Legends of the Lost Causes

Written by Brad McLelland Louis Sylvester
Review by Jenna Pavleck

In this debut novel, Brad McLelland and Louis Sylvester combine elements of The Lord of the Rings, The Walking Dead, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid into one thrilling middle- grade adventure story.

Keech Blackwood is not your typical Western hero. He is a teenage orphan living an unremarkable life at Carson’s Home for Lost Causes under the care of Pa Abner. But Keech’s life is forever changed when his siblings and guardian are murdered and his home burnt down by a group of zombies led by the outlaw named Bad Whiskey.

Now on the run with a charm that can put the undead to rest, Keech embarks on a journey to avenge his family and ensure the magic Char Stone that Bad Whiskey is seeking does not fall into the wrong hands. Along the way, he bands together with another group of orphans. Together these youngsters show courage and heart as they face hailstorms of bullets, a cursed forest, and growing numbers of villains being raised from the dead. Can they solve the clues left by Pa Abner before the magic stone is unearthed by Bad Whiskey?

The novel clearly lands in the realm of fantasy, but the authors weave in an element of history and lore from the Osage Native American tribe into a backdrop of the American frontier. We also encounter an exciting collection of well-developed and entertaining characters throughout the story, from the group of brave children to the mysterious villain named Reverend Rose. Due to the persistent violence in the story, I would recommend this for readers at the upper end of the target age group. The storyline is fast-paced and fun, and the authors do a superb job setting the stage for an exciting series. I look forward to meeting these characters again in the next installment!