Book Review: Rave by Konn Lavery


Title: Rave

Author: Konn Lavery

Release date: May 20th, 2021

Konn Lavery is a new to me author, one who is also a local author. It’s been great connecting with him, as I’ve not met many other Edmonton based writers who write dark fiction. My first experience with his writing was in the ‘Prairie Gothic’ anthology, and so I was excited to dive into ‘Rave.’

I grew up in a very small town, in the West Kootenays of British Columbia. Knowing this was set in Prince George, a town I had family in, I was excited to see what type of carnage would ensue.

What I liked: ‘Rave’ follows a group of four friends who struggle with living their current reality. Seth, Tanis, Joel and April, all dream of leaving their small town lives behind, but all are afraid to actually make that leap. So, they drown their sorrows and fill their time when not at work with drugs and alcohol, as is the nature of many small town residents.

On this particular weekend, the four manage to snag tickets to an exclusive underground rave that is happening far out in the wilderness. Once there, things take a turn, when a strange thing arrives and people begin to die.

Lavery adds in a layer of mystery with a backstory surrounding Seth’s cousin, which has brought a sour taste to his family and anyone associated with his last name.

We also get to see the group unravel as they come down from a night of ingesting a lot of mind bending drugs. Lavery fills the final quarter of the book with a Major Motion picture level of blood and gore, ensuring that no one is safe and no one is spared.

What I didn’t like: Oddly, I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. Where I should’ve been shocked and horrified when characters met a bloody and gruesome ending, instead I just shrugged and carried on.

As well, there were moments where an odd narrator type POV came along and I wasn’t sure if I’d missed something from the beginning or if this was a way to move action along.

Lastly, there were a lot of exclamation points. I found it started to create a comedic effect when it should’ve been a serious moment or an action moment.

Why you should buy this: I’m a massive fan of ‘things going crazy in the woods’ stories and this one will tick all those boxes. Lavery delivers some fantastic dark moments and truly stressful, tense situations. With this one, people will really love the ‘survive at all costs’ turns and it makes for a fast propulsive read.


Book Review: Hetty by Eddie Generous


Title: Hetty

Author: Eddie Generous

Release date: September 18th, 2021

Big thanks to Netgalley, Omnium Gatherum and Eddie Generous (Unnerving) for approving me for this ARC!

I’ve become a big fan of Eddie’s over the years and have always enjoyed seeing where his writing mind will take us. He’s never shy to explore different genre’s, attempting new variations of the genre’s and introducing unique and intriguing characters.

‘Hetty’ is a prime example of just that. Taking a tried and true basis of a dark story and inflicting it and warping it to suit his story and how he wanted to tell it.

What I liked: The book opens with a bit of back story, of us learning about Hetty and how she was a schoolteacher but also was doing things she shouldn’t have been when no one was looking.

Fast forward and we get introduced to two people down on their lucks – Dane, a writer who is struggling with a recent loss and Winona, a young mother who discovers the truth about the man she believed was the one. Now, after becoming friends, they are working towards figuring out life in a new town, a small town with a secret.

Generous does a great job of showcasing how two different people, from two very different upbringings can attempt to co-exist, help each other out while also doing whatever it takes when it comes down to it, to bring back Winona’s son.

The build up to Casey’s disappearance had some truly, truly creepy moments and the aftermath of the event itself was great with Generous offering some twists and turns that had me flipping the pages, wanting to see just what happens.

What I didn’t like: It felt like a life time until the actual event happens and while it was definitely a slow burn to get there, some may find it a bit of slog at moments. As well, I wasn’t totally sure about how Dane was reacting to Winona at the beginning. It felt a bit forced, a bit ‘off’ from his initial introductions.

Why you should buy this: Generous is always an author that you know you can expect an emotional rollercoaster and with ‘Hetty,’ which may be the longest book he’s released thus far, he showcases his willingness to take a story and twist it, making it a dark and frightening piece.

Good stuff.


‘Hetty’ can be preordered here;

I will add the Amazon link once available.

Book Review: Wildfire by Duncan Ralston


Title: Wildfire Season

Author: Duncan Ralston

Release date: June 1st, 2016

I’ve read a number of Ralston’s works over the years and continue to dive into his deeper back catalog. ‘Wildfire’ was one that I always had on my radar but for whatever reason just didn’t get to it. Recently, when I decided to read a quartet of Canadians (as my TBR had it lined up as though it was fate) I simply had ‘Ralston’ in my list. So, I flipped a coin and ‘Wildfire’ beat ‘The Method.’

