Review: Blood Mountain by Brenda S. Tolian

This cover does not tell any lies!

Blood Mountain by Brenda S. Tolian

Released June 2022

Source: Received for Review Consideration

Dark Fiction  |  Goodreads  | Bookshop

In this mosaic of Southwestern Gothic Horror, a primordial goddess awakens deep within the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The mountain hungers for revenge as invaders leave her emaciated with their greed and brutality. She cries out for blood, infusing the minds of those who do not belong—twisting them outwardly into the dark forms of their true intentions.

An Under Sheriff struggles to grasp brittle threads of hope within the valley and mountains, his soul tormented by the unanswered questions of crimes he can’t explain and the dead and missing he could not help. The demented Red Women fracture the meaning of being maiden, mother, and crone within the shadows of twisted belief systems. Men and women devolve into the grotesque, drowning in their greed and violence transmuting into creatures too hideous to name. Others find seduction on her rocky hips and release within the baptism of her blood. The valley steeped in cults and crime hides something dark, where mirage plays with the senses, disappearances go unexplained, UFOs and creatures await watching in hunger.

This composite novel of interwoven stories and brief vignettes invites the reader to hear the hypnotic call of the Blood Mountain. Will she ask you into her vortex or swallow you whole?

My 2 Cents for Free!

Blood Mountain is a book of interwoven short stories that together make a complete tale of a mountain that has seen some disturbing and frightful sights. The title tells no lies, that’s for sure!

An Under Sheriff recounts tales his grandfather was told and recalls the horrible events he himself witnessed as he contemplates a round of Russian roulette.

Yeah, this book is a little bleak at times. I read it in between some lighter fare which was the way to go for me. I enjoyed all of the stories, there weren’t any duds, but some of them were very heavy - I’m going to mention my favorites.

Blood Mountain
This story opens the book and sets the tone of things to come. A group of greedy and foolish prospectors intent on raping and pillaging the mountain for their own gain find more than they bargained for! Oh, the brutality but it was well deserved if you’re asking me.

The Stone Mother
This story goes to show that women can and are just as evil as men in their agendas. A young woman who doesn’t want to be tied down with babies decides to say fuck it all and refuses to fall in line. This one is bleak and as dark as they get. The “Red Women” who show up time and again in these stories are such a disturbing creation.

Slaughter Lodge
A man gets away with murder, or at least that’s what he thinks because Of Course he does but the bones of his victims are angry, and they will never forget. Another painful traumatic story fueled by blood and anger. Powerful stuff.

Snake Man
A man with a backseat full of rattlesnakes gets himself into a bit of a ridiculous dilemma. He’s having the worst day ever, honestly. This was quite comical (if you have a morbid and dark sense of humor) and I always appreciate brief moments of levity in a collection this heavy. This poor mountain has seen such sights 😳🩸!

Ink Poison
This one is gruesome and filled with grief and I found it genuinely scary. You should READ IT. I don’t think you will be disappointed, it’s so incredibly well written but if you are don’t come back here to yell at me.

The Turning of Tsetah Dibe
On a snowy night, a man faces the sins of his past as he’s thrust into the hell he deserves! It’s always glorious when this happens.

What Remains
The horrible Red Women make another appearance exposing more of their disgusting deeds in this story. They’re the worst. But this time things don’t go exactly to plan. Too bad, so sad bitches. I loved the vengeance happening in this one. Yep, I sure did.

A young woman returns to the mountain for a devastating reason and finds a mystery and ultimately a beautiful redemption. I think this story might’ve been my favorite and it was the absolute perfect way to close out this book about a mountain and all of its terrible secrets.

Highly recommended!


  1. Glad so many of these interwoven stories turned out to be so good.

    1. I loved the way they could be read separately but together they created a cohesive story.

  2. Ooh this sounds quite good. And the Red Women sound like a trip/

  3. That sounds like a good compilation.


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