short novel is heaps of fun! It’s another take on the Tombstone story, told from Doc Holliday’s point of view with great wry wit. This Doc is an engaging and unexpectedly kind character, with little or no hint of his reputed “mean disposition”. Weird elements include steampunk – with Thomas Edison living in Tombstone and bringing not only electric light but cyborg sex workers – as well as an undead Johnny Ringo, and supernatural justice wielded by the Native American shamans. It’s delightful!

By Mike Resnick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Buntline Special as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to a West like you've never seen before, where electric lights shine down on the streets of Tombstone, while horseless stagecoaches carry passengers to and fro, and where death is no obstacle to The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo. Think you know the story of the O.K. Corral? Think again, as five-time Hugo winner Mike Resnick takes on his first steampunk western tale, and the West will never be the same.


Book cover of Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West

Tammy Salyer Author Of Gnome on the Range: Otherworld Outlaws 1

From my list on necromancy and communing with cadavers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Being a lifelong fan of fantasy and horror, I've always embraced stories of creepy monsters and vainglorious gods, especially novels that mash-up genres, like Stephen King's Gunslinger, Neil Gaiman's American Gods, and Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow. But my fascination always circles back to the supernatural, especially sorcerers who raise the dead. After writing my dark fantasy Shackled Verities series, I decided to venture into the Old West with a twist—monsters, magic, and mayhem, featuring, of course, a necromancer gnome. So let me present a spellbinding list of stories about these doers of the dark arts that span genres, from spine-chilling to lighthearted—because who says raising the dead has to be serious?

Tammy's book list on necromancy and communing with cadavers

Tammy Salyer Why did Tammy love this book?

This rollicking set of whip-smart short stories through a supernatural Wild West is guaranteed to engage readers, with tales ranging from uncannily magical cards to steampunk bordellos to undead outlaws.

Delivering chaotic gunslinger fun from start to finish, Dead Man's Hand explores the intersecting worlds of the living and undead in many delightful and unforeseen ways. As a supernatural storyteller myself, I couldn't stop turning the pages to see what new fantastical creature or magical spell the authors would envision next.

It was my faithful companion through many late nights crafting my own novel, inspiring me with its spirited inventiveness of mysterious beings and magical mayhem. 

By John Joseph Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dead Man's Hand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD! From a kill-or-be-killed gunfight with a vampire to an encounter in a steampunk bordello, the weird western is a dark, gritty tale where the protagonist might be playing poker with a sorcerous deck of cards, or facing an alien on the streets of a dusty frontier town. Here are twenty-three original tales - stories of the Old West infused with elements of the fantastic - produced specifically for this volume by many of today's finest writers. Included are Orson Scott Card's first "Alvin Maker" story in a decade, and an original adventure by Fred Van…


Book cover of Weird Westerns: Race, Gender, Genre

Julie Bozza Author Of Writ in Blood

From my list on set in the weird Wild West.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love a good story that crosses genres; seeing where they mesh together, playing with where they differ, and letting the various parts spark into a whole that’s greater still. Though my writing usually takes place in the “real” everyday world, I often introduce supernatural elements. Partly because, while I’m an atheist, I still believe there are more things in the universe and on earth than we yet know. And partly because these elements, whether real or imagined on the part of the character, can act as splendid metaphors – or help to understand a state of mind. 

Julie's book list on set in the weird Wild West

Julie Bozza Why did Julie love this book?

These fourteen essays explore the hybrid “weird west” genre, examining a range of texts including some by Native American authors, as well as TV series, films, fiction, roleplaying games, and comic books. It makes for an interesting read – and is thought-provoking in its conclusion that despite weird westerns challenging and destabilizing many of the old cliches, they have yet to “imagine an existence outside of colonial frameworks”. This has given me much food for thought, as it seems to me that frontiers (wherever found) are an intrinsic part of the western genre, and frontiers tend to imply conflict between the inhabitants and the invaders, between the new and the established. Maybe I’m wrong! In any case, this proves that we still have a long way to go before we’re done exploring all the possibilities of this intriguing genre! 

By Kerry Fine (editor), Michael K. Johnson (editor), Rebecca M. Lush (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Weird Westerns as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2021 Top Ten Finalist for the Locus Awards in Nonfiction

Weird Westerns is an exploration of the hybrid western genre-an increasingly popular and visible form that mixes western themes, iconography, settings, and conventions with elements drawn from other genres, such as science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Despite frequent declarations of the western's death, the genre is now defined in part by its zombie-like ability to survive in American popular culture in weird, reanimated, and reassembled forms.

The essays in Weird Westerns analyze a wide range of texts, including those by Native American authors Stephen Graham Jones (Blackfeet) and William Sanders…


Book cover of The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard

Thomas Leo Ogren Author Of Cowboys Don't Shoot Magpies

From my list on that are packed with action.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am best known for my books on allergies and horticulture. But my first love was always writing fiction, and the first two books I ever sold, were both novels. I know a lot about exciting historical novels because I’ve read so many of them. I read; I don’t watch TV. I love history, and historical fiction that has good, strong characters that I can give a hoot about. And I love books that are full of action, where something exciting is always happening or just about to. A plug: I believe I’ve now written some books myself that fit that bill.

