What could be better than a Wild West thriller? Throw
in vampires, amazing steampunk gadgets, a vast set of
characters drawn from both history and classic literature,
some sizzling forbidden romance, and you get BLOOD RIDERS by
Michael P. Spradlin. BLOOD RIDERS is unique; I have never
before delved into a story with a mish-mash
of genres that blended well into such an enjoyable novel.
The author effortlessly blends genres of the Wild
West, paranormal, steampunk, and action-adventure into a
book that is hard to put down and made me stay up late at
night. The end result is a fine blend of literary
ingredients that makes BLOOD RIDERS a delicious dish of a
Our hero is Captain Jonas Hollister of the U.S.
Calvary, who is the only survivor and witness to the
slaughter of his soldiers in Wyoming territory. Hollister
claims that the attack came from inhuman, blood-drinking
creatures, but his commanding officers believe it was a
Sioux massacre. Captain Hollister is blamed for the deaths
of his troop and thrown into Fort Leavenworth prison. After
years of imprisonment, Hollister is given an offer of
release, a full pardon, and re-instatement into a special
detail of the U.S. Secret Service in order to hunt down and
kill the creatures that are suspected of other attacks
across the states.
Hollister agrees on his own terms, with the inclusion
of the release of a prisoner named Chee, who has incredible
hand-to-hand and shooting skills. Chee will prove to be one
of the stand-out characters in a book filled with memorable
ones. He is multiracial, therefore having many cultures to
draw from and a figure that is stalwart and imposing in both
his physicality and beliefs and a character that I would
love to learn more about.
Although the story is a thrilling romp into an
interesting world, it is the characters that make this book
pure reading gold. As I mentioned earlier, there are
appearances by a cast of charming historical and literary
characters mixed in with the fictional characters of BLOOD
RIDERS. Pinkerton, a spy and the founder of the famous
detective and security agency, springs Hollister out of
prison and sets him up with unlimited resources in order to
hunt down the evil vampires, or Archaics, as the author dubs
them. This allows Spradlin the ability to deviate from the
conventional myth of vampires.
There are visits from other characters such as Van
Helsing, Oliver Winchester, known for his firearms, and
Spradlin's original character of Monkey Pete, a renaissance
man who aids Hollister and Chee in their adventures.
Hollister himself is a strong man: stubborn, manly, and
sarcastic. He is the perfect old west hero. Hollister sparks
a forbidden romance with Shaniah, an Archaic who starts off
stiff and slowly begins to show more emotion and humanity.
If not for the romance, this book might be too full of
testosterone for the average female reader. With a surprise
ending, I am left hoping there will be a continuation to
this fun and exhilarating story!
The Western Territories, 1880. For four years,Civil War
veteran and former U.S. Cavalry Captain Jonas P. Hollister
has been rotting in a prison cell at Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas. His crime: lying about the loss of eleven soldiers
under his command . . . who he claims were slaughtered by a
band of nonhuman, blood-drinking demons.
But now a famous visitor, the detective Allan Pinkerton, has
arrived with an order for Hollister's release. The brutal
murder of a group of Colorado miners in a fashion
frighteningly similar to the deaths of Hollister's men has
leant new credence to his wild tale. And suddenly Jonas
Hollister finds himself on a quest both dangerous and
dark—joining forces with Pinkerton, the gunsmith Oliver
Winchester, an ex-fellow prisoner, a woman of mystery, and a
foreigner named Abraham Van Helsing, who knows many things
about the monsters of the night—and riding hell for leather
toward an epic confrontation . . . with the undead.