Review: The Dead of Winter

By Lee Collins

Angry Robot, out now

Got a problem with the supernatural in the Old West? You need help from Cora Oglesby and her husband Ben. But who do they turn to when they need help themselves?

The first of Lee Collins’ novels is promoted as “True Grit meets True Blood”, and whoever came up with that one deserves a pay rise. It nails the tone perfectly: the reality of life in the west is counterpointed with the fantasy horror of vampires, and other members of the undead. Many of the cliché characters from the Westerns (the whore, the madam, the barman, the sheriff) are present and correct – because those sorts of people were there in real life. It’s what they do and how they react that makes this such an interesting read.

And of course there’s much more to it than just a simple vampire hunt with a different background. Astute readers will pick up hints of some of the later revelations earlier on, and you may well be tempted to go back and reread the earlier chapters once you’ve finished the book.

Although the ending feels a little rushed – a big confrontation is set up, but is over almost before you realise it – there are more than enough loose ends to make you want to pick up the next novel as soon as it’s out next year.

Verdict: A bloody good read.  7/10

Paul Simpson

 
Click here to order The Dead of Winter from Amazon.co.uk

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