Bigfoot’s Revenge, Book One.

And the lesson today is: You reap what you sow! One misstep leads to another as Iraq Veteran Henry Miller is invalided out of one war straight into another back home. Craftily plotted and well paced, the tension is way up there before the body count rises – when the violence comes the citizens of Easton Falls drop like flies. It’s hard to imagine enough people left for Book two at one point! The Easton Falls Massacre is not a horror-fest though; this fast paced thriller is highly enjoyable – a potpourri of suspense, dark humour and mild horror, (most of the blood is off the page, it’s the sense of dread that gets you). Classic themes from old westerns are rejigged and imaginatively manipulated for a modern audience. If you’re tastes are for genre-bending chills or you’re looking for something a bit different this may well suit you.

‘Sasquatch weren’t real, or Bigfoot, or the million other names people called creatures like that. It had to be a mutant, a one-off. Some sort of birth defect. Because Bigfoot did not exist.’

The Cascade mountains, Washington state. The creature is right in front of Kellen Tsosie about to pounce on the unsuspecting doe, he can’t quite believe what he’s seeing. This can’t be a Dzunukwa of KwaKautl legend – a Bigfoot, the Sasquatch. As the last custodian of the pact between his people and the bigfoot Kellen hasn’t had to keep the peace, the Bigfoot clan kept their distance. Only recently cattle and pets have gone missing. Kellen sheds a tear and heads back to Easton Falls…

Henry Miller and Kate Johnson loved the bones of each other. Until the day he left for Iraq, he couldn’t find the words to explain why he needed to serve his country so she’d understand. She watched his plane leave, initially they kept in touch but he had other things on his mind; the death of friends, the enemy hidden among the local people. It’s thirteen months before an IED takes out the Humvee he’s patrolling in. Henry gets sent back to Fort Bragg, then a medical discharge, he returns to Easton Falls, it’s two years before he bumps into Kate at Jensen’s store. Within a month they move in together, Henry feels like he has a reason to live again but his vision of a future together in the town is shattered by Kate’s own plans. Angry and hurt after a row, Henry heads out on a hunt. He sees the biggest bear he’s ever come across, eight foot tall, he didn’t come to kill a bear but… Only it’s not a bear and a chain of events is set in motion that can only end in blood.

This is a suspenseful tale that suddenly explodes with action, there are some clever twists along the way and book two, my mistake earlier, is smartly signposted. For those who like a bit of depth to a story there’s nod to the difficulties of civvy street for returning vets and more than passing allegorical reference to the colonisation, destruction, of the ‘West’ and it’s indigenous nations.

I don’t usually read cross-over thrillers but I’m up for volume two when it comes.

Reviewed by Paul Burke
Personal read 4*, not a group read.

Close to the Bone, ISBN 9789663463492, paperback, eBook, 30/10/20