Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Written by Graham Masterton
Published by Leisure Books
Over the years the Wendigo has been brought up time and time again in our genre, be it as a monstrous, Sasquatch-like entity or something more mystical or ethereal. I believe Edgewise might be the first book that comes close to really showing how Native Americans view the creature, however. Sadly, that’s one of only a few good things about the novel.
For example; if you were a pissed off husband who wanted to get revenge on your wife for getting custody of your children by having them kidnapped from her, but were too chicken shit to do it yourself, would you seek outside help? Sure you would. Since it’s your kids on the line would you be sure to do some research on said outside help before hiring them to make sure that they didn’t, say, burn you ex-wife alive, right? God I hope so.
Such is not the case in Edgewise, though; the ex-husband hires a group of intimidating men to have his kids swiped from their mother, who won full custody most likely because of bad decisions like this one made by her ex, apparently unaware that the group believed in the evil of women from back in the days of the witch, and that the only way to take care of her once and for all was to burn her. The group is called FLAME (Fathers Love Against Mother’s Evil or something like that) that should be a good indication to me! Luckily for our heroine she’s able to get out of the inferno the place her in with only some minor burns and the desire to get her kids back as soon as she can.
She starts off by utilizing the services of the FBI, but after months of them finding nothing (pretty ridiculous considering where the husband actually took them), she takes the advice of a PI named John Shooks and enlists the help of a Native American by the name of George Iron Walker. Sounds like a wrestler, no? I think the implication is that he walks on Iron, not that his nickname is "Iron", though that would’ve been cooler...
Anyway, George offers her the services of the best tracker in the world; the Wendigo, who will stop at nothing and use any means necessary to retrieve what it is sent for once called upon. Too late she realizes that the mythical creature, who can only be seen when it looks directly at you, disappearing if it turns edgewise (hence the book’s title), actually tears to pieces those who get in it’s way. This bothers her when he takes apart the first person he finds with traces of her children on them, a member of FLAME, and he tries to stop the creature before it can find her ex-husband and do the same to him.
Unfortunately, once you’ve called up on the spirit of the forest to find a person for you, you can’t just ask it nicely to stop hunting. It is a beast, after all; a force of nature. Sure enough her kids get to witness their father torn to pieces before their eyes, an act that you would think would fuck them up pretty good but hey actually seem to recover from quite well, and the mother tells George Iron Walker that their deal is off.
Ah, yes, the deal. Seems the only thing George Iron Walker asked for in return was a swatch of land on a nearby lake, a deal she has no problem trying to make happen because she’s in real estate. So when she tells him he can’t have it, the Wendigo starts killing everyone and everything around her, which is actually the best part of the book. The mass slaughter is pretty impressive, though doesn’t go quite as far as I had expected it would, unfortunately.
When it’s discovered just what the plot of land is going to be used for, another eye-roll moment comes to pass, though thankfully it’s one of the last of the book. The climax is pretty much exactly what you’ll see coming after the first hundred pages or so, and all and all we’re left with a pretty forgettable story made worse by uneven characters and a repetitive plot. Still, though, the violence is pretty good here and there and even though the characters don’t exactly jump to life, they still get some interesting moments here and there.
If Native American folklore is a passion of yours, check it out, but don’t be surprised when you start thinking that the ones portrayed in this book are nasty and vengeful; it’s just how the story is setup.
2 1/2 out of 5
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