Title: Beasts of the Caliber Lodge (Espionage Horror Series Book 1)
Author: L. J. Dougherty
Release date: March 8th, 2021
I’m a reader who will always snag books when they’re highly recommended to me from some of my close book pals. One friend I have whose recommendations I always trust is David Sodergren. Even while he was reading this book he was messaging me and telling me to read it. When he was done, he raved about it to me.
I snagged it and, in between buying it and it arriving at the top of my TBR, I had the pleasure of appearing on a podcast with L. J. (and David and Cameron Roubique) and learned that it had started life as a screenplay and became a novel once Dougherty determined that the financing amount he’d need to film this as a movie wasn’t going to be easy to come by.
One thing I’ve always been personally fascinated with was the high level members of the Nazi’s fleeing in retreat to South America. It is a truly odd and intriguing moment in history and when you research their South American ties and who went their and what was built down there as well, it’ll have you going down a rabbit hole.
So with that in mind, I was excited to see how Dougherty tied a story about Nazi hunters in the 60’s with hunting Sasquatch.
What I liked: The story starts off in South America, as two Nazi hunters seek out a high ranking Nazi official who they have reason to believe lives in a specific town. Things go crazy and when they find their man, he manages to flee.
Fast forward a few years later, they’ve tracked him to the remotest of locations. With an intelligence report they trust, it appears their man is going to be attending a very exclusive, and elusive, hunting lodge in the farthest corner of Alaska. So, they create a fake back story and send one of them to the lodge as well.
It is from there that we get not only a great thriller about a hunter hunting a Nazi, but also these two (and a really fun supporting cast made up of the hunting guide, the lodge owner, the chef, the bartender, and a few other people who’re part of the weekend) hiking into the wilderness to discover that they’re hunting Sasquatch.
Dougherty does a great job of keeping the action tense and the pacing frantic. Each scene is filled with moments of sheer terror and you’ll find you’re holding your breath a lot while reading this.
The ending was great, a cinematic finale that is filled with even more action and explosions and exciting sets us up for more in this world.
What I didn’t like: For these people travelling into this place to hunt Sasquatch, I thought their reactions for the most part were a bit subdued over what I suspect most people would have. Saying that, this was set right around the time the Patterson-Gimlin film would’ve been filmed, so for many back then, they’d not have seen photos or video of Bigfoot, more stories shared or read.
One thing I did note – and I think this was because it was originally a screenplay – was the frequent usage of full branding of some items. An example of that – our MC has a specific gun, but each time he gets it or looks for it, we are told the brand/maker of the gun, which became a noticeable oddity as the novel went on.
Why you should buy this: This is a unique novel in that it will appeal to people who love James Bond thrillers as well as creature-feature action/adventure stories. We get a suspense-filled Nazi hunting plot, as well as an engaging man-in-the-wild survival plot. The story was fast-paced and it really was an engaging, page-turner.
I loved this one and will be jumping into the second book, ‘Primal Reserve,’ ASAP.