Review: COWBOYS & VAMPIRES (Venom Valley, #1) by Hank Edwards

Cowboys & Vampires CoverTitle: Cowboys & Vampires (Venom Valley, #1)
Author: Hank Edwards
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Pages: 107
ISBN #: 978-1-925031-04-1

Disclaimer: ARC received from Wilde City Press for the purpose of an honest review.

From WildeCity.com

In the frontier town of Belkin’s Pass, as a vampire quietly feeds on the local saloon girls and their customers, a tragedy teaches resident Josh Stanton he has the ability to raise the dead. Knowing he is now a wanted man, Josh flees into the arid plains of Venom Valley. Pursued by Dex, the town deputy and Josh’s best friend, the two realize their friendship is truly something deeper, and Dex has to decide if he’s a man of the law, or a man in love. The vampire, drawn by Josh’s power, circles ever closer, gathering his forces against them.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! UUUGGGHHHHH!!! *stomps* *grumbles* *stomps again*

Ok… so… let’s just say that this story ends on a cliffhanger!!!!

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we??

The title and the description of this got me. It sounded right up my alley. Cowboys AND Vampires??? Yes, please, and thank you! It ended up being much darker than I usually care for, but the storylines were good, and I made it past the “unappealing” parts by skimming through the sentences with the words ‘maggots’ and ‘open holes’ in them. This is NOT a romanticized tale of redeemable vamps and the cowboys who love them. No… these creatures rip out throats and take over towns.

Josh is a relative outsider in Belkin’s Pass, abandoned as a child under questionable circumstances and raised by one of their own. Dex is one of the local deputies, and has been harboring a secret love for Josh for years. The story picks up from Josh’s POV after finding his beloved caretaker in an “undead” state. (And she wasn’t the first he had an encounter with.) The history that Josh has with supernatural elements is discovered in bits throughout the story, and is fascinating.

Unfortunately, the story is broken up a little more than I would have liked. While the two storylines are related, and everything comes together towards the end, I didn’t feel the plotline progressed at the same speed. It left me definitely more interested in one side than the other for much of the book. I was actually more interested in what was (I think) intended to be the side story.

In the town, as in many stereotypical western towns, the local saloon/brothel was situated right down the street from the Sheriff’s place. I was definitely more wrapped up in the appearance of Balthazar, the vampire intent on taking over the town, and the girls at the saloon. Glory, one of the working girls, has a brilliant tie to the supernatural world, herself. Her partial Apache ancestry, and the gift I’m supposing has some history there, is her saving grace time and time again. I would have LOVED to know more about Ohanzee, her spirit protector.

While Josh was on the run for apparent murders, and trying to find out exactly what was happening, and Dex was collecting evidence and trying to find Josh, the Glory was up to her petticoats in vampires. As interesting as the storylines both were, Josh and Dex’s part of things seemed to be, while more gruesome, slower to come together. Having said that, towards the end, things meet up and the pacing is much more consistant. The two men finally have the courage and the freedom to start their relationship, we learn more about Josh’s abilities, and Glory seems to come into her own a bit.

Then… right at the end… right when STUFF HAPPENS THAT MAKES YOU GASP AND ANXIOUSLY TURN THE NEXT PAGE (or scroll, in my case)… BOOM!!!! End of book. WHAT????? Yeah, I was NOT a happy camper. Obviously this is book one, there are two more books scheduled to be released in this series later this year. It’s short, and I should have been prepared, but I wasn’t. And now ______________ is with _____________, and how does _____________ do ______________, and how did _______________ end up with _____________??? I have SO MANY QUESTIONS!!! Another quick pet peeve of mine, unnecessary repetition of information, caused more than one pause in the reading. Hopefully this gets streamlined in future installments.

This story took a while for me to really get into, but I’m glad I gave it a shot. Not my usual fare, but the elements are definitely there to build a strong series.

JenniferGraphic

EmoRating3_Smile_2

This is the first in the Venom Valley series. The second book in the series, STAKES & SPURS is due out in mid 2013, while the finale of the Venom Valley trilogy, BLOOD & STONE, is due out late 2013.

AUTHOR BIO & LINKS:

Hank Edwards is a curious mix of practical realist and feral dreamer. He is a fan of absurd comedy, cases in point, the sizzling and hilarious Charlie Heggensford Fluffers, Inc. Series, and Plus Ones, his rom-com, as well as mystery and suspense such as his Up to Trouble series. His love of chills and thrills prompted him to create the Venom Valley series, now available from Wilde City Press. No matter what genre he is dabbling in, however, Hank tries to keep things steamy and heartfelt. He was born and still lives in a northwest suburb of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan, where he shares a home with his partner of over 17 years and their two cats, who hope you buy lots of his books so they can upgrade their kitty condo. Like him on Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/hankedwardsbooks> or <http://www.facebook.com/venomvalleyseries> ) and follow him on Twitter (@hanksbooks) to become a true “Hankie.”

4 Comments

  1. Ping from Hank Edwards – Cowboys & Vampires – Books Make Me Happy Reviews | Wilde City Press Reviews:

    […] Jennifer from Books Make Me Happy Reviews gave Cowboys & Vampires 3 stars. Check out her full review HERE. […]

  2. Ping from Page not found | Books Make Me Happy:

    […] Review: COWBOYS & VAMPIRES (Venom Valley, #1) by Hank Edwards […]

  3. Comment by togainunochi:

    I love it cliff hanger and all

  4. Ping from Q&A with Hank Edwards | Books Make Me Happy:

    […] couple of weeks ago, I posted a review of VAMPIRES & COWBOYS, by Hank Edwards. Today, Hank’s got a new release (non-paranormal, ROUGHED UP) and I thought […]

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