Going in, I knew this was a quicker/shorter read than some of his more recent work (think ‘Ghostland’ and ‘Afterlife’) but knowing how well Ralston writes, I knew the story would still be filled to the brim with story.

What I liked: The story is set in remote Alaska. Bo and her almost-teenager son, Caleb live a simply, quiet existence. Off-the-grid and out of people’s mouths, as many in that part of the world prefer. But as dark fiction goes, a fateful trip into town turns their worlds upside down. During the wolf cull, Bo brings two wolves in that she’s hunted to get paid some cash and buy some groceries. It’s here that she has a run in with a world famous pop singer, one Bo has no idea who she is, but Rainey Layne is there protesting the cull and decides to set her sights on Bo.

From here, Ralston crafts a straight-forward thriller where we see the lengths Bo will go to not only keep her and Caleb safe, but to also make sure who she was in her previous life never sees the light of day.

I really enjoyed the way the three interacted as the story went on. Rainey who continued to try and use her fame and fortune to persuade Caleb in situations. Bo who was furious and wanted to kill Rainey but couldn’t knowing the police would inevitably discover the truth. And Caleb, who understood that he was all his mother had, even if it meant he didn’t get to live the life he longed for.

Duncan managed to get the tension between them just right, which at times felt like it was on the precipice of toppling, but that walking-the-line and pushing it to the max ultimately heightened the anxiety each of the three had within that small shack.

What I didn’t like: Maybe it’s my upbringing or my love of nature and living through almost two decades of forest fire season, but I struggled to believe a raging wildfire was burning in Alaska closer to October. It is possible, but it became a bit of a false-start. I was expecting the fire to rage around the people and force them to make decisions and try and survive, but ultimately it became metaphorical and had limited influence on the larger story.

Why you should buy this: For a story that was roughly 160 pages long, Ralston delivers a wallop and never really takes his foot off the peddle. We get thrown into a unique situation and get to see a chess game play out while knowing, ultimately, that when ‘checkmate’ is called, the outcome will be dire for all involved.

Great stuff.


Audiobook Review: Oracle by Andrew Pyper


Title: Oracle

Author: Andrew Pyper

Narrated by: Joshua Jackson

Release date: August 18th, 2021

It should come as no surprise to ANYONE reading/seeing this review, that the second this was announced I jumped all over it and devoured it ASAP.

Now, obviously you are aware of my fanatical devotion to all things Pyper. But – to be honest – I was very worried about this one. Not that I didn’t think I wouldn’t like it. No, that I wouldn’t even be able to enjoy it. I’ve never done a single audio book before. I’m a very methodical reader and have a schedule and like to stay with it. I also don’t like distractions and enjoy being able to go back and re-read sentences, passages etc and digest sections.

Don’t get me wrong – if you love audio books, all the power to you – but for me, it’s always been tough to consider. I don’t have the time to sit and listen. That’s my reality.

But for this – I knew I’d need to force myself out of my comfort zone and attempt it.

A few things before we dive deeper into what makes ‘Oracle’ tick.

The first – I actually really enjoyed listening to this. It took me maybe three or four chapters to find a groove and to figure out the speed at which I found it to be most enjoyable (1.4x for me).

The second – Joshua Jackson absolutely NAILS this narration. I have no experience with anyone else, but his was picture perfect for narrating the story, for the characters and his delivery specifically for The Bone Man was phenomenal. I’d have to imagine he’s already under contract for the sequel drama ‘Oracle: The Dreamland Murders.’

Lastly – even with this being read by someone else and me not reading this – this is 1000000% an Andrew Pyper book. From the way sentences are crafted, characters dialogue, setting and environment as a character. Time and time again, you know you’re in Pyper’s masterful hands.

What I liked: Nate Russo is a haunted man. Suffering from an ability to connect with people and see events and horrible moments through touch, he’s not only running from his childhood, but also running from the feeling he somehow failed his family.

Pyper takes a simple man and a simple story and infuses it with all of the best bits from his previous work. This is crime-fiction, psychological thriller and haunted house all done to the nth degree. We get the dread of ‘The Guardians’ the hunt of ‘The Demonologist’ and the never ending fear of ‘The Killing Circle.’

But at the heart of this story, we get Nate Russo (who is a full on blend of Bartholomew Crane/Patrick Rush/Danny Orchard/David Ullman) who knows the thing that haunted him in his childhood home, the thing he called The Bone Man, is ultimately responsible for not only Russo’s gift, but also the mysterious disappearances Nate is now involved in solving.

