by Patrick Welch
Westchester Station is a book no author should allow to be published early in their career. It's not so much a matter of setting the bar too high, more one of setting the bar in another dimension. Many of the scenes read like they were left under Patrick Welch's pillow by the writing fairy. Which is altogether fitting as the book's main character, Westchester Station, is an intertimensional train station, a destination in itself for many and a transfer point for some... Robert Winstead, for instance (he's the other main character).
Now saying the setting is a character may seem a bit odd, but this is that kind of book. I've heard people debate whether Westchester Station is a novel or a series of connected short stories. Does it have to be one or the other? Leave it be--it is what it is, and it works. So there.
Plot? You want the plot? Okay, if you must. Robert Winstead is trying to get to Schenectady when a blizzard hit Chicago and closes the airport. A search for alternate transportation leads him to Westchester Station, where they insist he really wants to go to Albany. Why anyone would want to go either place is beyond me but hey, that's another story. Anyway... while Mr. Winstead waiting for the train he wanders around, killing time.
Time proves to already be dead... or perhaps, overly alive. Westchester Station is home base and-or a stopping-off point for an assortment of legends and archetypes. Or it's a shifting set of gateways between alternate realities. Or its a catchbasin for memes. All of the above. None of the above. Chose one--incorrect guesses will be penalised.
As you might have guessed, Westchester Station is a hard work to describe, one that has to be read to be believed--or disbelieved. Giving details could ruin the experience of reading, and such is not the purpose of reviews. As for the purpose of Westchester Station? Well, this reader found it entertaining, and will admit it provoked the occasional thought. It's recommended for those who don't insist on books dripping with blood or filled with car chases--not that there's anything wrong with that...