Elizabeth Einspanier asked me to review her novel "Sheep's Clothing". She describes it as a "Weird Western" because it takes place in the Wild West and involves the supernatural. I will examine Plot, Characters, and Polish before assigning a grade.
A vampire hunter comes to the frontier town of Salvation chasing a Vampire Lord and he recruits the local doctor to finish the job.
I like this plot because it is straightforward, compelling and concise. It's like "this is the enemy, this is what we need to do to kill him, let's do it." It is neither too long with filler, stretches or otherwise unnecessary items, nor is it too short with unreasonable breaks for either side or idiot balls to facilitate action. Nor are there info dumps. Wolf explained as necessary, which informs his character as practical.
Miss.Einspanier straight away gets into the meat of the matter. The introduction scene is Doc Meadows pulling a piece of silver out of Wolf and remarking on the oddness of the injury and of his latest patient. By the start of the next day, they are a hero-sidekick pair.
There's a good deal of action here. Those seeking fight scenes will not be disappointed. However, the more important part is the investigation. Wolf and Meadow are similar to detectives in this regard because they have to discover Russeau's lairs before they can be destroyed.
Another thing I like is the discarding of the You Have to Believe Me trope. Doc Meadows is suitably skeptical of vampires and such, but after seeing the peculiar wound in Wolf and watching Russeau -minus glamor he is willing to listen. Other people in town are similar. There's none of that desperate straw pulling I've seen in other stories (novel and otherwise).
As for flaws I have only one and it is a minor one. I thought the fight against the second vampire minion was anti-climatic given her identity. Otherwise, no complaints.
Ending is fantastic. Conflict resolved, character development, all that good stuff.
This story is classic vampire hunting matched with Wild West Vigilantism. The word for that is "Cool!"
There is little time at the start to develop the protagonist (the doctor, not the hunter) and none of it is spent making him "relatable". It is a trick to make a first person narrator a fully fleshed character and it is even more impressive when they are a supporting protagonist. It is easy to tell and quick to catch that Nathaniel Meadows is a Gentleman and Scholar, a Cowardly Lion, and all around a Nice Guy.
Crowie Wolf is an excellent hero. He's gruff and foul mouthed but not a jerkass. He's full of heroic spirit but not a blindingly bright boy scout in a cape. It's difficult to hit that sweet spot. Another point I like about him is that he is an educated man but in a separate way from the doctor. You could say he has a Bachelor Degree in Supernatural Hunting and Lore.
Russeau is an old school Dracula style vampire; an evil blood sucking demon. No sparkling! He can look human but without his glamour it is clear to anyone that he's only pretending the part.
I found one thing misspelled but I forgot what it was it was because it was just the one. Nothing wrong in terms of grammar.
I liked the use of the first person narration. It's not self-conscious or obstructive.
Trickster Eric Novels gives "Sheep's Clothing" an A+
Click here for the next review request: "Disconnect"
Click here for the previous review request: "Kindling Ashes"