Portlandtown
Welcome to Portlandtown, where no secret is safe---not even those buried beneath six feet of Oregon mud.Joseph Wylde isn't afraid of the past, but he knows some truths are better left unspoken. When his father-in-law's grave-digging awakens more than just ghosts, Joseph invites him into their home hoping that a booming metropolis and two curious grandtwins will be enough to keep the former marshal out of trouble. Unfortunately, the old man's past soon follows, unleashing a terrible storm on a city already knee deep in floodwaters. As the dead mysteriously begin to rise, the Wyldes must find the truth before an unspeakable evil can spread across the West and beyond. Rob DeBorde's Portlandtown is a supernatural western, a fantastic blend of horror, magic, and zombies sure to excite even the most demanding genre fan.

Portlandtown Details

TitlePortlandtown
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 16th, 2012
PublisherSt. Martin's Griffin
ISBN-139781250006646
Rating
GenreHorror, Fantasy, Zombies, Westerns, Fiction, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Steampunk

Portlandtown Review

  • Heidi
    January 1, 1970
    Three and a half stars: A blend of the Wild West and the Supernatural!The rain is pouring down as the old graveyard caretaker makes his way through the mud to investigate the light shining in the cemetery. He finds the retired marshal digging up a grave, searching furiously for something he can't remember.....A few days later, the Wyldes arrive to take their Grandfather back to Portland. Joseph, blinded in an accident eleven years ago doesn't let his impairment bother him. He has learned to see Three and a half stars: A blend of the Wild West and the Supernatural!The rain is pouring down as the old graveyard caretaker makes his way through the mud to investigate the light shining in the cemetery. He finds the retired marshal digging up a grave, searching furiously for something he can't remember.....A few days later, the Wyldes arrive to take their Grandfather back to Portland. Joseph, blinded in an accident eleven years ago doesn't let his impairment bother him. He has learned to see with his other senses. Accompanied by his two eleven year old twins, Maddie and Kick, they pack up the Marshal and take him back to Portland. Unknowingly, once the Marshal leaves Astoria a fearsome spirit is awakened and the Wyldes soon find that sometimes the dead don't stay buried and old evils can come back to haunt.What I Liked:*The main reason I picked up this book was because it is set in Portland where I currently reside. I still feel like a bit of newbie after living here for five years. I was fascinated to learn so many interesting details of Portland's history. This book takes place at the end of the 19th century so there are many intriguing historic details such as the people in Portland during the rainy season utilized boats and canoes to navigate the downtown streets, since they were typically flooded during the Spring. I loved learning about Portland's past and I thought Mr. DeBorde did an excellent job in bringing Old Portlandtown to life in his book.*I thoroughly enjoyed the Wylde family. Led by Joseph, though blind, doesn't miss even the smallest details, the family is unique in that each member has a special talent. The twins have a exceptional bond and a uncanny sense that allows them to foresee impending danger, while their mother Kate has the ability to seamlessly blend into the background and at times appear to be invisible. I loved how each member has an unusual talent and I liked watching how they used their gifts. I look forward to seeing how they progress in the next book. *I liked that this book has an Old West theme that utilizes zombies, necromancers, voodoo, an undead outlaw and a cursed gun, Native American lore and more. If you enjoy books that blend genres, you will enjoy all the different elements in this book. *I enjoyed the mystery in this one and it kept me engaged and turning the pages until the exciting climax and thrilling end! *I appreciated that this book was not packed with tons of gore and violence. I was not sure what to expect when I headed into this one and I was pleased to find the majority of the story focuses on the Wylde family and their uncanny abilities. For all you zombie fans, there are plenty of scenes with zombies and the scary Hanged Man, but nothing is over the top gruesome in this one. And The Not So Much:*This book lacked a bit of detail. For instance the Hanged Man and Joseph had some type of past and I never got the whole picture, how they came together and what was the final straw that led to conflict and revenge. I wished that I had more insight on this part of the story. I also longed to know a bit more about the mysterious Andre, such as how he learned to wield his power and how his book of black magic feel into the wrong hands. *I didn't like the utilizations of the flashbacks in this one. At times, they were a bit jarring and confusing and they didn't provide all the necessary information for the reader to get a complete picture of the Hangman's past. Perhaps, it would have been better to do one or two flashbacks instead of splitting it up into several installments and sprinkling it throughout.*I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get a full explanation on the totem pole. Where did it come from and who made it? I was intrigued by this magical totem pole and wanted to know more.Portlandtown was an interesting read that takes the reader back to the days of the Wild West with a supernatural flair. Take a trip back to Portland and see how the citizens endured the endless rain. I enjoyed learning more about historic Portland as I raced through this exciting and creepy adventure. With zombies and a raised corpse this book has plenty of supernatural elements for all you who like the unexpected!Favorite Quotations:"Oh, it's great fun," said the mayor. "Folks come from miles around just to stand out in the Oregon rain.""The life he'd seen in the store was even more eager to live now that it had tasted the fear of death.""You wear your fear well," she said. "Always have." "A plague born of man a long time ago in a place very far from here. Born of words, foul deeds, and dark intentions. Spread through contact with the infected.""Every man, even a cursed one has a choice."I received an ARC copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review and all opinions expressed are my own.Posted @Rainy Day Ramblings.
