… Or, more accurately, BIGFEET. Wait! Don’t go! I know it sounds silly but trust me, this was a good read!
Max Brooks, who brought genuine terror and superior storytelling to the Zombie genre, has now turned his sights on the Sasquatch. And he does a bloody great job of it.
Here’s the premise:
A group of privileged folk (artists, authors, wealthy vegan tech types) are living out their homesteading, off-grid fantasy in the very small eco-community called Greenloop in the mountains near Seattle. They have solar panels, kitsch herb gardens, bio-recycle facilities, and high-speed internet. Their groceries arrive weekly via drone or self-driving delivery van. Everything they need is stored in the cloud and accessible with the touch of a button, so that their eco-cabins can retain a pleasingly minimalistic aesthetic. They spend their days make soba noodles by hand, doing yoga, and hiking the surrounding trails, with stunning views of Mount Rainier.
Yep: Mount Rainier, the volcano.
The volcano which the President slashed funding to monitoring.
The volcano that is causing increasing tremors felt by the Greenloop residents.
The volcano that suddenly and catastrophically erupts in the opening chapters of the novel.
While Greenloop is safe from the lava flows, its highspeed internet is cut and its private road is destroyed. With volcanic ash clogging the air, drone deliveries are prevented from replenishing the community’s dwindling supplies and they are cut off from the world. Unknown to them, they also fall outside the official search and rescue zone, so no outside help is coming. They are stranded, and hopelessly ill-equipped to survive the winter.
The volcanic eruption forces forest-dwelling creatures to flee, passing through and around the community. And hot on their heels is a displaced tribe of vicious and hungry Bigfoot.
I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s genuinely not. Brooks approaches this seemingly silly plot point with dedication, research, and commitment. Similar to World War Z, his story is told through the lens of an investigative journalist. His narrative mostly relies on a first-hand account written in the diary of Kate, the anxiety-ridden newest arrival to the Greenloop community. An illuminating interview with a local ranger, and historical reports of Bigfoot attacks, also pepper the story and appropriately flesh out the story.
Brooks is in his element here. It’s really quite compelling and completely sucked me in. It is tense, tight, and thrilling. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the doomed tale.
5 shattered puma skulls out of 5.