Winner of the 2014 National Indie Excellence Award for Best Horror Novel.
No one ever disputed that the deserts of the American West were treacherous for the wandering man. Hot and desolate conditions give a home to many dangerous creatures, including one elusive beast which no traveler had ever laid eyes upon until the night Drake Byrne passed through with his family. Their encounter becomes a gruesome attack that rips the Byrnes apart, expected never to reunite.
Now, five years later, Drake's search finally comes to an end when he stumbles upon the unique town of Dillmore Valley. Hidden in the hills, the walls that protect the populace - and its secrets - quickly become their prison when the cunning creature that has been shadowing Drake terrorizes the town and feeds on the blood of anything that poses a threat.
©2012 Michael Hebler (P)2014 Michael Hebler
When I first started this book, my only thought was: how will a book that is a mash-up of horror and western work? The answer - not bad at all. While many of the tropes of both genres are present (western: stranger rolling into town, action centered on a brothel; horror: evil deadly creature stalking unsuspecting prey), the combination makes them seem fresher than they would otherwise. The story has enough twists and surprises that, once you get into the story, you'll find it keeps your interest and moves things forward at a steady pace.
If I could use 1/2-star ratings, I'd give it 3-1/2 stars for story and 2-1/2 for performance though. As I rule, I am always wary of an author reading his own work (not everyone can be brilliant twice over, you know). While the author is not monotone, he uses some tricks to make the different voices stand out that could be difficult at times. Overall, though, this book is definitely worth the listen.
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