Thomas' book list on that are packed with action

Thomas Leo Ogren Why did Thomas love this book?

Elmore Leonard wrote a ton of books, and almost all of them were darn good. He’s most famous for his more modern books, Get Shorty, etc. His stories are raw, edgy, and exciting. Toward the very end of his career, he did crank out some novels that were, I thought, junk. But for the most part, his writing is terrific, easy to read, page-turning books. What many don’t know is that when he was young, he was writing Westerns. And wow, what fabulous Westerns, too! If you’re lucky enough to get a copy of this collection, you’ll both love it, and feel kind of bad when you get to the end. One of the very best Western writers of them all.

By Elmore Leonard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bull's-eye of a short fiction collection that spans the master's career.

In 1950, fresh out of college and keen to make his name as a writer, Elmore Leonard decided he needed to pick a market, a big one, which would give him a better chance to be published while he learned to write. In choosing between crime and Westerns, the latter had an irresistible pull - Leonard loved movies set in the West. As he researched deeper into settings, Arizona in the 1880s captured his imagination: the Spanish influence, the stand-offs and shoot-outs between Apache Indians and the US…


Book cover of Tomboy Bride: One Woman's Personal Account of Life in Mining Camps of the West

Mark Mitten Author Of Sipping Whiskey in a Shallow Grave

From my list on the Old West from people who lived in the Old West.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born in Texas, raised in Colorado, I’ve always had one foot in the working cowboy world and the other in the Rocky Mountains. I’m a member of the Western Writers of America, and I’ve summited all 54 fourteen-thousand foot peaks in Colorado. For a number of years, I worked with horses at a therapeutic riding center, as a barn manager. After that, I worked as an equine veterinary assistant, driving around with the vet in a pickup truck to doctor horses. Following that, I pursued the arts. Over the years, I’ve recorded and performed western/folk music (find me on Bandcamp), acted in western films (check my YouTube channel), and written western novels (Sunbury Press/Milford House).

Mark's book list on the Old West from people who lived in the Old West

Mark Mitten Why did Mark love this book?

I’ve been to the Tomboy Mine. All that’s left of the camp are old foundations in a rocky basin above timberline, surrounded by high peaks, 3,000 feet above Telluride. The only gold left behind is in the rich hues of a Colorado sunset. While the Tomboy may be gone, it’s the same view Harriet Fish Backus saw every day. Life at a remote mountain mine was full of “mishaps and makeshifts,” and she kept a diary of daily events. Nothing she writes is a dull description, nor is it the soaring purple prose of Victorian-era romanticism. Her account of mining life in 1906, from a woman’s perspective, detailing daily routines, friendships, and fears, is invaluable as a western author, to create believable female characters in the Old West.

By Harriet Fish Backus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tomboy Bride as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Colorado favorite, Tomboy Bride presents the first-hand account of a young pioneer woman and her life in a rough and tumble mining town of the Old West.


In 1906 at the age of twenty, Harriet Fish hopped on a train from Oakland, California, to the San Juan Mountains of Colorado in search of a new life as the bride of assayer George Backus. Together, the couple ventured forth to discover mining town life at the turn of the twentieth century, adjusting to dizzying elevation heights of 11,500 feet and all the hardships that come with it: limited water, rationed…


Book cover of Slogum House

Randi Samuelson-Brown Author Of Market Street Madam

From my list on the dark side of the Wild West.

Why am I passionate about this?

I recall the exact moment when my interest sparked about frontier prostitution and Denver’s underbelly — a friend mentioned the ‘bad blood’ in her family — an ancestor who was a second-rate madam and who employed her own daughters. The quest started. Who were these women, and why did they make the choices they did? I’ve spent years chasing down traces of the old west’s prostitutes, fascinated by their identities and lives. The west had opportunities for women who were willing to take chances. As a fifth-generation Coloradoan, I hoped to capture the story of these enterprising and overlooked women, their lives, and the world around them.

Randi's book list on the dark side of the Wild West

Randi Samuelson-Brown Why did Randi love this book?

Slogum House is a fairly brutal account of the dynamics between a gentle patriarch who married a shifty woman and the influence her brutality had on the family. Parts of this novel are disturbing and hard to read, but this is an interesting tale of a desperate and driven woman who will literally stop at nothing to get what she wants, and how that ruthlessness colors her family and children’s lives. The setting is the remote western sand-hills of Nebraska. Brilliant writing.

By Mari Sandoz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Slogum House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Slogum House "lay on the winter flat of Oxbow like the remains of some great, hulking animal that had foraged the region long ago, leaving its old gray carcass to dry and bleach at the foot of the hogback." Ruled by Gulla Slogum, the house was headquarters for a clan that terrorized what it couldn't seduce or steal. Using her daughter as poisoned bait and her sons as predators, Gulla plotted to put a whole county under her control. She had been insulted too often and worked too hard; now she sought power, land, and revenge.


