Cora and her husband hunt things - things that shouldn't exist. When the marshal of Leadville, Colorado, comes across a pair of mysterious deaths, he turns to Cora to find the creature responsible, but if Cora is to overcome the unnatural tide threatening to consume the small town, she must first confront her own tragic past as well as her present. (from Goodreads)
So apparently I liked westerns but only if there’s vampires or zombies or some sort of fantastical element to them. Which is great, because that all’s in The Dead of Winter, the first Cora Oglesby book!
Cora Oglesby, the heroine, is not exactly a likable character. She’s brash and headstrong and kinda stupid for someone who’s been hunting undead creatures of the night for almost 20 years. She’s also suffering from a mix of PTSD and delusions/hallucinations, so she’s not got the most trustworthy of POVs, either.
Despite all that– or maybe because of it!– I still very much enjoyed following Cora around watching her kick vampire butt. I didn’t think I was that emotionally connected to her, though, until the big reveal/plot twist kinda thing late in the book. It really knocks Cora for a loop, and to my surprise I almost started crying for her. So I guess I was more connected to her than I thought!
Which is a good thing, because Cora-the-character is really what glues this book together. There’s a weird pacing problem, or like a plot hiccup or something. The first third of the book is spent on a baddie that gets taken care of and is never seen again; the rest of it is spent chasing around some vampires. It felt very much like a false start.
It also felt like a pilot episode for a new TV show. You know how they always try to shove as much plot and characters into an hour or two, both to set things up for the rest of the series and to get you hooked so you’ll keep watching? That’s how The Dead of Winter felt to me. I didn’t much mind it, except for that uncomfortably short first act, and I do very much want to read the sequel– it worked!
Read: December 23-25, 2013
I read in another review that the way Cora handles/shoots her gun is totally inaccurate (she closes an eye to “aim better”). I didn’t notice that, personally, but I can see how it’d annoy people who do know about guns. And it doesn’t speak very well for the author’s research, either. Ugh.