Michael Hebler “Night of The Chupacabra” Review

Posted: May 4, 2014 in Reviews, Uncategorized
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Night of the Chupacabra cover

BOOK INFO

Publisher: Night After Night Publications

Length: 300 Pages

Submitted by the author for review

Night of the Chupacabra by Michael Hebler is the first book in a six novel series based on the mysterious cryptid known as the Chupacabra, a beast that is said to feast on the blood of goats and other livestock. The book focuses on Drake Byrne and his family as they head out west to San Francisco in search of a better life. Everything seems to be perfect for Drake at the start of the novel; he has a loving family and an exciting new adventure ahead of him. Then one night a mysterious creature ravages the camp in a fit of bloodlust and Drake loses everything. His family and friends are killed – with the exception of his wife, who fled the attack amidst the chaos – and Drake is left for dead while the camp burns around him.

Five years after the attack,  Drake is now hideously disfigured after his first encounter with the Chupacabra and finds himself in the town of Dillmore Valley, determined to locate his wife. Drake’s disfigurement  instantly puts him at odds with the residents of the town and quickly finds himself on the run after an incident at the town’s saloon convinces the town and its sheriff that he is a murderer. However, something far more sinister has arrived in Dillmore Valley and it will leave nothing but death and destruction in its wake.

Initially, I had my doubts about the Chupacabra being scary enough to drive the novel as it is usually reported as being rather small, but Hebler managed to tweak the mythology to make the creature downright terrifying. Hebler’s Chupacabra is about the size of a man with spikes that run from its head to its tail, red eyes and a stinger-like appendage that it uses to drink the blood of its victims. It is also extremely fast, smart and can heal itself which makes it a lethal predator throughout the novel.

I also loved the origin story Hebler created for the Chupacabra. Despite numerous reported sightings in real life, there is no real definitive explanation of exactly what it is or where it came from. This ambiguity allowed Hebler to create an intriguing background for the monster. I don’t want to spoil the answers outright for any potential readers, but Hebler weaves in Native American tradition to explain one component of its origin. The other part is one of the biggest twists in the novel and I can honestly say I didn’t see it coming! Drake’s earlier interactions with the monster in Dillmore Valley were a bit confusing, but after it is revealed what the Chupacabra is, it all makes sense and makes Drake’s struggle more complicated. I wish Hebler would have given more insight into these earlier interactions after the big reveal, but it is possible the issue could be explored in future novels.

Night of the Chupacabra is a thrilling horror and western mash-up that I found almost impossible to put down. Despite a few spots that were a little confusing, the novel is an action-packed read with a great cast of characters and plenty of surprising twists and should appeal to fans of many different genres. I am looking forward to checking out the other books in the series and it will be interesting to see where the series goes once it moves from the 1800s into the 20th century.

Rating: 3.5/5

Links

Michael Hebler’s official website

Purchase Night of the Chupacabra on Amazon

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