Title: Shadow of the Sasquatch
Author: J.H. Moncrieff
Release date: March 14, 2021
*Just a brief warning here – this is a sequel to ‘Return to Dyatlov Pass’ and while you don’t need to have read that book to read this one, some of my review may inadvertently be spoilers for that book. Never my intention to have spoilers in my reviews, but when it’s a sequel that can sometimes be tough!*
Moncrieff returns with a new Severed Press release and us readers are in for a treat! Why? This is a sequel to Moncrieff’s stunning ‘Return to Dyatlov Pass.’ I’ve been keen to see what J.H. had in store for us, both from how Return ended, but also with her fantastic story within the ‘Hellhole’ Anthology that furthered some of what was happening on Devil’s Mountain.
Moncrieff offered a few glimpses of where things were heading on her author page, but even then details were sparse. Then this dropped. Literally. We got a cover reveal and synopsis (and what a cover it is!) and in the blink of an eye – the ebook and paperback were live. I snagged this and dove in.
What I liked: Nat McPherson is doing her best after the events of book one, but tragically her life is spiraling. She’s shuttered her podcast, fallen into depression and booze and her overdue bills are mounting. When Riley calls to tell her that the house her, her husband and daughter have just moved into in Oregon is under attack by something massive, Nat at first ignores it. But when an incident occurs that’s too much for her to ignore, she heads there to try and help.
Moncrieff may very well be battling Hunter Shea for ‘best creature feature’ writer at the moment. Some of the scenes in this are so vivid and dread-filled, I would’ve jumped out of bed if something would’ve fallen over or banged the walls. I really loved how she writes cinematically and uses rational choices to create emotional responses. Nat is dealing with PTSD. Riley wants to protect her and her daughter Brooke. This all makes for a melting pot of ‘how should we react’ layers and it’s J.H.’s superb command of the story that really makes everything believable.
The dynamic between the members of the family were great and when Nat becomes involved, it was really nice to see Brooke and her bond and develop a friendship.
I thoroughly enjoyed how we got glimpses of Nat’s internal struggle and flashes of Dyatlov throughout, all the while, we see Nat striving for closure and redemption/revenge. The incident with Brooke near the end was a perfect bookend to make Nat both hate and respect these creatures and it really does set up the possibility of a third chapter in Nat’s ongoing story.
What I didn’t like: I don’t know if I fully found closure with the ‘why.’ Don’t get me wrong, the reason the creatures keep at the house tugs at the heart strings and shows empathy, but things didn’t completely add up. Apologies, this is a ‘in-depth’ as I can get, because I do not want to spoil this.
Why you should buy this: As I already said, Moncrieff writes creature features like nobody else. Just look at ‘Monsters In Our Wake.’ But with this, she’s slipped seamlessly into another level of human/creature thriller and it’s spot on fantastic. Fans of Hunter Shea’s ‘Creature’ and Moncrieff’s own ‘Those Who Came Before’ will really enjoy how this one plays out, but more so, for those fans of ‘Return to Dyatlov Pass,’ Moncrieff has done that first book justice and some. A stunning sequel from one of my favorite authors.
Well done, J.H.