Pyper weaves a fast-paced-who-done-it narrative, while using the small town aspect to make everyone a possible suspect and keeping the reader (listener) guessing with deflections and landmines all over the place. I would estimate that over a dozen times I said to myself ‘ah ha! it’s this character or that character’ and each and every single time I was wrong.

With The Bone Man, Andrew has finally delivered a true ‘monster’ story. The only other book he’s released with anything close to this would be ‘The Damned’ with Ash trying desperately to lure her brother Danny to the underworld. Here, we get a real/imagined, flesh-and-blood boogeyman which made me almost shout with joy when I realized that we were being given this type of story from an author as deft as Pyper. And guess what? He nails that character.

The Bone Man was absolutely terrifying. Every single time Jackson would slip into that voice, that timber and deliver the lines of The Bone Man, it felt like it was right beside me, as Nate did himself. And the beauty of The Bone Man character was that not only did we get a horrific and truly awful back story, but we had a WHY. A why to this man, this creature doing what it was doing and ultimately why he choose these innocent kids over and over again.

The secondary characters were great, Fernandes (I hope I spelled that correctly) and Tillman making for great cohorts to both work with Nate but also to keep him in check when he goes off the rails.

And I’ve often mentioned how Pyper utilizes setting so well. Here, the absolute best set piece was Russo’s childhood home, a place of darkened floor boards and wallpaper peeling from the walls. The descriptions of this place were so well done, so lush and vivid that you could picture it and smell it as though you were there.

*As a side note – I know some of you were thrown off when Joshua Jackson was announced as the narrator. For me, I smiled from ear to ear. Just ask my wife. A few years back I wrote an essay on how Andrew Pyper and The Tragically Hip made me a better writer. Within I reference one of my all-time favorite movies – One Week. Starring? That’s right – Joshua Jackson. You know who has a cameo in it? Gord Downie. The circle/cycle continues. Amazing.

What I didn’t like: It is hard to actually discuss what I didn’t like here – as I need to stay spoiler free – but this is the best I can do: the person ultimately responsible for the main events in this story – I wish we had a bit more of them earlier on and a bit more of their involvement. I can’t describe more of that, but when you listen to this and want to discuss it more later, feel free to DM me.

Why you should buy this: I’ll state this here and now (even though I’ve been practically begging for this since it was announced!) but this really does need to be released as a novel. Not only for those unable to hear or listen to audiobooks, but I think Andrew’s once again delivered a masterclass in story telling and how to phenomenally lay out your beginning, middle and ending. If you’re an Andrew fan, you’re already excited to get on this, but for those who haven’t experienced Pyper’s work yet – this showcases why he’s a master at crime fiction/dark fiction/psychological thrillers and emotional horror. He has a way of weaving words around and having them gnaw at your soul.

Another prime example of why Andrew Pyper is my favorite author. Now, I sit back and await the next novel.


Book Review: The Fisherman by John Langan


Title: The Fisherman

Author: John Langan

Release date: June 30th, 2016

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect reading ‘The Fisherman.’ In fact, I was so intimidated by this book that for many years I didn’t even purchase it, believing whole-heartedly that I wouldn’t be a smart enough reader to digest this. I often worry about ‘literary’ horror in that I’ll be out of my depth with great/massive concepts and metaphors etc that I’ll not understand what’s going on and DNF because I can’t grasp the deeper meanings.

For anyone else who has this worry about this book – fear not. Langan is a stunning writer, absolutely, and operating on a completely different level than most, but his writing is also accessible and flows with such ease that you’d think your grandfather was telling you this story.

What I liked: The story follows Abe, a solid, dependable worker at IBM who finally falls in love, only to have that taken from him. After dealing with some of his grief, he finds he loves fishing. After another worker, Dan, also deals with lost love, the two of them strike up a friendship based on casting lines, catching fish and not speaking what rests just at the back of their tongues.

As time goes on, Dan, emboldened by some hidden discovery prompts the two of them to fish at this mysterious spot.

Langan does such a stellar job of showing a man just trying to carry on with his life, especially when the life he expected for himself and for his future, have been ripped away. Abe is instantly likeable, instantly feels like a character you’ve always known and his ache and grief fills you with ache and grief.

Of course, with dark fiction, things take a horrific turn. In this case we get two – an interlude of sorts where we learn the nature of how ‘The Dutchman’s River’ was named, as well as the last 3rd of the story when things occur and wrap up. Langan goes really dark throughout, but the character of Abe continued to ground this story and make you root for the man.

