THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE (2013) Book Review
Author: Eric Red
Publisher: Short, Scary Tales
Reviewed by: Michael Juvinall – Horror Patch
Hunched against the roof, the monster stands eight feet tall.
The werewolf is fully born and it wants meat.
The creature falls on the other man in the cell and tears his head and half his shoulder off the torso in a grisly wet splurge of chomped flesh with a whiplash crack of severed spine. It hungrily swallws the mouthful in one gulping bite.
This only whets its appetite.
The old man holds his sombrero in front of his face to shield himself from the tornado of gore and shorn flesh that explodes through the bars as the wolfman rips the convict’s carcass apart in its huge talons and teeth, chewing and swallowing, reveling with feral abandon in the bloodthirsty carnage. Gallons of blood blast over the ceiling and gush down the iron bars of the abattoir of a cell like shiny black paint, splashing the sombrero but the only thing the old man feels is regret that his beloved hat is ruined for it has been with him for as long as he can remember. – Excerpt
If you’re not already familiar with author/screenwriter/producer/director Eric Red, you should be. Red has been working in and out of the horror genre for nearly forty years. As a filmmaker, he has written the acclaimed screenplays for The Hitcher (1986), Near Dark (1987), Body Parts (1991) which he also directed, and Bad Moon (1996) which he directed as well.
As an acclaimed author, Red has written the horror novels Don’t Stand So Close (2012), It Waits Below (2014), and White Knuckle (2015). Now comes the first book in his “Men Who Walk Like Wolves” planned western-werewolf trilogy, The Guns of Santa Sangre (2013).
The Guns of Santa Sangre is set in the old west as we are introduced to three criminal gunslingers – Tucker, the leader of the gang, Fix, and Bodie. They’re hired guns and nobody’s better than these three. Killing is their business and business is good. They’re in Mexico on the run from Federales and bounty hunters for crimes committed in the states. The three gunslingers are approached by a young Mexican woman, Pilar, who wants to hire the three bandits to save her village.
The three gunslingers are her village’s last hope against a pack of bloodthirsty werewolves that some are over 500 years old. It will take all their skills and more than luck to defeat an army of bloodthirsty werewolves and save Pilar’s village from being ripped to shreds by the supernatural threat.
I must say that author Eric Red’s powers of description are beyond reproach in this first of three planned books on the “Men Who Walk Like Wolves.” Every werewolf kill is brought to gloriously bloody life with Red’s descriptive prowess. Each uber-violent mauling almost makes the reader feel they are drenched in blood, guts, and brain matter from the kill.
With every transformation from man into beast, the reader can almost feel the bones breaking & cracking and shifting into their new monstrous form. Muscles elongating and stretching into powerful wolf features and the pain of hair sprouting through every pore in their body.
Red did a fantastic job of researching the period. He seemed to get everything right from the locales to weaponry used to even wardrobe design…just like an experienced filmmaker would. Everything seemed completely authentic to me.
His narrative runs along at a brisk pace, keeping the reader engaged always, never stopping to weigh the story down with extraneous parts. It never seemed bloated to expand the storyline at all. He makes the most with what he gives us.
If I have any real critique of the novel, I would have to say it’s too concise. I would’ve liked to know more about the three gunslingers, Tucker, Bodie, and Fix and their backstory, but that might be coming in future novels.
For a supernatural horror novel, Eric Red’s western-werewolf tale is top notch in almost every way. I would love to see this optioned for film in the future. It’s a great brisk read that doesn’t weigh the reader down and is full of non-stop action and carnage at every turn. I know you’ve heard this all before but the cliché rings true for The Guns of Santa Sangre – Once I started the book, it picked up steam and I never wanted to put it down. I found myself sneaking away to read bits of it every chance I got. I’m so looking forward to Book 2!
4 ½ Pentagrams!
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