Michael P. Spradlin has transformed the vampire legend into a first-rate "shoot-em-up" western in his wild adventure, "Blood Riders." (Harper Voyager/HarperCollins, 388 pages)
Former U.S. Cavalry Captain Jonas P. Hollister is rotting in Leavenworth Prison following his court-martial.
Years earlier, Capt. Hollister was sent to investigate what was thought to be an Indian ambush on settlers but was an attack of mysterious "blood devils" - vampires.
As the only survivor of this raid, Hollister is convicted of lying to his superiors and sentenced to prison. When another attack by these mysterious creatures wipes out a group of miners in Colorado, save for the son of a prominent senator, the federal government steps in to investigate these horrific crimes by sending their top federal agent - Allen Pinkerton.
Pinkerton offers Hollister a pardon and promotion if he will stop these deadly predators. With advice from legendary vampire hunter, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, Hollister and his fellow former prisoner, Chee, and a massive canine, Dog, embark on a wild western vampire hunt.
While on the trail of the marauding demons, Hollister is bewitched by the beautiful Shaniah, a woman cloaked in mystery who joins them in their hunt for the evil vampire Malachi and his minions.
It may seem strange to place vampires in the Old West. But given that the lore of Western frontier is filled with stories of ruthless cattle barons and unscrupulous businessmen who waged war on helpless homesteaders, perhaps the blood thirsty vampire was right at home in that violent land.
Local readers may be interested to know that the author lives in Michigan.