What I didn’t like: Honestly the back story of the river and how it got it’s name fell a bit flat for me. It should’ve had me riveted and engrossed, but instead I desperately wanted the section to end so that I could see what was going on with Abe. It does hold a purpose, especially with introducing The Fisherman, but I would’ve been personally happier if it was shorter.

Why you should buy this: The book itself was incredibly well done and the characters and moments throughout cut through into this reader’s heart and emotions. The ending was phenomenal and I loved seeing how Abe was able to kind of ‘find himself’ again, even if it was short lived. If this is on your TBR, I suggest you move it up and dive in, as the darkness that it holds was phenomenal.


Announcing The Official Andrew Pyper Archives


(Banner by Steve Thompson)

Yesterday I teased this on my social media pages, but today I’m officially launching a passion project that I’ve been working on for some time.

That’s right – The Official Andrew Pyper Archives!

I wanted to wait until the site was live and Andrew had a chance to visit it and let me know his thoughts and I’m happy to report he loved it!

But before we dive too deeply into the archives, I’m going to hop back a little bit here and share how we got to this point.

It’s no secret Andrew Pyper is my favorite author and his books all hold a special place in this reader’s heart. As of writing this, I’m about 35% through my re-read of ‘Lost Girls’ and it’s such a trip to be reading the book again, discovering new nuances and little clues, but to also be transported back in time.

Back in 2014, I was a fairly sheltered reader. I read King and non-fiction and a few other dark fiction writers, but for the most part I wasn’t actively seeking out new-to-me authors. Why? Not 100% sure, I think it was the desire to stay with the familiar.

A fateful trip to the Marshall Road Walmart in Abbotsford changed everything.

In the 2 for $15 paperback section (which I always looked at but seldom purchased) were two books that intrigued me. ‘The Troop’ by Nick Cutter and ‘The Demonologist’ by Andrew Pyper. Two authors I’d never heard of, but two books that I thought I’d maybe read one day. I didn’t buy them on that visit though. Instead I took a photo of them as books I might buy in the future. Over the next few days I must’ve mentioned them to my wife 1000 times, because it got to the point she told me to just go get them. Luckily both were still there and my fate was sealed. I loved ‘The Troop’ but LOVED ‘The Demonologist.’ To the point that once I was done reading it, I immediately went onto the Chapters website and ordered ‘The Damned’ and ‘Lost Girls.’ For Christmas that year I got a copy of ‘The Wildfire Season.’ I was hooked.

And so, as time went on, my brain clicked after reading each book, that maybe, just maybe, I’d discovered that author for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are SOOOOO many amazing authors out there, but where many of you will immediately say King or Barker or Ahlborn or Moncrieff are your personal favorite (and I love all of those authors I just listed), the one author who I connect with their work the most is and always has been Andrew’s. 

It’s hard to describe and I wish I could do a better job (which is sad considering people read my own works!) but something about his prose, his usage of environment and setting, and his literary skills with his slasher brutality and willingness to ‘go-there’ when necessary has connected.

As you’ve all seen, over the last four years I’ve begun to accumulate a solid collection of physical Pyper books. I have them all on Kindle as well, but what began as a hardcover and paperback of each release has now morphed into seeking out an ARC of each one available, as well as 95% of the English releases. Now, it’s expanded to foreign editions as well (much to my wife’s chagrin!). Each of Pyper’s releases and each variation of those books makes me smile when I see them. Recalling the world’s within and the characters that live and dance through those pages.

Over time, I began to catalog these releases on my phone. One thing that I noticed was that for an International Bestselling Author who has numerous books currently optioned and in development for film as well as having won a number of acclaimed awards – Andrew’s name didn’t come up much for anthologies. I began to seek those out to see the when’s and where’s and at one point I messaged Andrew about these appearances.

I must add – I frequently bother/bug Andrew with questions. I never expect a reply and any replies that I get I cherish. Andrew is one of the nicest people out there and as someone who always feels like a nuisance, I never want to annoy him – but one such time I messaged him about a specific appearance or anthology story and his reply really jump started this formal journey. He said “I honestly can’t remember, that was a while ago and I don’t have any copies of that.” Through my time getting to know Andrew, he’s often said he’s not a big “possessions guy.” Which is fair. I even felt bad knowing that and sending him two rebound copies of his work and the spiral-bound ARC of ‘Lost Girls.’ But those two things together was like a lightbulb going off. 

What can you do for someone who isn’t a possessions guy but who has released this amazing body of work?

An online archive.

