Lurking in the caves of eastern New Mexico, Falke, a thousand-year-old vampire, chooses his next bride: Melissa Roanhorse, an Albuquerque teenager. To regain his granddaughter’s life, Michael Roanhorse, an old Navajo sheepherder wise to the power of myth, must outwit the vampire and his loyal coven. So begins A.A. Carr’s “Eye Killers,” a novel that combines the Eastern European legend of the vampire with the Navajo tale of the monster slayer.
The songs of Michael Roanhorse’s childhood include potent chants passed down through his grandmother, who sang to him of Changing Woman and her Warrior Twins, Monster Slayer and Child of the Water. But Michael’s spiritual strength and his memory have waned with the years. Who is left to help reunite him with his family and his family with their heritage?
Michael enlists Diana Logan, Melissa’s young English teacher, to wrestle Melissa from the vampire. But to conquer Falke they must also overpower his coven: Elizabeth, captured by Falke in the 1850s during her family’s journey along the Santa Fe Trail, and Hanna, once a prostitute in Old Albuquerque, who aspires to supplant Falke’s vampire reign.
Michael must invoke ancient traditions to bring Melissa home. The elders undertake to teach Diana, but her Irish-American heritage has not prepared her for a fight against shape-shifting vampires who have lived-and murdered-for centuries.
In “Eye Killers,” Carr delivers an imaginative clash of cultures-both a suspenseful thriller and a valid rendering of Navajo and Pueblo tribal life in contemporary New Mexico. His inventiveness, expressed through melodic prose and layers of fine storytelling, weaves new legends of the American Southwest.