A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre
Completed 7/26/2021, Reviewed 7/27/2021
Another terrific horror story by Max Brooks, author of World War Z. This one is about a group of people being terrorized by a band of Sasquatches. It had me gripped from beginning to end and jumping at every random sound in my apartment. It’s presented as a combination of journal entries from one of the people under attack, interviews with her brother and a ranger from the recovery efforts, and excerpts from relevant Sasquatch research and speculation books. It’s very effectively told and stunningly scary. I was totally prepared to be disappointed considering WWZ was so good. I thought Brooks couldn’t match that success, but he did, with flying colors.
The story begins with a couple moving into Greenloop, a small uber-eco-friendly community near Mount Rainier. The model is a new form of planned community, deep in the woods, relying on the internet for telecommuting and ordering groceries and other necessities which are delivered via drone and electric vehicles. Power is solar, active and passive. Then Mount Rainier erupts, and the people of Greenloop are cut off from the internet and the only road out. Slowly, the animals begin to disappear. They see shapes in the woods and hear growling and shrieking noises. They don’t want to believe, but soon become convinced that they are being surrounded by Sasquatches. This turns into an all-out war for survival as they are attacked by large group of the Sasquatches.
The author of the journal is Katie. She’s an obsessive compulsive who is journaling as an exercise assigned by her therapist. Besides being OCD, she’s timid, definitely not an Alpha person. In fact, she’s pretty neurotic. Her husband Dan is a lazy dreamer, a creator, not a doer. Their marriage seems on the rocks. Katie is taken with charismatic founder of Greenloop and his near perfect wife. The other inhabitants range from an earthy glass-blowing survivor of some eastern European atrocities to pretentious nature loving vegans. Basically, the whole community consists of people who want to get back to nature, but don’t really know how.
At first, I didn’t really like any of the characters, which I think is the point. But as the attacks escalate, people either grow or don’t. Katie and Dan, who are initially annoying, really step up to the challenge. And the growth is well developed. It’s not instantaneous. Moster, the eastern European artist, is a pretty cool character. My only complaint with her is that she’s supposed to be short and heavy, but does a lot of running when the violence escalates, which I had a hard time believing. I also had some trouble with some of the other characters who were hard-core pretentious nature lovers. They were rather one-dimensional through most of the book. Katie, Dan, and Moster are the stars of the book and they are the best developed and most realistic.
I liked the interspersing of the narrative with the interviews and book excerpts. Brooks really did his homework on Bigfoot and made arguments for their existence and their behavior in this story. I was fascinated by the Gigantopithecus theory. My only disappointment with the research was that Brooks mentions the famous Patterson film but not the debunking of it.
I give this book four stars out of five. Even though it scared the pants off me and I couldn’t put it down the second day (despite my e-reader running out of battery power and reading about three hours of it on my phone), I took off a star because of the wooden lesser characters. I thought the prose was good, the dialogue was mostly realistic, and the pacing was excellent. I highly recommend this book if you want a good scare and to be afraid the next time you go into the woods.