And so here we are. With Andrew’s blessing I got this going.

This has been an absolute joy to investigate, catalog, organize and create. It has made me smile repeatedly and even random things that I never expected to make me laugh has. Hell, I found an article for one of the books on Ebay! Someone was selling a one page newspaper clipping of a Maclean’s write up Andrew did years ago for $50! Ha! I didn’t buy it, but it helped me track down the link to catalog it.

Well, I think that’s been enough, yeah? I start talking Andrew’s work and I don’t shut up!

So, before I go, here’s a few closing remarks.

I’m going to continue sharing (and shouting) about my love of Andrew’s work. I hope each of you have an author you love that brings you as much joy as Pyper’s books do for me.

And if you’re a writer, I hope you have fans as passionate about your work as I am about Andrew’s.

I’m going to keep searching out links/releases etc and keep updating the archives as best I can. There’s a few things I’ll continue tinkering with.

I want to note that I don’t consider these archives mine. Yes, I spent time doing this, but ultimately this is Andrew’s and Andrew’s work. A history of what he has created. If he ever requested formally taking over this, or his kids did, or whatever, it’s all theirs. 

Lastly, I want to once again thank Andrew for everything. As I said before, I always feel like a nuisance when I message anyone, and I know he’s a busy guy. So, thank you for letting me always be such a fan of your work and for being so generous with your time and cheering me on doing this. It’s been a pleasure and I’m humbled and honored to call you a friend.

So, without any more of my ramblings – I hope you enjoy The Official Andrew Pyper Archives.




Book Review: Horror House of Perversion by Carl John Lee

Title: Horror House of Perversion: An Extreme Horror Novella

Author: Carl John Lee

Release date: August 20th, 2021

The return!

Look, I don’t know about you, but I love enigmatic folk who seem to exist on the periphery of society. Whether through age, distrust of government/technology, or purely they have a disdain for the general world – these folk interest me to no end.

So it is, that one Carl John Lee arrived last year with his fantastic novella ‘The Blood Beast Mutations.’ I had the good fortune of interviewing Carl John and through a burgeoning relationship, he’s also in the process of creating a cover for an upcoming novel of mine.

Saying that – I still no few details. I assume he’s between 65 and 80. I believe this based on his inability to use technology as well as the stories he’s shared – many happening in the 70’s.

I was caught off guard with Blood Beast, being a debut, but with his history of screenplays and screenwriting, Lee knows how to spin a yarn. I was also caught off guard with his setting it in present day.

With his second release ‘Horror House of Perversion’ he once again sets it in the present day, but has adapted it from a screenplay he wrote roughly forty years ago, which is just phenomenal. I really appreciated having a digital arc sent my way, but do have the book preordered as well!

What I liked: The story itself follows a familiar narrative. A group of University friends gathers for a weekend in a cabin. It’s been many, many years since they’ve all been together.

It quickly becomes apparent that the group are fairly dysfunctional and most haven’t changed since those former days. But Carl John let’s us know that the group won’t just be having fun. No, this weekend, something from their past has decided it’s time to seek out vengeance.

I don’t care how old Carl John is, the man can write gore and death. It’s been a while since I’ve read a description that made me squirm, but we get a few here, especially when parts get severed and when things get inserted.

It was also incredibly refreshing to see a story where the men get picked off one at a time. This wasn’t your typically slasher flick where the busty blonde dies a quick death after taking her top off, and the story was the better for it.

What I didn’t like: I really enjoyed this one, but I gotta say – the lady who seemingly runs the house they stumble upon, was really odd and I’m not 100% sure her character really worked or had a purpose. No, scratch that. She had a purpose, she found the wounded women and gave them a home, but I think her part would’ve been better if we knew a bit about her or had more of a back story for her specifically and the WHY of her doing what she was doing.

Why you should buy this: If you like quick, brutal reads filled with the ol’ ultraviolence look no further. Carl John Lee is in command of every single word he puts on the page and leads the reader along like we’re a new puppy in his training class. This one flew by, had tons of cathartic moments and if this was a film, the budget would be mostly spent on blood. Great stuff by an author I hope more people discover, but also who continues to put more of these dark reads out.


Book Review: Here There Be Monsters by H.P. Newquist


Title: Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid

Author: H.P. Newquist

Release date: April 9, 2010

Have you read ‘Behemoth’ by H.P. Newquist? It was released by Bloodshot Books a few years back and was my first time reading anything from Newquist. It was a stunning book, one that I often think about even now, but I was also surprised to learn that is was Newquist’s first work on fiction. It was even more surprising when I saw just how many non-fiction releases he has!