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  • Bonnie Morse
    January 1, 1970
    I was really hoping for a good zombie story local to my hometown. And I still am, because this was not. Mostly there was just too much going on, jumping around between characters and locations with no clue as to how they would fit together. It was obviously going to be supernatural in nature, being a (sort of) zombie book, but there was actually a little too much of that going on, too. A lot of it obviously lifted from other sources with very little original thinking. (The Colt that kills anythi I was really hoping for a good zombie story local to my hometown. And I still am, because this was not. Mostly there was just too much going on, jumping around between characters and locations with no clue as to how they would fit together. It was obviously going to be supernatural in nature, being a (sort of) zombie book, but there was actually a little too much of that going on, too. A lot of it obviously lifted from other sources with very little original thinking. (The Colt that kills anything was very Supernatural. Kept making me think of the Colt they had that--killed everything.)But the real problem was that *everyone* seemed to be psychic. Our protagonist is a man with partial sight in one eye, and apparently super-vision. He can sense any and everything going on around him, including when a man who enters his store is carrying a small pistol under his coat. Not to mention his ability to read by feeling the impressions of ink on paper.However, despite these abilities, his wife, who for some reason likes to hide from him, does so by mysteriously making herself invisible. Because that's how you hide from a blind man who can literally see more than any sighted person. Or something like that.Throw in his twins who not only read each other's minds but can tell what's happening to other rooms and know what's going to happen in advance, and we don't really need the spell book, magic Colt, and living dead.I came close to giving up when our blind hero's wife didn't bother to voice disapproval of a plan because she knew he could already read the expression on her face. But I kept hoping it would turn into *something* readable. It never did, and I'm seriously pissed at myself for wasting five days plugging through it. There wasn't any resolution in the end, either, leading me to believe it might be the beginning of a series. That would exemplify living dead better than the story itself.
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  • Michael Jr.
    January 1, 1970
    *** Advance Reader’s Copy ***Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon WyldesBy: Ron DebordeOverall: 3 out of 5 Stars*** Please not that this novel is not due out until October 2012 and I am reviewing an advance reader’s copy that could be slightly altered.Based upon the cover art and the description that this was a “western a la Stephen King’s Dark Tower…” I pretty much had a good idea of what the novel would feel like and what you imagine is pretty accurate. Years ago, a mysterious and powerful crimi *** Advance Reader’s Copy ***Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon WyldesBy: Ron DebordeOverall: 3 out of 5 Stars*** Please not that this novel is not due out until October 2012 and I am reviewing an advance reader’s copy that could be slightly altered.Based upon the cover art and the description that this was a “western a la Stephen King’s Dark Tower…” I pretty much had a good idea of what the novel would feel like and what you imagine is pretty accurate. Years ago, a mysterious and powerful criminal was put down by Joseph Wylde and his father-in-law, the former U.S. Marshall. The criminal was known as the Hanged Man. The Hangman possessed a powerful book of black magic and a cursed revolver, which were the sources of his power. The black magic falls into the wrong hands and the Hanged Man is resurrected. The Hanged Man seeks to redeem his former power and exact revenge on those who put him down. I do not want to give away any spoilers, so I will leave it at that.Creativity: 3 starsThe basic premise to the story had pieces of things we have all seen before, but they are interesting and I did not feel as though I was reading something that I had before.Spelling and Grammar: 5 starsConsidering that I was reviewing an advance copy, I was looking particularly hard at finding errors. I really had a hard time finding any. There were two minor finds, that I am not even sure were errors. The spelling, grammar, and formatting were absolutely outstanding.Execution: 2 starsHere is where I had my problems with Portlandtown. I felt as though there were too many characters, so it was almost impossible to connect too much with any of the characters. Joseph Wylde’s children, Kick and Maddie, were extremely interesting and I really wish that they would have ended up the heroes. The Hanged Man was also a very interesting character and I really wanted to know more of him and his tale.There were many other characters in which so much time was spent with, I thought they would be more integral to the story, but they ended up largely irrelevant. Page Turning: 4 starsI definitely kept turning the pages because the buildup to the climax was very good. The problem wasn’t being interested, the problem was with were it concluded. I was left wanted so much more, maybe that was intentional because a prequel is strong possibility with this. The Wylde’s were the heroes, but the Hanged Man is who I was interested in.Overall: 3 starsVery much a good premise and there was a great story here, but it was drowned out by the uninteresting characters. I cannot say that I recommend the book to fans of this genre, but for those that have not read much from this genre, I certainly can.Michael A. Wood Jr.“The Critical Critic”http://www.michaelawoodjr.com
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  • PopcornReads
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review & Giveaway: When I saw Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon Wyldes by Rob DeBorde, I knew it would make a great Halloween giveaway. Normally we show the book cover at the left; however, I found this poster for the novel on the author’s web site and knew we had to include it instead. Doncha love it? If you’re a Wild West fan or a zombie/supernatural/paranormal fan, this one is going to be perfect. It is indeed “The old west as you’ve never seen it.” Read the rest of my review & Book Review & Giveaway: When I saw Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon Wyldes by Rob DeBorde, I knew it would make a great Halloween giveaway. Normally we show the book cover at the left; however, I found this poster for the novel on the author’s web site and knew we had to include it instead. Doncha love it? If you’re a Wild West fan or a zombie/supernatural/paranormal fan, this one is going to be perfect. It is indeed “The old west as you’ve never seen it.” Read the rest of my review & enter to win a copy at http://popcornreads.com/?p=4868.
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  • Tasula
    January 1, 1970
    I liked the first half of this book more than the last half, for some reason. I think I started to find the second half a bit tedious- and the ending (for me) was just not satisfying. I think the main characters were just too gentle and patient when dealing with someone who was a relentless killer. Also I expected the author to do a bit more with the strange capabilities of the main family, but was disappointed.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    This was really fun! A mixture of western and the supernatural, and yes, zombies! I really hope this will be a series about the Oregon Wyldes and their friends and family. The world is interesting and I'm sure people from Portland will enjoy it simply for the setting. If you like genre-bending and enjoy westerns and zombies, give this one a go, you will like it!
