Haunted Border

Written by Patrick Dearen
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

It is Christmas Day, 1917, on the Cross-C Ranch, owned by Jake Graves, a 63-year-old ex-Ranger. Jake learns that his daughter Drucilla is sweet on Nub, his foreman, who is part Indian. Jake is not pleased with their relationship because of prejudices against Indians and Black people that he developed while in the Rangers.

Renteria, a Mexican bandit, and 30 of his fellow bandits attack Jake’s ranch to steal horses and also manage to capture Drucilla. They ride off with his daughter and her female friend, along with the horses. Renteria is haunted by the curse of tlahuelpuchi , the need for blood. He must drink human blood each month or die. Jake, Nub, and his small posse head out on Renteria’s trail.

This is a Western horror story with various supernatural episodes occurring during the chase to capture Renteria and his small band of outlaws, and to rescue the women. The plot is fast-paced, gripping and exciting. Through its mixture of horror and examples of bias against Mexicans and Indians, the story molds the small number of characters through occasionally nightmarish scenes. I found this an unusual but interesting concept for a western story.