But it was this one, ‘Here There Be Monsters’ that intrigued me. I snagged it for my Kindle, but much to my surprise, Newquist kindly sent me a physical copy for myself and my son to enjoy! I have to say – this book is gorgeous. The artwork, classic illustrations and photographs inside really work to heighten the narrative even more.

What I liked: The book itself investigates the historical reports of sea monsters, the Kraken and what role the giant squid plays in all of that. We get a look at reports throughout the years, as well as Hollywood has embraced the Kraken to create some truly memorable moments in cinema history.

Newquist does a fantastic job of diving into each area, ensuring that we get a balanced look at the reports as well as the real-world implications. I loved seeing the old maps, the drawings from eye witness accounts and how they have always stayed similar, even as the centuries past by.

The look into the giant squid, its discovery and the research behind it that make up the final section of the book was truly amazing and, as someone who loves cryptids and creatures, the photos and descriptions were fantastic.

What I didn’t like: I wished this book was longer! Like double or triple the length haha! I loved reading everything about it and Newquist writes with such an ease, as though you’re listening to a professor share his love of the sea, I could’ve handled another hundred pages of lore!

Why you should buy this: Thorough, balanced and laid out really well, ‘Here There Be Monsters’ is as close as you’ll get to a complete look at the Kraken myth as well as the arrival of The Giant Squid to modern day Oceanologists and science. This was such a well done book, I’ll need to take a look and see what other non-fiction releases H.P. has done over the years!


Book Review: Road of Bones by Christopher Golden


Title: Road of Bones

Author: Christopher Golden

Release date: January 25th, 2022

First off, huge, huge thanks to Netgalley, Christopher Golden and St. Martin’s Press for approving me with an advanced digital copy to read. When I got the approval email, I grinned like a maniac for a solid five minutes, never once expecting to be approved! So, thank you!

Now, as for ‘Road of Bones.’

I hate to do this, but have you read any of my own releases? Or my reviews? You know, the one’s where I share time and time again that the cold, the desolate mountains and crazy, creepy creatures are my favorite things of all time? If so – you could ignore the rest of my review and just go preorder.

If not – well let me share!

What I liked: ‘Road of Bones’ follows Teig and Prentiss. Two Americans who’ve travelled to the most remote (and cold) place in the world, in Russia, to try and film enough footage to sell a potential show to Discovery. The Road of Bones or more accurately, R504 Kolyma Highway was constructed in 1932 and stretches for over 2,000 km’s through some of the most uninhabitable wilderness in the world.

The coldest I’ve ever experienced is -51 C (-59.8F) and most winters here, we get temperatures that drop to -40C. This will be for days or sometimes weeks on end, but never for prolonged periods of time, such as they have where the Road of Bones lies. The Kolyma Highway received this name, because it is estimated anywhere from 250,000 to 1 million people died while constructing it. Due to the cold, the remote location and the conditions, those who died were buried beneath the road.

It is with that context that Golden begins the story by ramping up the tension and reality that one small mistake, one little error, and you’ll freeze to death in a matter of minutes. If the truck stalls, if you go too fast, hit ice and go off the road, you’ll become a block of ice.

The banter between Teig and Prentiss was great, showing the kinship of two filmmakers who’ve struck out a number of times, but have the shared experiences between them to know what buttons they can push. Golden made both instantly likeable but also both instantly frustrating. You want to see them succeed but also you see why they haven’t.

Once our guide joins the group and a female character comes along, we arrive at Akhurst, the last stop before Yakut, then on to Oymyakon, the coldest settlement on Earth. It’s at Akhurst where Golden really turns the narrative on it’s head. We find abandoned houses, food still on the tables and doors thrown open. Tracks lead into the woods. And it’s what’s in the woods that transforms this from a simple survival story to a creature-feature survival story.

The tension was palpable throughout, Golden pushing the reader to our max.

What I didn’t like: It’s odd, because I LOVED this book, but I almost feel like it would’ve been great to see more of everyday life and how people live in such cold and extreme, but we don’t really get that. We arrive at Akhurst and everything goes Pete Tong and it’s a race to stay alive after that.

Why you should buy this: This was a top notch novel of terror by a writer who knows how to write action but also to create characters that feel like life long friends. The folklore that arrives is stunning and me pausing to Google things as I went. Loved it and it really heightened the frightening reality of the fact that the characters will either die from the cold, or what lurks just beyond the frost. Outstanding.