Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Hold The Dark by William Giraldi

review by Maryom

Wolves have been circling and stalking the remote Alaskan village of Keelut, and taken three young children. While some accept it as a painful fact of Alaskan life, Medora Slone, the mother of the third child, thinks differently. With her husband Vernon away with the US army, she decides to enlist the help of wolf expert Russell Core to track down the wolves and bring back the remains of her son. Core may be familiar with wolves but the snow-bound horizons of Alaska are completely alien to him - and he finds things far worse than wolves lurking around Keelut.

Hold The Dark attracted my attention as I'd just finished Cecilia Ekback's Wolf Winter a tale of wolves, snow and murder set in an isolated community in 18th century Swedish Lapland. This time the action is set in the bleak Alaskan winter, in another remote, insular community but in the present day. Beyond weapons and transport, modern life hasn't made a great impact on Keelut; it feels like a place outside of civilisation, a place with its own rules and laws, that still holds on to older ways and traditions, and that keeps its secrets closely hidden. But the horror that's about to be unleashed there is timeless and the swath of violence that spreads through this tiny community wouldn't seem out of place in a large city.
It's without doubt a gripping read, unfolding in unexpected ways with the ending proving as unexpected as you could want. Just occasionally I felt the author was trying a little too hard to impress with his writing style or technical knowledge, which jarred me out of the atmosphere, but for the most part I was fully immersed in both the 'otherness' of Alaska's barren landscape and the revelations of the story.

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - No Exit Press
Genre - Adult Crime Thriller

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