The Thirteenth Koyote by Kristopher Triana

When a grave robber unearths the corpse of Jasper Thurston, a piece of the body is stolen, one that will call the Koyotes from across the plains. They are a vicious company of outlaws, part madmen and part wolves. Their leader is Glenn the Dreadful, and he’s out to gather the power of the Menhir, a particle from an ancient evil.

The fate of Hope’s Hill—and perhaps the world—rests in the hands of unlikely heroes. A rugged U.S. Marshall, a teenage girl out for revenge, an emancipated slave, a nun with a dark secret, and a mysterious half-breed with the number thirteen tattooed on his neck.

The Thirteenth Koyote is a werewolf western from Splatterpunk-Award-winner Kristopher Triana, author of Gone to See the River Man and Full Brutal. Filled with gunfights as well as ghouls, it is a horror epic as big as the open range.

The IndieMuse Review

The latest in Death’s Head Press line of Splatter Westerns is a book that challenges the very concept of the series, in that ‘Splatter’ feels like a woeful understatement of the carnage you are in for within its pages.

The Koyotes are a brutal band of murderous outlaws, seemingly unstoppable thanks to their wolfen curse, they revel in debauchery and violence, spreading fear wherever they go. Their leader, Glenn the Dreadful, has greater ambitions, however, as he seeks to follow in the footsteps of their fallen leader, Jasper Thurston, in bringing forth a timeless evil straight from the bowels of hell.

Luther Byrne used to be a Koyote. He has fought alongside them, killed for them, and far, far worse. Still haunted by the atrocities he once committed, and in a constant fight against his wolfen nature, only he is able to stand against Glenn and his gang to put a stop to his plans once and for all. Joined by an aging U.S. Marshall, a young woman seeking retribution and an emancipated slave, Luther, will make his final stand at the town of Hope’s Hill, where the fate of the West, and perhaps the world itself, will be decided.

I recently reviewed Kristopher Triana’s Gone to See the River Man, a dark, slow burn that oozed dread and malice. In terms of quality, The Thirteenth Koyote is comfortably on a par with a book that I rated the full five stars and featured on my Best of 2020 list but, in terms of content, the two couldn’t be further apart as Triana’s latest is anything but a slow burn. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to name a book that is more dementedly inventive and gleefully over the top.

It is like Triana has taken the old adage of ‘throw everything at the wall and see what sticks’, and has found the secret formula to making the answer a resounding ‘All of it.’ The Koyotes amass a bodycount to put Rambo to shame, and that’s before things really get going. The action is non-stop and the splatter is creative and plentiful and nothing can quite prepare you for how truly chaotic things get. It is such a joyously entertaining book that you will fly through its 400 plus pages and crave more the second you’re finished.

What really elevates this from a fun, gory Western adventure, to a truly great book, however, is the characters. There is such a large cast, but every single one feels like a well-rounded and three-dimensional person, each worthy of a starring role in their own book. Even secondary or background characters are memorable in their way and The Thirteenth Koyote balances an outlandish plot with real stakes. Despite the mayhem, you never once lose sight of the fact that it matters what happens to these characters.

Like Evil Dead the Western dialed up to eleven, The Thirteenth Koyote is the perfect storm of a strong story with outstanding character work, wrapped up in enough of the gooey stuff to satisfy even the most jaded gore-hound. Only three weeks in and this feels like a shoo-in for a regular feature on horror fans ‘Best of 2021’ lists.

RICHARD MARTIN

Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.

2 reviews for The Thirteenth Koyote by Kristopher Triana

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  1. Reiko Parman  

    This had me hooked from the first page. It was a great story from a brilliant writer; you should definitely check this one out.

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  2. Laureen Neill  

    I enjoyed this story so much. I’m speechless. The way this story was told was so original. I highly recommend it to everyone. I’m sure you do not want to put it down, not even for a minute.

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