Bigfoot War (Book)
Reviewed by Scott A. Johnson
Written by Eric S. Brown
Published by Coscom Entertainment
For as long as most of us can remember, we've seen Sasquatch portrayed as a gentle, shy bulk of a creature (unless you count The Legend of Boggy Creek) who runs away from cameras like Elvis and has been the running joke of the cryptozoological community. Big, shaggy, misunderstood ... that's how we've been conditioned to view the nine-foot tall monstrosity of hair and teeth that roams the wilderness. While Harry and the Hendersons show us that Bigfoot and the human race can live in harmony, one fails to take into account one simple question: What would happen if you pissed a tribe of Sasquatches off? As Eric S. Brown points out, lots and lots of blood.
Bigfoot War starts out as the story of Jeff, a young man who watched in terror as a rogue Sasquatch ripped his father and younger brother to pieces. The town, refusing to believe in such a thing, glossed over the subject, claimed it was a bear that killed his family, forever branding the kid a loon. Now, twenty years later, Jeff has returned with a great deal of military experience and a serious mad-on for the creature that ruined his life. There's just one problem. Only after he kills the thing does he learn that it was just one in a tribe, and they don't appreciate having one of their own killed off. What ensues is mass panic, lots of blood and death, and one of Brown's best written stories to date.
As with Brown's other books, this story doesn't fart around with pleasantries but leaps straight into the action. From the opening scene the reader understands what he is in for. While the brevity of the story (really, it's novella length) doesn't provide much in the way of character development for minor or tertiary characters, he does manage to bring several of the major characters to life with ridiculous ease and through only a few sentences. Even his sparse description of the town of Babble Creek brings to mind a small rustic town that the reader can easily envision. And the brutality is beautifully grotesque. With every body torn in half and every final image of blood-soaked concrete, the reader is thrown into a meat grinder that doesn't let go.
The only drawbacks to this story rest squarely on the shoulders of the publisher, Coscom, who dropped the ball with this one. First off, there are quite a few editing errors that should have been taken care of. Second, the e-book version of this, which was what I was given to review, clocks in at a mere 50 pages, but that is because Coscom used a tiny font and put the book out in trade paperback size. It's a small point, but one that keeps readers from buying books. [Writer's Note: I've since been made aware that the print version, still the same text but with different formatting, runs at 126 pages. And that the version I got was not a final copy as I believed, but was in fact a raw manuscript with no editing changes made yet.]
Brown continues to evolve as a writer, and this one is his best effort yet. In just fifty pages he manages to take what was once the joke of the cryptozoological world and put it back where it belongs: on top of the monster food chain. Reading this book gives you the sense of a Syfy channel movie, but from back when they were good and cared about what they put on television. In all, it's worth a read and a good effort by the author, but the publisher was asleep at the wheel.
4 out of 5
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