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  • Jennifer D
    January 1, 1970
    Disappointed is thy name. I read the blurb and was all kinds of excited to get approved for this book and read it. I mean honestly what could go wrong... magic, zombies, gunslingers... basically a suped up old western. Besides, the cover is pretty badass as well.The day I got approved I was literally jumping up and down but I knew I couldn't start reading it yet.I knew once I started I wouldn't be able to put it down and would have raved about it all over Goodreads like a lunatic. But sadly, the Disappointed is thy name. I read the blurb and was all kinds of excited to get approved for this book and read it. I mean honestly what could go wrong... magic, zombies, gunslingers... basically a suped up old western. Besides, the cover is pretty badass as well.The day I got approved I was literally jumping up and down but I knew I couldn't start reading it yet.I knew once I started I wouldn't be able to put it down and would have raved about it all over Goodreads like a lunatic. But sadly, there was no raving. What really happened is that I had no problem taking almost three weeks to read because Portlandtown held me just enough but not enough to have me breeze through it. It held my interest enough for me to want to know what happened next in hopes that I would be dazzled beyond a shadow of a doubt.I was not dazzled in the least.I was bored.There was so much potential for Portlandtown and it was obvious in my opinion that there was going to be a sequel. Almost everything that happened, happened in the last 10% of the book. I spent the first third of the book alternating between whiplash and running around like a chicken with my head cut off. There were multiple... and I mean multiple point of views and most of the time I didn't know who was narrating I couldn't differentiate the voices (although it did get easier as the book progressed).For me this was a so-so book. I didn't love it and I didn't hate it. If I didn't spend most of my time confused then I would probably be looking forward to the next one.SPOILERS AHEAD, PROCEED WITH CAUTION.....The things that confused me most were....The origins of Kate's magic and Joesph's. Also how Joesph got out from under The Hanged Mans control. I understood Andre's role but was left wondering why his part was so small when it should have been bigger. The connection between Kick and Maddie was confusing as well and at this point I may have zoned out but how on earth was the connection broken. I would have loved to learn more about the book and how it had a hold on Henry and why his life was connected to The Hanged Man, also why he felt compelled to help The Hanged Man when clearly he should have Usain Bolt(ed) his ass out of there. And who's voice was telling him to do things... the book or The Hanged Man?I was left with a lot of questions that I'm positive will be answered in the sequel but at this point I really don't feel compelled to continue.This ARC was provided by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley. Thanks a million!
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  • Scott
    January 1, 1970
    As a proud Portlander, I could not resist snagging a copy of Rob DeBorde's "Portlandtown" based on the cover alone. What - a gun-toting zombie facing down a sinister, bespectacled gunman protecting/threatening a fair lady, all adorned in some neo-noir/Western attire? And set in Portland?? Freaking awesome!I'm happy to say that DeBorde's novel brings the goods. He sets the reader down deep inside a story with several years of dark history. Set in the 1870s, Western Oregon is still largely the Wil As a proud Portlander, I could not resist snagging a copy of Rob DeBorde's "Portlandtown" based on the cover alone. What - a gun-toting zombie facing down a sinister, bespectacled gunman protecting/threatening a fair lady, all adorned in some neo-noir/Western attire? And set in Portland?? Freaking awesome!I'm happy to say that DeBorde's novel brings the goods. He sets the reader down deep inside a story with several years of dark history. Set in the 1870s, Western Oregon is still largely the Wild West. An aged, retired marshal digs in an Astoria graveyard for reasons he doesn't quite understand. The marshal had an apocalyptic stand-off with the West's most legendary villain, the Hanged Man, years ago, and he's buried somewhere in the graveyard, along with a magical, evil gun that never needs reloading. A book of black magic, written by a titanic former slave who seeks its recovery, calls out to whomever is near, offering comfort and pain like Sauron's ring. And then there are the Wyldes, a family of somewhat magical, mystical Oregonians who seem destined to both fight the Hanged Man and spark a long, entertaining series of Western/horror novels.All this delirious mess works, but only as the first novel in a series. DeBorde has crammed enough backstory and fascinating characters into "Portlandtown" to maintain a novel almost on the order of "A Song of Ice and Fire." On top of that, DeBorde has also done his homework on the history of Portland, where the frontier city stands as almost another character in the novel. Rickety, muddy, and desperate for recognition, DeBorde's frontier Portland evokes many of our modern sensibilities. DeBorde weaves telling details of our city's history and character into his story - what other town would have a Rain Festival? (It eventually becomes our beloved Rose Festival - a much better choice.) In what other town would the locals consider it normal to equip boardwalks with scaffolding to navigate downtown's rising floodwaters while on the way to market?Any attempt at summarizing this plot would be futile, as "Portlandtown" is overstuffed with characters, history, and details - it's only 380-odd pages. The book feels a bit like "The Avengers," where there are so many heroes that it's hard for each of them to get their fair moment to shine, but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining. And the pages fly by when a zombie infestation hits Portland during a titanic storm and the Hanged Man stalks the Wyldes, seeking to avenge betrayals and settle scores.Kudos to you, Mr. DeBorde - in a few years, I hope "Portlandtown" will be considered the first in a long series of gory, violent, delightful tales of our young city.
