Northwoods Synopsis: Some borders should never be crossed. From the author of The Beast of Barcroft comes a waking nightmare of a horror novel that’s sure to thrill readers of Stephen King and Bentley Little.
Ex–Delta Force Davis Holland, now an agent for the Customs and Border Protection, has seen it all. But nothing in his experience has prepared him for what he and the local sheriff find one freezing night in the Minnesota woods.
Investigating reports of an illegal border crossing, the two men stumble across a blood-drenched scene of mass murder, barely escaping with their lives . . . and a single clue to the mayhem: a small wooden chest placed at the heart of the massacre. Something deadly has entered Holland’s territory, crossing the border from nightmare into reality.
When news of the atrocity reaches wealthy cryptozoologist Richard Severance, he sends a three-person team north to investigate. Not long ago, the members of that team—Ben McKelvie, Lindsay Clark, and Alex Standingcloud—were nearly killed by a vengeful shapeshifter. Now they are walking wounded, haunted by gruesome memories that make normal life impossible. But there is nothing normal about the horror that awaits in the Northwoods.- Goodreads
Ben, Lindsay (and Alex) are back in Northwoods! Ben and Lindsay are such an interesting pair. In The Beast of Barcroft (my review here), for a while it seemed like something was going to develop between them, but luckily Schweigart kept his senses about him. Now the two are an unlikely pairing of friends united by trauma, sharing a connection – if not that same closeness – with Alex Standingcloud. (As Rowling said in the first Harry Potter book “There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other”. ) And Richard Severance, crypto-zoologist and dude with just a little too much money on his hands – is perfectly willing to exploit those bonds and send his ‘team’ out on investigations for him.
In Northwoods, there’s a mysterious chest surrounded by murder, a CBP agent who is trying to figure out what is invading the area he’s been charged with protecting, and a monster that is deeply scary.
Unfortunately, Northwoods lacks some of the grounding/believability that made The Beast of Barcroft work so well. The author takes to some flights of fancy with his descriptions that, on occasion, veer off a little too much and can detract from the story. However, that weakness is quickly covered and made up for by sheer fun in a Hell-Yeah-Here-It-Comes, no-holds-barred, epic action scene climax that is written in such a way that you don’t read it. You see it. Where Schweigart might have fumbled the ball a bit early on, this kick goes straight between the goal posts and wins the bloody game.
Another solid story from a writer who fans of King and Koontz are sure to enjoy.
Two of my favorite lines (printed with permission from author):
He made eye contact with Ben with a look that said I really want to kill something.
“I don’t know. A guy bites me in the middle of the woods – a naked guy in a snowstorm – he’s probably higher than a moose’s nut…but I’m not a doctor.”