Iron Dogs


Fiction - Horror
322 Pages
Reviewed on 06/07/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Richard L DeMoss for Readers' Favorite

Iron Dogs by Neil Chase is a western horror novel set in 1873 in the small town of Testament, New Mexico. The story opens in Testament with Father Ramon Bernal aiding a member of his parish and staying too long until the sun sets. The town has been taken over by an ancient evil that has decimated the place and left everyone in paralyzing fear. He makes it back to the mission, but knows the evil is coming for him and barricades himself inside the church to await his fate. The story shifts to a group of six hunted outlaws on the run from the Pinkertons and the US army in Texas. Led by Frank Hollister, the group is comprised of Cole Masters, Red Coogan, Virgil Morgan, Billy Cross, and Ivan Larianov, and they are being pursued after a botched bank job. An ambush of the pursuers temporarily stalls the pursuit, but Virgil is badly injured. Looking for a place to rest and regroup, they travel eight days across Texas, Arizona, and into New Mexico. Cole has been to Testament and has convinced them this is a good place to lay low for a while.

Before they get to the town, they must traverse a group of crazed, starving people in the hills above the town. When they finally get there, they find the town completely deserted and without water, being observed from the hills by a group of Apache Mescaleros. Chase then spins the rest of his story as the men slowly find out what has happened, and what they are up against. A creature, known as the Strigoi, has arisen and taken over the town. As they learn about it, the Strigoi hunts them and starts thinning their ranks. All in the space of one day, they must learn how to kill the creature before the sun sets, otherwise they will all be dead before morning. The tension mounts until the final showdown, just as the sun is setting, to determine whether good will prevail or evil will triumph.

Iron Dogs is one of the best horror novels I have ever read. Neil Chase masterfully unfolds his tale and keeps the reader riveted and eagerly awaiting for the story to further unfold. As the day progresses, he takes you into the past of each character and lets you know the trials and horrors each has faced, and how they all have come together at this moment in time. He lets you know what drives them, what their fears are, and why they are willing to stand together and fight a devil's spawn that they find out is virtually indestructible. The final confrontation leaves you breathless and you discover whether loyalty to one's friends or the destruction of the evil will win out. Iron Dogs is so well written and artfully crafted. Everything fits together and you are left wanting more. I look forward to hopefully reading the next novel by this talented author.

Sarah Stuart

Six men, Confederates outlawed for attempting to rob a train, bait their own trap for their pursuers before they set out across the desert towards San Francisco where a friend owes them a favour. Attacked by vagabonds in New Mexico, they take refuge in the small town of Testament, only to find it deserted but for a priest who has hanged himself in his own church. There is no water and no doctor to tend a wounded man. Is this the revenge of the Mescalero Apaches or the Devil himself? “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”, but will this sacrifice be enough?

Iron Dogs by Neil Chase is a horror story set in the Wild West around the time that Major General Sherman captured Atlanta for the Union Army and burned the city. “Around the time of the fall of Atlanta”, means Neil Chase opens with Cole Masters’ boyhood. All six of his major characters are firmly grounded in reality; they all have reasons to be the men they are – aggrieved, poor but covetous of riches, and cold-blooded killers. Knowing them, empathising with them, makes this paranormal horror story seem incredibly real. Only hours ahead of Pinkerton Bounty Hunters, with one of the group wounded by mysterious mountain dwellers out to kill them, they seek refuge in Testament, only to discover the townsfolk have fled, leaving a card game half-played in the saloon. Action-packed, fast-paced, and vividly descriptive, Iron Dogs is a book sure to give readers a thrill – or nightmares!

Divine Zape

Iron Dogs by Neil Chase is a chilling horror tale with elements of a Western story. Iron Dogs introduces readers to six outlaws on the run. They arrive in a deserted town in New Mexico, a place with no water and no life. But they soon discover that there is an evil in this place that has caused the people who once lived here to desert the town. It is something deadlier than the pursuers they are running away from, an evil that can only be killed in one way — it can only be harmed while it feeds on the living. Must the group sacrifice one of their own if they want the others to live? But who will be ready to make such a sacrifice?

Neil Chase has the gift of plot and character, and while placing readers in an arid setting, the author creates characters that are rich — emotionally and psychologically. The horror grips the reader’s heart powerfully and they can relate to the characters experiencing the worst danger in their lives. The conflict is strong and the danger facing the group weakens the bonds of friendship and unravels the true nature of the characters. The author makes readers see what happens when man has to make the choice between life and death. The emotional intensity of the story is strong and the pervading sense of danger, of evil, the thought that something lurks in the dark and that something bad could happen at any moment permeates the narrative. Neil Chase’s Iron Dogs is filled with grittiness; it is spellbinding and utterly satisfying.