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  • Beth Cato
    January 1, 1970
    I received this Advanced Reading Copy through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.Portlandtown in many ways feels like a dark urban fantasy novel dropped in pioneer Oregon. The Wylde family possesses some particular magic abilities, and has become known as a local resource for handling paranormal matters. The vibe here is quite dark, and it works very well with the subject matter: the rising dead, evil magic, and a mysterious bad guy known as the Hanged Man.I was a bit thrown off by the fl I received this Advanced Reading Copy through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.Portlandtown in many ways feels like a dark urban fantasy novel dropped in pioneer Oregon. The Wylde family possesses some particular magic abilities, and has become known as a local resource for handling paranormal matters. The vibe here is quite dark, and it works very well with the subject matter: the rising dead, evil magic, and a mysterious bad guy known as the Hanged Man.I was a bit thrown off by the floating viewpoints of the novel, and at first the infrequent flashbacks in italics threw me off. However, after a few chapters I was able to keep track of who was who. I really enjoyed the Wylde family: Joseph, physically blind but with keen senses; Kate, his smart wife with an ability to walk in shadows; and their twins, who I was worried at first would be devices to cause stupid trouble, but instead were intelligent and powerful in their own ways.However, there were other characters I wanted to know more. Andre and Naira, in particular, were quite fascinating. Whole books could be written on their adventures. In a way, perhaps, they were too powerful, and too convenient when they meet the Wyldes right at the end. The Hanged Man is an excellent bad guy but in a way seemed too awful--there's no nuance to him; I suspect sequels will explore his mysterious past and how he became such a powerful undead figure with a cursed gun. The gun did feel a bit like Tolkein's ring--compelling users to keep it and shoot it--but it works well in a western setting.Portland itself is a great setting. I'm not a local, but I'm familiar enough with the city to recognize a lot of genuine history was utilized for the novel. It made the place feel like a character as well, which is something I really enjoyed.In all, it's a good book. Not extraordinary, but a solid read. I might read onward in the series, depending on where they go and what characters are involved.
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  • Cissa
    January 1, 1970
    An Occult WesternNecromancy! Magical guns! Zombies (of course; ALL books these days must have zombies)! Voodoo (sort of)! Supernatural talents! Mystical Native American totems! And just a hint of steampunk, what with the "firestone".All this within a novel that seems to also be based fairly solidly in the early years of Portland, OR, so it's maybe alternative history.I found it a really compelling read. The supernatural elements were not cliched; they were interesting and original, and drove the An Occult WesternNecromancy! Magical guns! Zombies (of course; ALL books these days must have zombies)! Voodoo (sort of)! Supernatural talents! Mystical Native American totems! And just a hint of steampunk, what with the "firestone".All this within a novel that seems to also be based fairly solidly in the early years of Portland, OR, so it's maybe alternative history.I found it a really compelling read. The supernatural elements were not cliched; they were interesting and original, and drove the plot well. The plot was well-crafted and kept up the pace, accelerating to a pretty satisfying climax. Definitely a page turner!And- at some points it's REALLY creepy, which is fun.The writing quality was a bit rough, I thought, though it worked fine. The copy-editing could have used some work to change wrong homonyms to the correct ones; "plaintiff" and "plaintive" are very different from each other, for example, and there were several instances of these that were disconcerting to me and pulled me out of the story. The characterization was cursory; even after spending time in various character's POV, I didn't feel like I knew them at all, or had any inkling of how they'd react in the next situation; but that's not necessarily a serious flaw in a novel that is mainly plot-driven, like this one is.I will warn that several threads don't get resolved; it looks like it's the start of a series, or at least a trilogy. Still, the climax and ending are pretty satisfying, and it doesn't end on a cliff-hanger- just with a hook.I look forward to the next volume in this trilogy/series- whichever it ends up being- but this is also a good, exciting read all on its own.Note: I got an ARC of this via LibraryThing.
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  • Brian
    January 1, 1970
    Let me start by saying I don't read westerns.. that even though I'm a huge Stephen King fan I haven't read the gunslinger series... only a couple short stories. So--this book was out of the 'norm' for me on that count.Having said that--I enjoyed this book. It was very well written (save the first few pages.. where it jumps into the story and I had trouble telling who was who or what was going on). However that confusion was quickly cleared up on subsequent pages.The main characters are immediate Let me start by saying I don't read westerns.. that even though I'm a huge Stephen King fan I haven't read the gunslinger series... only a couple short stories. So--this book was out of the 'norm' for me on that count.Having said that--I enjoyed this book. It was very well written (save the first few pages.. where it jumps into the story and I had trouble telling who was who or what was going on). However that confusion was quickly cleared up on subsequent pages.The main characters are immediately likeable and interesting... and very well 'fleshed out'. The story is easy to follow without being predictable. The author has a well polished style of story telling--which provides both great illustration but also keeps the story going without pages of Hawthorne like description.I enjoyed the main characters so much that I almost disliked the addition of secondary characters to the story (as weird as that might sound). Not that the secondary characters were not interesting too... but the main characters were to me unique and therefore I wanted to follow them more closely.While the 'villian' in the story is as dark and evil as they come.. the book itself is not wraught with darkness and foreboding (as "the Road" was, or the Gunslinger series).This was a very fast read.. anyone how enjoys supernatural/paranormal stories... and/or fantasy westerns should really enjoy this book.
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  • Janin
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed reading this book. Though I have to admit, I was so afraid of the climax and confrontation, I would read a chapter, stop, walk away, worry about it... then realize I wanted to know, more than I was afraid of knowing, and pick the book back up. Ergo, it took me -forever- to read the last 1/3 of the book (lol). Well written and very easy to visualize!
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    Great premise, but the writing needs more development.
  • Robert Gilbert
    January 1, 1970
    Zombie books are not my usual choice, but this one piqued my interest because of its connection to my old stomping grounds. While the historical accuracy was not spot-on (aside from the steam-punk element, some of the geographical names were given their modern names, not their historical ones) I appreciate that this horror book kept itself clean and family-friendly.
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  • Mel
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book set in old Portland, complete with zombies. I hope a sequel is on the way!
  • Pogue
    January 1, 1970
    I liked this book and I wish that there was going to be a second one.
