If you’re a fan of scary creature thriller stories and also like Westerns, then Michael Hebler’s new fiction novel, “Night of the Chupacabra,” is one book you’ll want as a gift in your Christmas stocking.
Hebler’s first fiction novel is the first book in a five-part series. The thriller, set in post-Civil War America, follows a father and his family as they travel west across America and hunt a legendary monster with origins in Puerto Rico and Latin America called the Chupacabra, whose name translates literally into, “goat sucker.”
Hebler says his horror story will appeal mostly to older teens and young adults.
“Ultimately the story really is about family and the love of family and what lengths you would go to protect them and be with them,” he said.
The Chupacabra is not the only villain in the story, noted Hebler, 42, a film publicist and resident of Garden Grove.
The first book in the series was self-published and released Oct. 17. It’s available though major booksellers online and at www.michaelhebler.com for $16.95 in paperback and $4.99 in the e-book version. Each subsequent book in the five-part series will be released each following fall. Night After Night Publications of Newport Beach will release the second full book, “Curse of the Chupacabra,” in Sept. 2013. Hebler also has written a short story prequel called, “Hunt for the Chupacabra.”
The book’s plot description from Amazon.com reads: “Post Civil War. Families move west to begin rich new lives, only some never make it. There is a creature that lurks in the vast open deserts of the west. It can only survive on blood and, although it prefers to prey on the weak and young, it will slaughter anyone or anything, once provoked. It is unnatural, deceptive and difficult to kill. Word about the existence of this elusive beast has not spread, for anyone who has crossed paths with it did not live long enough to tell of their account.”
“‘Night of the Chupacabra’ is about one man’s journey to reunite with his missing family, while the lethal creature that separated them, the mysterious and ravenous chupacabra, is never far behind. ‘Night of the Chupacabra’ is not only a gruesome regale of carnage, but a unique combination of science fiction bloodshed with a more poignant tale of lost love set against a Western backdrop. ‘Night of the Chupacabra’ takes an unflinching look at the impossible choices made for love, while knowing the consequences could ultimately lead to a fate worse than death.”
Why write a scary story about the Chupacabra?
“I was a theater geek in college during the 1990s. A friend of mine wrote and directed a one-act play about a group of people trapped inside a saloon while monsters are trying to get at them. As I was watching that one-act play, I immediately fell in love with the concept of western horror,” Hebler said.
Around the same time, the author heard on the news about an Orange County man who had blamed the death of his baby on the Chupacabra. Hebler was working at the time on a western horror screenplay, saw an X-Files TV episode about the Chupacabra and decided to use it as the monster for his project.
Hebler will appear at a book signing and reading on Tuesday, Dec. 18 in Riverside.
The signing and reading begins at 6:30 p.m. at Cellar Door Books, an independent bookstore located in the Canyon Crest Towne Center, 5225 Canyon Crest Dr., Suite 30A/B.
To learn more, visit www.michaelhebler.com.
Amy Bentley is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.