Dragon’s Blood is a wonderfully imaginative novel where a demonic serpent, a retired cop and a love-crazed killer can co-exist in the same town. With murder on the rise in Northdale, one must wonder who is responsible. Is it Bolla, the mythological snake who thirsts for human blood? Is it Braedan Fala, a war vet suffering from PTSD and an unrequited attraction to the wife of a Senator? Or is it someone else entirely?
Eric M. Woods does a phenomenal job creating and presenting his characters. He makes every character come alive. From the protagonist to tertiary characters, Woods develops complex backstories for them all. There is not a single character that feels like a throw-away name which adds to the mystery of the story. With every new character, the reader is left questioning which characters are integral parts of the murders.
Dragon’s Blood would have been more successful, had Woods and his editor approached the piece as a mystery with paranormal elements instead of a horror piece. Despite Woods’ regard for horror, the components of the story owing to that genre are the weakest parts of the piece. Woods’ attention to graphic violence and gore is regrettably overused, making the novel duller than the story-line warrants.
Expanding on this point, the suspense of the novel would have benefited greatly from more ambiguity. Woods spends roughly 60 pages on the back-story of the dragon. He introduces journal entries, flashbacks, numerous sets of characters and conversations to serve the purpose. Unfortunately, the reader is bombarded with information that is often repeated. In fact, this information is relayed in such detail, that the piece almost reads like an extended outline of the story instead of a curated manuscript. In this way, Woods’ passion inadvertently did his work a disservice.
Woods’ passion and creative capacity show incredible promise and I am eager to see what he has in store next. He plans to release another horror novel in the fall of 2020.