  • William White
    January 1, 1970
    Portlandtown is non-fiction author Rob DeBorde's debut into novel realms. Unfortunately, like much of the landscape throughout the novel, De Borde's plot struggles to keep its head above water.The story centers around...well, let's say no one really. With all the head-hopping in De Borde's debut, one never really gets the sense there is a main protagonist whom we are meant to root for. What's worse, the story scatters into elements of tenuously connected plot which leaves the reader seeing the w Portlandtown is non-fiction author Rob DeBorde's debut into novel realms. Unfortunately, like much of the landscape throughout the novel, De Borde's plot struggles to keep its head above water.The story centers around...well, let's say no one really. With all the head-hopping in De Borde's debut, one never really gets the sense there is a main protagonist whom we are meant to root for. What's worse, the story scatters into elements of tenuously connected plot which leaves the reader seeing the way each plot element fits, but wondering why the hell it was even introduced other than to make a story that was some 200 pages 175 pages longer. And that's being generous, as the plot is stretched thinner than pastrami on a cracker.The main premise of the book presumably centers around the outlaw known as the 'Hanged Man' due to a possibly botched hanging which may or may not have really killed him, as we are left to wonder. Whatever the case, the Hanged Man is now truly dead, buried under six feet of good 'ol fashioned Astoria earth. At the start of the book, we meet a man known simply as 'the Marshall'. He is furiously digging up graves in an Astoria cemetery, but he doesn't know why. The undertaker (no, not the WWE superstar) finds him in the midst of this heinous activity and when he asks why the Marshall is doing this, the Marshall replies he doesn't know. The next chapter starts with the Marshall's son-in-law, Joseph Wylde, arriving to take the Marshall back to Portlandtown to live with him, his wife, and their two children. Joseph is a special man. He's blind, but he 'sees' better than the average man now, due to his 'extended' senses. In fact, apparently the ENTIRE Wylde family is superhuman. Whether it's Joseph's wife, Kate Wylde, who can secret about her environments in stealth mode rivaling the greatest Ninja or Blackfoot; or the twin children, Maddie and 'Kick', who have an inseparable bond and can anticipate each others words and actions, allowing them to act as a singular entity instead of a dual one; the entire family is gifted in a manner synonymous with Xavier's infamous X-Men.Needless to say, De Borde does not want to 'suspend' a reader's disbelief; he wants to smash it all to hell with the largest, most destructive weapon available. The plot leads from the Marshall's arrival in Portlandtown to Joseph's and Kate's special 'investigation' services (think James Bond)run out of their Bookstore in secret, to a botched robbery which introduces an insignificant player who turns out to be quite integral to the story, to magical guns, books, totem poles, zombies and...ah yes, the Hanged Man himself. The Hanged Man seems to have a knack for escaping death. He also seems connected to every major player in Portlandtown's story. Given that the majority of said players are the Wylde family, this may seem more plausible at first than it actually is. But considering that he was the Marshall's arch nemesis and that Joseph Wylde was once his partner in his younger, more misguided days (apparently before the Hanged Man ever became the cold sadistic killer his reputation proclaimed him to be) and you see how the 'suspension' of disbelief becomes downright not so plausible deniability. Then throw in that Kate's own run-in with the Hanged Man when he tracked Joseph down shortly after the birth of Maddie and Kick, but for some mysterious reason refused to kill her or the now maimed and blinded Joseph in the heat of his revenge, and you can see how story elements tend to stretch the imagination of even the most gullible to a decidedly harsh breaking point. Much of the elements are forced to degrees that puts De Borde's work in the 'absurd' category. That combined with a completely unbelievable plot make Portlandtown a less than stellar read, or even a less than manageable one.In addition, though allegedly a 'steampunk' novel, De Borde's work lacks all but the most simplest of steampunk elements, and it is clear that he is pretty much a total stranger to the genre, simply throwing in some steam powered machines here and there, calling it a night. It lacks the intricate nuanced atmosphere which marks the steampunk genre, and was probably an afterthought to cash in on the current steampunk trend. The only saving graces for this book are the fact that the story is JUST enjoyable enough to make it an average read, and the characterization, though unbelievable, is nuanced enough to be at least partially enjoyable. For that, De Borde's Portlandtown gets a three star rating from me. An average, decent read, but nothing to mark it as well written fiction.
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  • Alan
    January 1, 1970
    Yer ma ain't gonna like this one bit.—p.1Maybe not... but you might. I did. Its cowboy drawl drew me in from that very first sentence, spoken so regretfully by gravedigger Walter Peterson to a long-dead young lady in Astoria, Oregon. This one turned out to be a fun, light read, with a fair amount of local color for folks who live along the Columbia River. The Wylde family make for interesting protagonists, from Joseph, the blind man who perceives more clearly than his sighted compatriots, to his Yer ma ain't gonna like this one bit.—p.1Maybe not... but you might. I did. Its cowboy drawl drew me in from that very first sentence, spoken so regretfully by gravedigger Walter Peterson to a long-dead young lady in Astoria, Oregon. This one turned out to be a fun, light read, with a fair amount of local color for folks who live along the Columbia River. The Wylde family make for interesting protagonists, from Joseph, the blind man who perceives more clearly than his sighted compatriots, to his wife Kate, with her own ability to pass unseen, and the twins Kick and Maddie, with their unspoken rapport... they do have an advantage or two over ordinary folks, but not an overwhelming one.The city of Portland is a character in its own right here as well, with its flamboyant mayor and its annual Rain Festival (a tradition we might do well to emulate in the real world).Portlandtown is not a perfect novel, though. DeBorde includes everything but the kitchen sink in his steampunk voodoo zombie fantasy Western. From firestone, a mythical orange substance found in sedimentary rocks which fuels Portland's transition into the bustling seaport that Seattle would have been in our timeline... to the elements of voudoun and the unstoppable evil of the Hanged Man, to the uncanny abilities of the Wylde family... if DeBorde likes it, it goes in. Sometimes it's hard to tell which elements are historical and which are just made up. Bringing in so many different counterfactual elements leads to a certain amount of incoherence, that ends up undermining the story. But he is careful to escalate the craziness slowly, doling out revelations at a pace which, on balance, I found neither tedious nor overwhelming.The book also ends with a couple of hooks which make it plain that this is intended to be the first in a series... so although there is a fairly satisfying resolution to the story in the current volume, the ending is still a little disappointing.And I've said it before, and I'll say it again here... machine proofreading is not enough. Mistaken homophones appear throughout, like "roll" for rôle, "levy" instead of levée, and most risibly "plaintiff cry" (for plaintive cry). This sort of thing might not stand out so blatantly for everyone as it does for me, but I at least notice.Still and all, though, Portlandtown has a lot of vigor and some likeable, if oddly powerful, protagonists. It's really good for a first novel, and I'm willing to cut it a little slack.