Book cover of Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend

Mark Warren Author Of The Long Road to Legend: Wyatt Earp, an American Odyssey Book One

From my list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a teacher of primitive survival skills. As a young boy, I was fascinated with the concept of courage. At seven, I read the pseudo-biography of Wyatt Earp, a wonderfully written account of a courageous man. This book began my lifelong interest in Mr. Earp. Eventually, I met many of the giants in Western history research and accompanied them into the field. After 65 years of collecting the facts, I wanted to use my novelistic skills to portray the life and times of Wyatt Earp as best as the record shows.

Mark's book list on Wyatt Earp by the top researchers in the field

Mark Warren Why did Mark love this book?

The public was introduced to Wyatt Earp’s story by Walter Noble Burns and Stuart Lake around 1930, but the novelistic liberties taken by these two writers produced two books of fantasy. Other writers who reacted to this fiction swung to the other end of the spectrum and wrote damning indictments against Wyatt Earp. Tefertiller gives us the facts and leaves it to the reader to parse Wyatt Earp, the man.

I have visited many a Sonoran Desert site with Mr. Tefertiller—places where events in the Earp saga took place. There we have engaged in conversations and batted around ideas. I judge him to be a most reliable and dedicated researcher/writer.

By Casey Tefertiller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wyatt Earp as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Quite impressive. I doubt if there has been or will be a more deeply researched and convincing account." --Evan Connell, author Son of the Morning Star: Custer and the Little Bighorn "The book to end all Earp books--the most complete, and most meticulously researched." --Jack Burrows, author John Ringo: The Gunfighter Who Never Was "The most thoughtful, well-researched, and comprehensive account that has been written about the development and career of an Old-West lawman." --The Tombstone Tumbleweed "A great adventure story, and solid history." --Kirkus Reviews "A major contribution to the history of the American West. It provides the first…


Book cover of Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories

Bob Giel Author Of Shawnee

From my list on generating interest in the Western genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a life-long love of Westerns. I’ve researched the period and the events extensively. One of the first things I look for in any book I read is period accuracy. The books I write are historically accurate, though they are fiction. I’m on a mission, through my writing, to save the Western genre.

Bob's book list on generating interest in the Western genre

Bob Giel Why did Bob love this book?

While this is a short story, not a novel, it is, in my opinion, the quintessential psychological Western. Depicting the struggle of an ordinary man saddled with extraordinary tasks, to maintain his honor and his values in the face of temptation, it delves into the minds of the two participants, and takes the reader on a wild ride as they wait for the train. Tension you could cut with a knife replaces action, keeping the reader on the edge of his/her seat until the end.

By Elmore Leonard,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times-bestselling Grand Master of suspense deftly displays the other side of his genius, with seven classic western tales of destiny and fatal decision . . . and trust as essential to survival as it is hard-earned.

Trust was rare and precious in the wide-open towns that sprung up like weeds on America's frontier—with hustlers and hucksters arriving in droves by horse, coach, wagon, and rail, and gunmen working both sides of the law, all too eager to end a man's life with a well-placed bullet. In these classic tales that span more than five decades—including the first…


Book cover of The Broken Gun

Thomas Leo Ogren Author Of Cowboys Don't Shoot Magpies

From my list on that are packed with action.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am best known for my books on allergies and horticulture. But my first love was always writing fiction, and the first two books I ever sold, were both novels. I know a lot about exciting historical novels because I’ve read so many of them. I read; I don’t watch TV. I love history, and historical fiction that has good, strong characters that I can give a hoot about. And I love books that are full of action, where something exciting is always happening or just about to. A plug: I believe I’ve now written some books myself that fit that bill.

Thomas' book list on that are packed with action

Thomas Leo Ogren Why did Thomas love this book?

The Broken Gun has one of the tightest plots of any of the many Western novels from the late, great Louis L’Amour. L’Amour’s Westerns are almost all set in the mid-1800s. His good guys are good, and his bad guys bad. His books are all fun, easy to read, full of action, and keep you turning the pages. Some readers think Louis L’Amour was a 2nd rate writer…but he knew what he was doing & literally millions of folks have loved his books. Many, like myself, have read all of his Westerns, some of them several times. When I go camping I always toss in a few of his paperbacks. When it’s too windy to fish, I kick back and re-read a Louis L’Amour Western. Always fun.

By Louis L'Amour,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Broken Gun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ninety years ago the Toomey brothers, along with twenty-five other men and four thousand head of cattle, vanished en route to Arizona. When writer and historian Dan Sheridan is invited to the missing brothers’ ranch by its current owner, he jumps at the chance. The visit fits right in with his plan to solve the century-old mystery—but it turns out that his host isn’t a fan of books, writers, or people who don’t mind their own business.

Soon Dan is living the dangers of the Old West firsthand—tracked through the savage wilderness by vicious killers straight out of the most…


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