Tucker, Fix and Bodie are wanted men—rustlers, thieves, killers—hiding out in Mexico. Low on money and nowhere to go, the three gunslingers are hired to protect a small village by Pilar, who has disguised herself as a boy. The church in the village, Santa Tomas, which is now called Santa Sangre due to the massive bloodshed, has been taken over by werewolves and they are holding the villagers as a food source. Pilar needs the gunslingers to get the silver from the church so it can be melted down for bullets, and then they can kill the werewolves.
I have to say, I really like the trend combining horror with Westerns and THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE increases my confidence in this surprisingly popular sub-genre. Red’s story is well-written and moves at a very good pace—I felt as though I were reading a novella, it went so quick. Character development is excellent with real depth to all of the main ones, including Mosca, the leader of the werewolves. I could feel Tucker’s conflicting emotions. The gunslingers have committed many crimes over the years, but are they really bad men? I didn’t necessarily think so. Pilar is a strong and positive female character, following her duty to her people and her faith. There is some sexual content (for the squeamish) but it is in context with the story and the time. The origin story of the werewolves is brutal and heartbreaking and almost makes you feel sorry for them—almost. I thoroughly enjoyed THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE with its flawed heroes and the savagery of the werewolves. If you have yet to read a horror Western, this is a good book to start with.