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I received this ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, St. Martin's Press! 3.5 stars. Portlandtown was a real surprise to me. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect and for some reason had gotten the idea that this was going to be steampunk, but it turns out to be a zombie western novel! While westerns and zombies are not really my "thing," I found myself enjoying not only the western aspect but also the dark, suspenseful atmosphere throughout the book I received this ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, St. Martin's Press! 3.5 stars. Portlandtown was a real surprise to me. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect and for some reason had gotten the idea that this was going to be steampunk, but it turns out to be a zombie western novel! While westerns and zombies are not really my "thing," I found myself enjoying not only the western aspect but also the dark, suspenseful atmosphere throughout the book and the fascinating supernatural elements. Even more impressive was the frequently creepy occurrences that Rob DeBorde was so good at executing - and this says a lot, coming from a self-confessed chicken when it comes to horror.The characters were compelling; the Wylde family particularly so. My favourite was Joseph, with his blindness and extraordinary senses. Although this is by no means a unique concept, it's done well and I found myself wanting to know more about him and his strange abilities. I was similarly interested in Kick and Maddie; it's a shame that there were so many characters that the time spent on the Wyldes (who are really the heart of the novel) is limited. I was also surprised at how little time was spent on Andre, considering his importance to the whole plot. Most importantly, though, the Hanged Man was a supremely effective villain; he is downright frightening, but there is enough backstory to ground his character and prevent him from being reduced to a cardboard zombie.If I had one complaint, it is the fact that the story spends too long on setting up the multiple events that led up to Henry Macke's involvement in the reawakening of the Hanged Man. There were also a number of scenes spent showing us the Wyldes' unusual family members and their lives at Portlandtown. The result was a very slow first half of the book, which tried my patience until the halfway point when it picks up dramatically and accelerates to an incredible climax.All in all, however, Portlandtown is an unusual and compelling read that has atmosphere in spades. The ending seems to hint at a sequel and I'd be quite interested in finding out what happens.
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  • Book Twirps
    January 1, 1970
    When I first heard of this book I knew I had to get my hands on it as it not only had zombies in it, but it takes place in Portland, OR, one of my favorite cities in the US. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started it, and even now, it’s tough to categorize. It’s part western, part history, part horror and part paranormal.The basic gist of the story is that a powerful criminal known as The Hanged Man is tracked down and brought down by Joseph Wylde and his U.S. Marshall father-in-law. The Han When I first heard of this book I knew I had to get my hands on it as it not only had zombies in it, but it takes place in Portland, OR, one of my favorite cities in the US. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started it, and even now, it’s tough to categorize. It’s part western, part history, part horror and part paranormal.The basic gist of the story is that a powerful criminal known as The Hanged Man is tracked down and brought down by Joseph Wylde and his U.S. Marshall father-in-law. The Hanged Man was very dangerous as he dealt in dark magic and possessed a supernatural revolver and a book of magic that aided him in his reign of terror. A few years later, someone gets their hands on the revolver and the book and resurrects the Hanged Man who comes back to life seeking revenge on Wylde and his family.Despite a clunky opening, the book really grabbed me. It had elements of a good old fashioned western, and the addition of the paranormal made it fresh, though I never felt like I was able to buy into it 100%. Maybe it was because I’m not a huge fan of westerns. There is plenty of action, and the writing flows pretty well. The zombies here aren’t born of a virus, and exist through dark magic (necromancy). For some reason these types of zombies don’t freak me out as much as the virus-caused, flesh-eating types, so this dampened the feeling of terror for me a bit.My biggest complaint was that I never felt like I really connected with any of the characters (and there are a lot of them). There were also quite a few loose threads that I felt were left hanging, though if this is a planned series, there is definitely room to explore these open points more. Still, it’s a fun read, and definitely one I would recommend to readers looking for a different sort of zombie and/or western novel.
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  • TheGeekyBlogger
    January 1, 1970
    Won from Library Thing Early ReviewersOverall Rating: 3.25Story Rating: 3.50Character Rating: 3.00First thought when finished: This was a fun mix of gritty historical western with a huge side of horror and thriller elements! Really hard to categorize!What I thought of the story: I thought the story was great! The thing I found most compelling was it was a unique spin of the "paying for the sins of your father (ancestors)" type of story. The paranormal element added that "umph" to making it liter Won from Library Thing Early ReviewersOverall Rating: 3.25Story Rating: 3.50Character Rating: 3.00First thought when finished: This was a fun mix of gritty historical western with a huge side of horror and thriller elements! Really hard to categorize!What I thought of the story: I thought the story was great! The thing I found most compelling was it was a unique spin of the "paying for the sins of your father (ancestors)" type of story. The paranormal element added that "umph" to making it literal. I was never quite sure where Portlandtown was heading and that happens to be my FAVORITE way to read a horror/thriller/mystery type of book. Portlandtown was so dead-on creepy that I seriously can't wait till the next book. That is the one caveat I will give you: this book does not tie everything up so I have to assume it is part of a series.What I thought of the characters: Here is where I thought the book was a bit of a let down. The multiple POVs, while I normally love that, were a bit choppy. More than once during the first few chapters, I had to check to see whose POV I was looking at a scene through. I think this also lead to me not feeling very connected to most of the characters. I did love Joseph and his family but there are so many more rich, interesting characters I wish we got to know better. This may have been because it was an advanced copy but it did hinder my reading experience a bit.Final thought: This was a solidly creepy read that has me hoping for a book 2! I want to know what happens and want to spend more time in Portlandtown.
