ROAD OF BONES | Christopher Golden
01.25.2022 | St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 4/5 stars
Kolyma Highway, otherwise known as the Road of Bones, is a 1,200 mile stretch of Siberian road where winter temperatures can drop as low as sixty degrees below zero. Under Stalin, at least eighty Soviet gulags were built along the route to supply the USSR with a readily available workforce, and over time hundreds of thousands of prisoners died in the midst of their labors. Teig is a documentary producer who believes that the Road of Bones could be the setting for a hit show. He has hired a local guide to show himself and his cameraman around. When the team arrives at the village they plan to stay, they find it mysteriously abandoned apart from a 9-year-old girl. Chaos ensues. A malignant, animalistic shaman and the forest spirits he commands pursues them as they flee the abandoned town and barrel across miles of deserted permafrost.
ROAD OF BONES is an atmospheric and creepy horror story that completely transports the reader into a world they could barely imagine to be real. It’s hard to believe that somewhere so cold and isolated is actually inhabited by people. The setting is a perfect place for an isolated story, which Golden hones in on to create a claustrophobic and anxious vibe. The mystery of what happened to the town our main characters are in unfolds slowly with moments of intensity as they are hunted by spirits and a force that seems unstoppable. The source of horror is downright unsettling, but not because of overused gore. It’s the unknown that makes this story creepy. Why are our main characters being hunted? Will it ever stop? Is anywhere safe? These questions are ultimately answered in a satisfying finale. This is one of the most unique stories I’ve read this year and it has made me excited to dig into other books from Christopher Golden.
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