Stakes & Spurs: Venom Valley Book Two by Hank Edwards ~ Book Review by PizzyGirl

StakesSpurs_cvr2-2Title: Stakes & Spurs: Venom Valley Book Two

Author: Hank Edwards

Publisher: Wilde City

Cover Artist: Wilde City Press

Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 08/21/2013

Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)

Genre: Action/Adventure, Gay Fiction, Historical, Horror, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Thriller

Blurb:

Dex Wells, former deputy of the prairie town of Belkin’s Pass, awakes to the sound of screaming. He is chained to the wall of a cave, prisoner of the powerful vampire Balthazar, who has turned many of the residents of Belkin’s Pass into vampires like him, and used most others as food. Balthazar keeps Dex as bait, hoping to lure Dex’s lover, Josh Stanton, into the caves and capture him. There is something different about Josh, Balthazar senses it, but what that difference is he can’t quite tell.

Josh Stanton can raise the dead. It’s a power he’s always had within him, and something he’s considered a curse. Now, however, he’s discovered that the risen dead can bite through vampire skin and bones. If he can just learn to control the power and, with it, the dead he’s resurrected, he might be able to save his lover, Dex, from Balthazar’s caves. But there’s still a bounty on Josh’s head for a murder he did not commit, and he ends up back in Belkin’s Pass with Glory, a half Indian, half white former saloon girl watched over by a Native American spirit. Together, they gather the few residents left alive and make a stand against the rampaging vampires and the wolves under their control.

The arrival of two members of the US Army, however, throws their careful plans into uncertainty as Josh is taken into custody. Can he convince the Army men the truth of their outrageous claims? And can Dex be saved before Balthazar turns him into a vampire as well?

My View:

This is a continuation of Book 1 and you need to read that one first in order to understand how things got to where they are in this one.

Venom Valley book 2 really brought home to me that this series is very much a trilogy. The first book introduced the characters and the world. It left me intrigued and full of questions needing answers. Book 2 picked up from where book 1 left off and answered many of my questions while still leaving some for book 3 to address. Book 2 was slower paced than the first because there was more set up happening for the big conflict which I imagine will come in book 3. This one was more of the meat of the story with all the background being given as well as the key players really being identified.

This series is an epic zombie/vampire story much like in the movies. The heroes are trapped with few resources while the bad guys run amok, replicating at a staggering pace. I am so caught up in this. Things really look hopeless and I just cannot imagine there being a positive ending. Hank Edwards has drawn me in and I am invested in the outcome. This story is so gruesome yet vivid. There is so much going on that I need to see resolved!

I do however have to admit that I think the love story angle would have been better left out of this series. Maybe book 3 will redeem my desire for Josh and Dex’s story, but with the little time they actually spent together in this one, the romance felt forced and not needed for the overall plot. I was so engrossed in the good vs. evil plot, that the romance felt in the way. It was kind of annoying and took time away from moving forward to catching the vamps. However, I am interested in seeing Glory get her man, even if she is not part of the main love interest.

Overall, I am really loving this thriller. It is full of mystery and action and vampires that are oh so bad! Will the good guys win? Or will the vamps take over the world? And will Josh be able to pull off his big plan? I need to know!

Links

Stakes & Spurs: Venom Valley Book Two on Goodreads
Wilde City
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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