Ginger Nuts of Horror
BY GAVIN KENDALL
A tale of three gunslingers who hear of a small town church full of silver, the 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 lead characters of the novel Tucker, Bodie and Fix are classic examples of your usual hard-drinking, tobacco chewing, guns for hire. On the run from the bounty looming on their heads, they are constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the law.
When they're approached by a young peasant girl named Pilar, who begs them for their help whose village has been pillaged by 'Men Who Walk Like Wolves'. With the promise of all the silver from the village's church as a reward, the unspoken leader of the gang 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, with 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 there simply to push the story along. Some of the extended back stories were somewhat superfluous, however, I would have liked to have had the old drunk's backstory explored a little further. (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 survivors of the village? 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 perfectly.
Having said that the brutality toward women within the pages of this book went beyond the limits of acceptability for this reader. 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.
They’re hired guns. The best at what they do. They’ve left bodies in their wake across the West. But this job is different. It’ll take all their skill and courage. And very special bullets. Because their targets this time won’t be shooting back. They’ll fight back with ripping claws, tearing fangs and animal cunning. They’re werewolves. A pack of bloodthirsty wolfmen have taken over a small Mexican village, and the gunmen are the villagers’ last hope. The light of the full moon will reveal the deadliest showdown the West has ever seen—three men with six-shooters facing off against snarling, inhuman monsters.