The Blood Rider (2007) – By Nic Brown

 "The Blood Rider" is part of a planned series by author Mark Tarrant called "Blood and Spurs". It follows Ezekiel Carson, once a preacher, whose whole family is slain by bandits while journeying west in the 1840’s. Mortally wounded himself, Ezekiel is found by one of the undead, a vampire, who gives him his chance for revenge but at a terrible price. Twenty years later, Ezekiel is the man some call the Blood Rider. Now a vampire himself, Ezekiel wanders the old west, feeding on the blood of bandits and outlaws but finding little satisfaction in his unending life.

Ezekiel’s path is changed when he meets a young school teacher from New York named William Hamilton. After his brother, a preacher in a small mining town in New Mexico, disappears, William seeks out the legendary Blood Rider for help. Now the two set out to discover the truth about what happened to William’s brother and the dark secret behind the mine’s success.

William and Ezekiel both learn and grow from one another during the course of the story. However, it is Ezekiel’s fallen man of God that is the book’s main focus. Ezekiel must deal with his place in this world and his fears about what awaits him in the next. It is William who helps him to discover that maybe there should be more to his existence than simply feeding on the scum of society and fulfilling his carnal desires.

Tarrant’s "The Blood Rider" is a fun and easy book to read. The premise of the book is an interesting blend of genres, mixing the supernatural with the old west to form something unique; a horror/western. This mixture results in a fast paced adventure, with plenty of action to keep the reader turning the pages. While the character development is at times limited, this actually lends itself to the episodic nature of a series and provides Tarrant with the opportunity to flush the characters out over a broader canvas than one book could paint. So if you’re in the mood for some old west adventure with a supernatural twist, check out Mark Tarrant’s "The Blood Rider" the first book in his "Blood and Spurs" series.  

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