Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hunting things that hunt you in the night...

Future vampires, sexy vampires, teen angst vampires. 

Now there’s even Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

The market these days is dripping in vampiric and supernatural literature. And while I’m never one to shirk the ghosts and goblins, especially around Halloween, I don’t really know the nitty gritty about most things that go bump in the night.

Not to worry.  Lee Collins’ debut novel The Dead of Winter takes care of that for us.

This dark fantasy novel set in the wild west follows the adventures of a team of “monster hunters.” What makes this band of heroes unique is the husband-and-wife team of Cora and Ben Oglesby. She’s a boozin’, gamblin’ lady with a hair-trigger temper. Ben does the book learnin’ and doesn’t talk much.

The story opens in the mining town of Leadville, Colorado, that has a problem with a pesky creature called a wendigo. After a few harrowing encounters, Cora regroups to her priest confidant in Denver to get the skinny of the baddie. In short order, she returns to dispose of the beastie and collect the bounty.

I can’t gush quite enough as to how well this book holds up. The vampires and gunslinging are all well and good, but where the light really breaks through the clouds is the attention to character detail. Collins subtly weaves backstory with plotlines and introduces characters whom are ripe for exploration in further installments.

This is another offering of Angry Robot Books who even as a smaller publisher of fantasy and science fiction excel at their craft. I’ve had the opportunity to read half a dozen titles, and they only get better.
The Dead of Winter is scheduled for an October 30 release.  Just in time to scare the socks off you.

(Originally published in The Lock Haven Express as Books with your Barista, 10/25/12)

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