This first installment in the Venom Valley world is a genre bending, entertaining ride. It’s male/ male romance against the backdrop of old west meets vampire with a bit of necromancy thrown in. How could I NOT give it a try?
With the death of his adopted mother, Josh learns the hard way that he can raise the dead. And once they’re reanimated, only a shot to the head can put them back down. Unfortunately, a witness caught him putting a bullet in one of the zombies, turning him into a wanted man. Knowing no one will believe his story about a walking corpse, he goes on the run.
Dex is Josh’s best friend and the object of his fantasies. He’s also a lawman, and once that witness I told you about comes forward, he must scramble to find Josh to get answers. Dex adores his friend and has no idea that he shares the attraction. (Once they meet back up, however, nothing is left to the imagination.)
In the meantime, there’s a vampire plaguing the town of Belkin’s Pass and targeting the local brothel. He is intrigued by Josh and ends up pursuing him as well. (That leads us to a fabulous face off of vampires vs zombies… but I digress.) There’s a lot going on in a novella sized story, with at least three POVs, plenty of action, and sexual situations, both real and imagined.
I enjoyed the book overall. It was different. I liked the mishmash of genres that usually steer clear of each other. But I’ll admit that some of my enjoyment was in the slight campiness of it all. I liked the main characters, though I never felt like we got to know them deeply. I felt like Dex and Josh jumped in the sack really fast after years of never revealing their feelings to one another. And there is still a lot we don’t know… specifically about Josh’s past and side character Glory’s spirit lover.
There are multiple sort-of hypothetical sex scenes… kind of imagined sex scenarios in the characters’ heads. They would think about the dirty things they would do to each other –or wanted to do. One such scene would have been more than enough, IMO. The actual sex scenes were good and satisfying, though I was amused at how many different euphemisms I read for a… er, back channel.
Be warned: this story is not self-contained. There is a gnarly cliffhanger at the end. But the good news for folks who want to keep reading: this is a re-release of book one in the series… and book two has already been written. Bait will also be re-released under a new title, Stakes & Spurs, though I’m not sure on the date.
*Book provided by publisher for review
Cowboys & Vampiresby Hank EdwardsRelease Date: April 17, 2013Publisher: Wilde City