Davis Holland, once a Delta Force member, is a Customs and Border Protection Agent. He and a local sheriff are called to investigate reports of an illegal border crossing, but as the pair search in the northern Minnesota woods they come across a gruesome scene of a mass murder. There is one possible clue to discovering what happened: a small wooden chest precisely in the center of the scene. Holland is keenly aware that this is not a simple illegal border crossing … some form of nightmare has entered his territory.
When the wealthy cryptozoologist, Richard Severance, gets wind of the Northwoods trouble, he sends his special team to investigate. That team (Ben McKelvie, Lindsay Clark, and Alex Standingcloud) was recently fighting for their lives against a shapeshifter and now, still not 100% healthy they’ll face a tougher, more dangerous threat.
I had no idea what to expect as I went in to this book. It had been a few years since I received the ARC (clearly no longer an ARC) so it was really nothing more than a title on my Kindle. But given my interest in Minnesota and in horror fiction and supernatural fiction, I know why I requested this.
I really liked the general set-up of the story. Davis Holland comes across as the smart, capable hero that we’re hoping for. And while I understand that by having him be former Delta Force we’re creating a character who has had the best possible training in order to be prepared for the unexpected, but it does seem that this has become a bit of a cliche in a lot of fiction these days and in many ways this is taking the ‘easy’ way out … our heroes come already prepared.
The nature of the supernatural element was a surprise to me and while I should have caught on sooner, I was caught up in the action.
The ending is a heroic thrill ride right out of Hollywood. It’s pretty easy to see any one of a dozen leading actors wanting to take on this tough-guy-battling-beyond-his-breaking-point role.
So I liked the set-up and I liked the ending, but the middle portion dragged a bit too much for me. I was losing interest and I struggled to stay with the book for a time. I’ve often said that writing a horror length novel is difficult because it’s hard to sustain a sense of wonder and horror for a novel’s length, and this would be a case in point.
On the strength of the characters and the set-up and climax of the book, I rate this three and a half stars.
Looking for a good book? Northwoods by Bill Schweigart is an ominous horror story and the ending will have you on the edge of your seat.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Bill Schweigart
ebook, 277 pages