Thursday, January 09, 2014

Vampire Siege at Rio Muerto - John M. Whalen

There's been a surge in popularity for horror Westerns in recent years, and author John M. Whalen has come up with a good one in VAMPIRE SIEGE AT RIO MUERTO. The protagonist is bounty hunter Mordecai Slate, who makes his living tracking down outlaws who happen to be vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures.

Slate is hired by a wealthy rancher in New Mexico Territory to capture the vampire responsible for the death of the rancher's daughter. Slate manages to do that, but as he tries to return the prisoner to his employer, the vampire's brother and the rest of their gang are on Slate's trail. Then he runs into an unwanted complication in the form of a beautiful blonde with troubles of her own, and they all wind up stuck in the little settlement of Rio Verde, which has been renamed Rio Muerto because it's turning into a ghost town. By this time there's a small army of vampires after Slate, which leads up to an epic showdown.

Whalen has created a fine protagonist in Mordecai Slate, and his other characters are interesting, too. There's plenty of well-written action and considerable suspense. Whalen does a good job blending the Western and horror elements. One thing I found surprisingly effective is that there's not a lot of elaborate world-building to explain why vampires and other supernatural beings are roaming the Old West. They simply are, and people accept that, and that matter-of-fact attitude lends a hardboiled edge to the tale.

VAMPIRE SIEGE AT RIO MUERTO is a really entertaining novel. Horror fans should enjoy it, and if you're a Western reader who doesn't mind supernatural elements, you should definitely check it out as well.


Jack Badelaire said...

Just bought it. This should pair nicely with I Travel By Night, which you also recommended, and I enjoyed a great deal.

Neil Waring said...

Not much of a Vampire fan but this does sound like it could be a good read. Might just give it a try.

John M. Whalen said...

Thanks for the purchase, Jack. Hope you enjoy it.