Back in May I reviewed The Guns Of Santa Sangre giving it a solid 4 stars. ‘Guns’ was a fast paced, action packed tale of three outlaw gunfighters battling to save a town from werewolves. It was a formula that worked incredibly well and screamed for a sequel. Set one month after the events of ‘Guns’ we meet up once again with Tucker, Fix and Bodie, who decide that robbing a Federale steam train loaded with silver bars will solve all their financial woes. Shame they didn’t take the upcoming full moon into account!
Continuing with the same fast, punchy writing style of the first book, although some may question its occasional use of convenient plotting, ‘Wolves’ rattles along at a fantastic pace. ‘Wolves’ delivers everything you would want from a sequel…bigger set pieces, more werewolves, more gore and violence and a LOT more bullets. Most of the characters on the page are fodder, there to be torn apart and devoured. We still don’t really know too much about the three gunslingers, just enough to care about them and for me that works fine. One character that does get a lot of back story is the lead Werewolf, she is the sister of the villain of ‘Guns’ and wants revenge (not an entirely unique premise but it works well in this story). With a series of flashbacks we follow her story from being a young child right up to present day, this was a great idea, that really adds flesh to the mythology the author is building. It’s also in one of these flashbacks that I had my only real problem with the book. As with ‘Guns’, Red does not pull away from violence towards women, I won’t spoil the scene but I could have done without it being so descriptive. I understand that one of the characters was on the cusp between man/animal but for me it was too much, for me it’s sometime more powerful what we don’t read. Whilst I’m pointing at negatives, I also found the constant references to ‘heaving bosoms’ and anther parts of the female anatomy a little tiresome. I get that this era was somewhat misogynistic but it felt like overkill. To be fair to Red there is a strong female character in ‘Wolves’. Pilar is a woman more than capable of taking care of herself and digging the trio of gunslingers out of trouble on more than one occasion.
Everything about this story is incredibly cinematic, I’d be stunned if there wasn’t a movie adaption. The book is essentially one long action packed battle between Federales and werewolves on a speeding train with our heroes dropped right in the middle of it all. How can that not be fun? I would thoroughly recommend you read ‘Guns’ prior to ‘Wolves’ but thanks to a brief summary of earlier events it’s not necessary. The gore and violence is kept at just the right level interspersed with some fantastic action sequences. ‘Wolves’ really is the stuff of the old classic westerns with the added brutality of werewolves thrown into the mix.
Wolves Of El Diablo is a well written, action packed, gore drenched, bullet ridden, runaway train of a tale.
Star Rating (out of 5): 4****
I can’t wait to get my teeth into the next sequel which is out in 2018 entitled The Claws Of Rio Muerta