THE DOCTOR AND THE KID
This alternative Wild West story plays fast and loose with many details of the well-known stories of Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid, a risky move that doesn’t pay off. Gratuitous cameos by historical figures and pointless steampunking can’t save what is an interesting premise that pits magic against science in the war to control the American West. Unfortunately, when all the fun stuff is stripped away, what’s left is a repetitive plot peopled with characters who don’t live up to their own legends.
In 1882, legendary shootist Doc Holliday makes his way to Colorado, intending to spend his remaining years in a tuberculosis facility in anonymity. But the hard-drinking Holliday gambles away his savings, leaving him no alternative but to turn bounty hunter to recoup his losses. His intended prize, Billy the Kid, has the biggest bounty on his head, but it’s clear that he’s under the protection of a powerful Indian shaman, meaning Holliday may not live long enough to collect the bounty unless he can call upon some magic of his own. (PYR, Dec., 324 pp., $16.00)