cover image The Guns of Santa Sangre

The Guns of Santa Sangre

Eric Red. Samhain (www.samhainpublishing.com), $14 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1

Hollywood veteran Red has a respectable track record in horror and suspense films (Near Dark, The Hitcher), but this novel is a horrific misfire. When werewolves take over a dusty Mexican town, the virginal Pilar disguises herself as a man and flees to recruit outlaws who can slay the monsters. Led by the battered Tucker, whose sympathetic portrayal is undercut by his dismissal of Pilar as “the simple Mexican” and “the peasant,” the trio of gunmen must resist the twin temptations of the town’s stash of silver and the werewolf leader’s offer of immortality. Tucker stops his companions from raping Pilar; naturally she sees him as the “hero” she’s been saving herself for. The story reads like a screenplay summary, with the narrative beats dropping at painfully predictable intervals. Fans of late-night horror flicks may relish the concept of cowboys versus werewolves, but the fight scenes are too murky to be enjoyable, and the rest feels rote. (Nov.)