Northwoods by Bill Schweigart
Random House: 2/16/16
eBook review copy; 277 pages
Northwoods by Bill Schweigart is a highly recommended monster
novel with an X-Files vibe set in Northern Minnesota. This is another
great novel to read under a blanket with a warm beverage nearby. Northwoods is the second novel in a series that started with The Beast of Barcroft, but you can read it as a stand-alone novel. I predict that you will want to get The Beast of Barcroft. I know I immediately bought the first book for my Kindle.
It's October and as winter approaches Davis Holland, ex-Delta Force who
now works for the Customs and Border
Protection, is investigating an illegal border crossing with his friend
Gil Ramsey, the local sheriff of Barnabus, Minnesota. Located by the
western edge of the Superior National Forest and south of Crane Lake and
the Canadian Border, Barnabus is a very small town surrounded by rugged
wilderness. What Davis and Gil discover in the woods is beyond belief.
There is a strange chest surrounded by the bloody bodies of seven men
that have been torn apart. But there is also strange laughter coming
from the woods. As Davis and Gil head back to their vehicle with the
chest, they are nearly attacked by something... but what remains
When wealthy cryptozoologist Richard Severance learns about the
incident, he sends Ben McKelvie (who is still looking for the New Jersey
Devil with his Maine Coon cat, Gus),
Lindsay Clark (a National Zoologist and Ben's best friend), and Alex
Standingcloud (George Mason University’s professor of Native American Indigenous Studies
and Ojibwe) to Minnesota to investigate. Ben, Lindsay, and Alex have a
history together. They were in on another investigation and almost
killed by a shapeshifter, a mythical creature from Native American
folklore (The Beast of Barcroft). That experience wounded and changed all of them, but also opened them up to believe that cryptids are out there.
Severance sends his team to the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin to
investigate the Monster of Madeline Island. The Natives call it
Mishipeshu, which means underwater panther. There also appears to be
another problem - a wendigo problem. A windigo is another manitou, a
spiritual being like the Mishipeshu, but unlike Mishipeshu, which is
neither good nor evil, a wendigo is decidedly malevolent.
The action eventually joins the two locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin
together to tackle the problem that is much bigger, widespread, and
bloody than they could have imagined. Be forewarned that there are some
gruesome, graphic descriptions of violent attacks, as one would expect
in an encounter with mythical monsters.
Schweigart does an excellent job moving the action along quickly while
providing the reader with the important information and background
needed to follow the action. There are some great descriptions, numerous
nail-biting scenes, and plenty of suspense and horror. Clearly
Schweigart is establishing a new series here and it looks like it's
going to be a winner.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy
of Random House/Hydra for review