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  • Burgoo
    January 1, 1970
    When the Wylde family invites their father the marshal to live with them, they have no idea that they will be targeted by necromancers & undead outlaws. Fortunately, it seems that the Wyldes have a few secrets of their own…Portlandtown is a fast paced supernatural western. DeBorde does a great job playing with the mixture of horror and western tropes. We have evil outlaws, cursed guns, books of black magic, Native American magic, and some zombies for the kids. The action picks up quickly, &a When the Wylde family invites their father the marshal to live with them, they have no idea that they will be targeted by necromancers & undead outlaws. Fortunately, it seems that the Wyldes have a few secrets of their own…Portlandtown is a fast paced supernatural western. DeBorde does a great job playing with the mixture of horror and western tropes. We have evil outlaws, cursed guns, books of black magic, Native American magic, and some zombies for the kids. The action picks up quickly, & builds towards a climatic confrontation that was hard to put down.If anything, the sheer number of characters and the pace of the action may work to this novel’s detriment. While all the characters are distinct, & have their own voices, I would have liked to see more development, particularly of our protagonists. Everyone seems to have some secrets, and only a few are revealed.Somewhat problematic is the characterization of two minor characters, Andre & Naira. They seem at times to be filling the trope of the Magical Negro & the Magical Native American. However, since this is clearly the first book of a series, with many unanswered questions, I’m willing to wait & see how DeBorde develops these characters in following volumes.Overall, I found Portlandtown to be an incredibly entertaining read. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the story.
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  • Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.I found the genre blending of this book to be really interesting. I've not read a zombie/Western book before, but I enjoyed Portlandtown. The Wyldes family was interesting, Kate was constantly trying to keep the twins out of trouble. The Hanged Man has a dark history with the Wylde family, especially Joseph. They were once partners but then Joseph saw the light and turned from crime. The Hanged Man wanted revenge, but was killed before I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.I found the genre blending of this book to be really interesting. I've not read a zombie/Western book before, but I enjoyed Portlandtown. The Wyldes family was interesting, Kate was constantly trying to keep the twins out of trouble. The Hanged Man has a dark history with the Wylde family, especially Joseph. They were once partners but then Joseph saw the light and turned from crime. The Hanged Man wanted revenge, but was killed before he succeeded. A young man discovers a book of powerful curses and strange things begin to happen. When it appears that the Hanged Man is alive and walking 11 years after he died, the Wyldes need to investigate and get to the bottom of things. Throw in a rain totem pole which can cause flooding, the mayor's secretary attempting to assassinate him, The Marshall(Kate's father) not telling the truth about the past, and zombie's springing out of the ground. Portlandtown seems headed for a disaster. The one thing I wasn't so crazy about was how the Hanged Man's gun reminded me a lot of the One Ring. It seemed able to twisted people's minds and cloud their judgement, and it was trying to be found by it's master. But given that it was cursed it made sense. A good fun read with some interesting characters. I look forward to the sequel.
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  • Unwisely
    January 1, 1970
    Saw this one recommended at a bookstore and was curious enough to pick it up. It seems like a worthy next book for people sad that the Cherie Priest Seattle steampunk books are over, because, hey, steampunk in Portland! (OK, maybe it's not technically steampunk, but it's gotta be close. It's certainly in the same family as Territory, whatever what was.)Anyway, there's magic, zombies, and the old west. It's a bit of set up, but quite readable. My one complaint is that it seems to be set up to be Saw this one recommended at a bookstore and was curious enough to pick it up. It seems like a worthy next book for people sad that the Cherie Priest Seattle steampunk books are over, because, hey, steampunk in Portland! (OK, maybe it's not technically steampunk, but it's gotta be close. It's certainly in the same family as Territory, whatever what was.)Anyway, there's magic, zombies, and the old west. It's a bit of set up, but quite readable. My one complaint is that it seems to be set up to be a series, but seems to be a one-off. Dammit. Don't these authors know that we depend on them to tell us how it all turns out???Ok, two, two complaints (and an almost-fanatical devotion to the pope!!). This book has some obnoxiously shoddy editing - spellcheck won't catch "plaintiff cries". Not in a courtroom. But there's only a few of them, at least, we're not into elbow-juggling territory yet. But, jeez, copyeditors have an important role. I know they cost money, but...I think it's worth it.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    When I first picked up this book I was fascinated to find a title about the Portland area in the late eighteen hundreds, even if it was fictitious. When I first started reading I quickly became immersed in the story and my curiosity grew the more I got to know about the characters. I loved that I was able to identify with different landmarks of Portland and Astoria. However mysterious the events in the story became I still felt that it was missing an integral part. I kept reading on and even tho When I first picked up this book I was fascinated to find a title about the Portland area in the late eighteen hundreds, even if it was fictitious. When I first started reading I quickly became immersed in the story and my curiosity grew the more I got to know about the characters. I loved that I was able to identify with different landmarks of Portland and Astoria. However mysterious the events in the story became I still felt that it was missing an integral part. I kept reading on and even though I enjoyed the book I was left with dissatisfaction with how the story ended. I expected more of a background with The Hanged Man and Joseph Wylde. It felt like the author could have gone into more of a story between the two of them. Another point of contention that I had was the Wylde's strange abilities. I understand with Joseph's blindness his gained abilities, but that doesn't really explain his wife's or children's. They are haphazardly explained throughout the novel, however a clear explanation is never given as to how they obtained them. I guess I just want something more then the excuse of, "it's a twin thing." I hope there is a sequel to this book, because it really left the reader hanging with too many loose ends.
