Book Review: Into the Mist by Lee Murray

into the mist

Title: Into the Mist (Taine McKenna Adventures #1)

Author: Lee Murray

Release date: April 13, 2016

I’ve had this book on my Kindle for some time, and as I’ve made my way through my TBR and its slowly ascended to the tip top, Lee Murray has went from a revered author who has been nominated for a number of awards, to a revered author who has won numerous awards. Through all of that, Lee has remained one of the kindest and most generous people in the horror community.

(Hilariously – I finished this last night and I’m posting this review today – which just happens to also be a celebratory day as the ‘Tortured Willows’ poetry anthology Lee is a part of has launched! Big congrats, my full review for that will be on Kendall Reviews in the next few days!)

So, Taine McKenna. His first adventure. Oddly – this won’t be my first go-around with Mr. McKenna. In fact, I’ve already read a story of his in Lee’s fantastic ‘Grotesque: Monster Stories’ that came out last year. I really enjoyed that story, but definitely felt like I was missing a bit about him, his character, so it was great to go back to the start.

What I liked: The story is relatively straightforward. Taine and his crew are sent alongside a geological survey team on an “off-the-record” mission. People have been going missing, including a relative of a high ranking official.

From there, Murray transports us into the remote jungles of Te Urewera National Park and we quickly discover that the beast that is creating all of this havoc is more powerful, and intelligent, than previously understood.

I loved the fact that Lee took her time to set this up and we get some solid backstory, lead up and hike in, which often can be pushed aside to get the reader to arrive at the creature as soon as possible, which usually is a detriment to character development. Not here, not in the hands of a master storyteller.

We also get a large amount of traditional stories and history peppered throughout, which was fantastic. There is a lot of slang terms used/location specific words (there is a glossary in the back) but it only worked to heighten the feeling of being a part of McKenna’s team and being actually on location.

McKenna himself is a well done character, not over the top military, but a kind, caring leader who wants to ensure everyone survives. His right-hand man, Trigger, was also really well done.

I actually found myself enjoying Jules (Dr. Asher!) and Jug’s characters maybe the most. Jug was a really great secondary character to root for, and as the team medic, I loved how he stayed grounded and rational. Jules was a strong female in an otherwise testosterone based cast, especially after another female character disappears.

What I didn’t like: A number of the other characters ultimately felt unnecessary, and Jules boss showing up didn’t have the dynamic I thought we’d get. These other characters (while necessary in the sense that the army would send all of McKenna’s team) didn’t add any emotional impact along the way, so when any of them met their ends, I easily moved on.

Why you should buy this: You may find it odd that I got to the end of my review and haven’t really even mentioned the antagonist, the beastie featured within. Well, stress no more. The creature (they ultimately give it a genus name) is truly fantastic and every single scene where they arrive and chaos ensues was top notch and such a fun moment to see how the characters reacted and what the outcomes would be.

Murray has started a series here that is engaging, feels fresh and incredibly cinematic in scope, which is phenomenal when you consider the good versus bad/evil story plot that we get.

Really great stuff from one of the best out there!


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