The Cowboy and the Vampire
Review: Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall craft a "darkly romantic" mystery in which a young cowboy falls in love with a young woman, one who may be able to trace her bloodline back to the beginning of time, in The Cowboy and the Vampire.
Six months earlier, New York City newspaper reporter Lizzie Vaughn traveled to Wyoming on assignment to write about Tucker, the last American cowboy. That she happened to be attracted to the man slightly complicated her "no long term relationship" status, but back in the city she's determined to move on. A new assignment to write about the vampire craze sweeping the city has her interviewing a very different sort of man, Julius, who introduces her to a ritual that absolutely terrifies her. Fearing for her life, and with no one else to turn to, she escapes to Tucker's ranch. But she has barely arrived before she's kidnapped and returned to the city … to lead a new life that has been predetermined for her centuries ago.
The Cowboy and the Vampire is a novel steeped in contrasts. The title suggests one — human versus vampire — but there are others: rich vs. poor, city vs. country, good vs. evil, ancient vs. modern, even male vs. female. The authors make the most of these contrasts, writing the book from three randomly alternating perspectives — male cowboy and female vampire in first person, vampire nation in third — and moving the setting back and forth between Wyoming and New York City, and towards the end, relocating the action to New Mexico. And while the cowboy/vampire narratives primarily serve as the romantic subplots — on their own, they're a bit self-indulgent, and work best when one character is out of their respective element, city-girl in the country fleeing vampires, human-boy in the city seeking them, and the like — it is the vampire nation plotline that holds this story together as a suspense novel, if also a light and somewhat playful one. The strong supporting cast to the three main characters is also noteworthy. There's an interesting, if overly moralistic, vampire origin backstory that forms the foundation of the plot and sets the stage for the showdown between the cowboy and the leader of the vampire nation. A little editing could have helped trim some of the excess from this novel, but overall, this is an entertaining, well-plotted supernatural mystery.
Acknowledgment: the authors provided a copy of The Cowboy and the Vampire for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Cowboy and the Vampire: Wyoming, New York City, New Mexico
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The Cowboy and the Vampire by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: October 2010
List Price: $14.95