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  • Harry
    January 1, 1970
    I really loved this book. Portlandtown is about, you guessed it, Portland, which makes it really fun and easy to visualize. It has a lot of character jumping, and switching between what's going on from one area to another, but as long as you can handle that little bit of confusion, it's terrific. It has tons of wonderful characters, and every member of the Wylde family, seemingly simple bookstore owners, has a certain special trait. It starts off normal enough, with everybody still on edge from I really loved this book. Portlandtown is about, you guessed it, Portland, which makes it really fun and easy to visualize. It has a lot of character jumping, and switching between what's going on from one area to another, but as long as you can handle that little bit of confusion, it's terrific. It has tons of wonderful characters, and every member of the Wylde family, seemingly simple bookstore owners, has a certain special trait. It starts off normal enough, with everybody still on edge from the death of the Hanged Man, a horrible villain with noose marks around his neck, rumored to have addled in dark magic and could not be stopped by bullet nor noose, until he was put down by the main character, Joseph Wylde, and Joseph's father-in-law with his own gun. But even in death, the Hanged Man brings more evil, as bandits dig up his grave to find his magical book, while his cursed gun begins driving another mad with power. There's also Zombies, Werewolves, and other horrible creatures appearing throughout the area. I don't want to spoil any more, but I would recommend it to anybody that likes Wild West style books, Mystery books, and Fantasy books, because it's a mix of all three.
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  • Jessica at Book Sake
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoy my zombies and I keep hoping for a mix of zombies and wild west that hits the nail on the head. The beginning started out well enough – I particularly love the interactions with the Wylde family. The twins are amusing and have a connection that we hear a hint of but never truly get to explore. Actually all of the Wyldes have a little something extra and while Joseph’s is mentioned a bit, it still seemed like his whole story wasn’t being told..It felt as if one story was written – the zom I enjoy my zombies and I keep hoping for a mix of zombies and wild west that hits the nail on the head. The beginning started out well enough – I particularly love the interactions with the Wylde family. The twins are amusing and have a connection that we hear a hint of but never truly get to explore. Actually all of the Wyldes have a little something extra and while Joseph’s is mentioned a bit, it still seemed like his whole story wasn’t being told..It felt as if one story was written – the zombie portion – and then the storm and the flooding problem were written later as an after thought and to give the town the Wyldes lived in some depth. It wasn’t seamless which left a lot of disconnect for me.There was also a lot that happened behind the scenes that the reader didn’t get to see, but was talked about afterwards. I would have liked to see more of the zombie rising than simply be told about it.ARC reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.Book Received: For free from publisher in exchange for an honest review
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  • Nathan Miller
    January 1, 1970
    We've all seen and read modern zombie stories. Here's one set in the 1880's. It's the first time I've seen two different zombie traditions spliced together. The author incorprated what I'm pretty sure are elements from "Lord of the Rings." I had a lot of fun spotting some of our favorite Portland fixtures, including the Rose Festival and Powell's Books under a different name. The characters were decently written and each had his or her own limitations that contributed to their difficulties deali We've all seen and read modern zombie stories. Here's one set in the 1880's. It's the first time I've seen two different zombie traditions spliced together. The author incorprated what I'm pretty sure are elements from "Lord of the Rings." I had a lot of fun spotting some of our favorite Portland fixtures, including the Rose Festival and Powell's Books under a different name. The characters were decently written and each had his or her own limitations that contributed to their difficulties dealing with events in the story.I think I might be getting better with the Omniscent POV, although I still find it mildly disorienting abruptly jumping from one character's head into another's. Even though the author left plenty of room for a sequel--which made the small handful of unresolved questions unproblematic--the proverbial dramatic showdown felt a little rushed.Even if you're not a zombie fan, I still think most Portlanders would appreciate the story, if only for the historical angle, with a slight hint of steampunk thrown in.
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  • Sean Mcginn
    January 1, 1970
    Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon Wyldes is a book that many fans of zombie novels will probably dislike. This is because the story is not a dark tale of zombies, but it is actually a rather light hearted story about cow boys and magic. The zombies in this story aren't even introduced until late in the story. The story instead draws you in with its interesting characters and its dark yet fantastical tales of magic. I'm going to avoid writing a summary here and simply say that the story drew me Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon Wyldes is a book that many fans of zombie novels will probably dislike. This is because the story is not a dark tale of zombies, but it is actually a rather light hearted story about cow boys and magic. The zombies in this story aren't even introduced until late in the story. The story instead draws you in with its interesting characters and its dark yet fantastical tales of magic. I'm going to avoid writing a summary here and simply say that the story drew me in and I liked it. The conclusion left me especially excited for a sequel. It would spoil to much to tell you why, but I will tell you that it hints at the characters becoming some kind of paranormal investigators and this excited me. This series has the potential to become a kind of Indiana Jones series with the characters hunting down paranormal objects and capturing them. That would be most interesting indeed. It is a rather quick read so I would suggest anyone pick it up and see if they like it.
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  • Tiffany
    January 1, 1970
    This was a solid & unique story, but it just didn't keep me completely engaged--partly because it was different from what I was expecting (which is my fault) and partly because the writing didn't draw me in. I thought it would involve lots of zombie action in a Western format, when in reality this was the least "zombie" of the zombie books I've read. With the exception of the primary character of the Hanged Man, who is only a sort-of zombie, no one else started crawling out of the grave unti This was a solid & unique story, but it just didn't keep me completely engaged--partly because it was different from what I was expecting (which is my fault) and partly because the writing didn't draw me in. I thought it would involve lots of zombie action in a Western format, when in reality this was the least "zombie" of the zombie books I've read. With the exception of the primary character of the Hanged Man, who is only a sort-of zombie, no one else started crawling out of the grave until about 3/4 way through. However, some other characters had some interesting supernatural-like abilities, and there were some necromancy, voodoo & Native American mythology elements, all of which made the story interesting. Any real zombie action didn't occur until the very end, but in fairness, the ending was decent-- though that had to do with the Hanged Man and everything else going on in the book, not the zombies.
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