A tale of three gunslingers who hear of a small town church full of silver, trouble is, between them and unlimited riches, a band of brutal werewolves!
Does this western/horror hybrid have teeth or is it shooting blanks?
‘Guns’ is a punchy, action packed novel that plays up to the old movie clichés of the rugged gunslinger. The novels leads Tucker, Bodie and Fix are classic examples of your usual hard-drinking, tobacco chewing, guns for hire. They have a bounty over their heads and are on the run. Constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the law they’re approached by a young peasant girl named Pilar who begs them for their help. Her village has been pillaged by ‘Men Who Walk Like Wolves’, with the promise of all the silver from the villages church as a reward, the trios unspoken leader, Tucker, agrees to go and help.
Moving from set piece to set piece at a fantastic pace, only slowing for an unnecessarily long passage where the gunslingers are travelling across the desert to the werewolf infested village , this is high-octane, gore filled entertainment. The first chapter sets the stall out perfectly! Consisting of a high-speed stage-coach chase across the desert, with howling werewolves in pursuit. It was so visual and had me hooked.
Characterisation of the three gunslingers is well written. Everyone else, bar the lead werewolf, Mosca and the old drunk with a werewolf history, are just there to push the story along. I didn’t really want endless back story, but I’d liked to of seen more about the drunk (How about a prequel Eric?) This is gunslinger v werewolves after all. Eric Red has given the reader just about enough to create a set of characters that you root for, or against.
The werewolves brutality is wince inducing, they have no limits to satisfy their blood lust. So can Tucker, Bodie and Fix save the villages survivors? These survivors are caged up and pulled out one by one like some macabre pick ‘n mix to be eaten or worse!
I say worse as this is where my one issue with this novel lies. I’m a horror fan, I have no objection to violence and gore if it’s deemed necessary to the plot, Eric Red has nailed the violence/gore ratio but what is in the book to degrees with which I found unacceptable was the brutality toward women. There was so much sexual violence it was uncomfortable for me as a reader, it took me out of the story at times sadly. The ‘meat puppet’ description is one of the most disgusting things I have read in a book for a long while!
Despite my criticism, which I know will put some people off, THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE is a fast paced, action packed, blood soaked novel that i’d thoroughly recommend.
Star Rating (out of 5): 4****
I can’t wait to read the upcoming sequel THE WOLVES OF EL DIABLO which is out in August through SST Publications.
I’d like to thank Paul at SST Publications for kindly sending me a copy of ‘GUNS’ to review.
GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE is out now and can be ordered directly from SST using the following link