The Dead Of Winter by Lee Collins. Book review

THE DEAD OF WINTER by Lee Collins

Angry Robot, p/b, £8.99/ebook, £5.49, 

http://angryrobotbooks.com/

Reviewed by David Brzeski

The cover blurb describes this book as “True Grit meets True Blood”, which is pretty close. There are no good vampires fighting for their rights to live in peace among humans here though. There aren’t even any bad vampires pretending to be good. The only real similarity with ‘True Blood’ is that the existence of vampires and other supernatural beasties does seem to be fairly commonly accepted knowledge.

Cora Oglesby and her husband Ben are supernatural bounty hunters. They travel from town to town ridding the local populaces of any supernatural threats… for a price. Cora can out-fight, out-gun and out-drink any man. Ben would rather read a good book. Along the way to deal with their latest job, they meet the English occult scholar James Townsend, who later offers them a second commission, involving a nest of vampires in a nearby mine.

Cora comes over a bit like Calmity Jane, from the TV show, ‘Deadwood’, albeit somewhat cleaner and not quite so drunk. This makes for an interesting contrast with James, who is more knowledgable, but with no real hands-on experience in fighting monsters. Cora soon sorts that out for him. The relationship between Cora and her bookish husband, Ben is nicely handled. The author cleverly slips in clues regarding one major plot element, but it still took me a little while to get suspicious that something was not quite right, and I didn’t see the actual denoument coming.

Lee Collins captures the feel of the period pretty well and the characters are well-rounded. I will certainly be picking up the next book in the series.