Friday, January 23, 2015

Book review: "Hold the Dark" by William Giraldi (or "When a book blurb lies to you and it turns out okay anyway")

Have you ever read a book description and you think to yourself "well, that sounds enjoyable" so you put it on your TBR and you read it and the book is NOTHING like you thought it was going to be? That was totally my experience with this book. Here's the blurb from goodreads:

"At the start of another pitiless winter, the wolves have come for the children of Keelut. Three children have been taken from this isolated Alaskan village, including the six-year-old boy of Medora and Vernon Slone. Stumbled by grief and seeking consolation, Medora contacts nature writer and wolf expert Russell Core. Sixty years old, ailing in both body and spirit, and estranged from his daughter and wife, Core arrives in Keelut to investigate the killings. Immersing himself in this settlement at the end of the world, he discovers the horrifying darkness at the heart of Medora Slone and learns of an unholy truth harbored by this village.

When Vernon Slone returns from a desert war to discover his son dead and his wife missing, he begins a methodical pursuit across this frozen landscape. Aided by his boyhood companion, the taciturn and deadly Cheeon, and pursued by the stalwart detective Donald Marium, Slone is without mercy, cutting a bloody swath through the wilderness of his homeland. As Russell Core attempts to rescue Medora from her husband s vengeance, he comes face to face with an unspeakable secret at the furthermost reaches of American soil a secret about the unkillable bonds of family, and the untamed animal in the soul of every human being."

I always try to guess what a book is going to be about before I actually get to the reading, and I was all kinds of wrong. I thought it was going to be like, a weird group of men go off in the woods to find justice for these kids but then they find out things about themselves and each other in this brutal wilderness and some people die, blah blah something something like that. So basically like The Grey without the airplane crash or Liam Neeson. (Funny story, suggested this movie to go see with a group of friends thinking that it would be a typical Liam Neeson kicking ass saving the day kind of movie, and then it turns out to be all cerebral and psychological and deep. Though there was ass kicking. But when it was over everyone looked at me like "what was that all about?" It was good, just wasn't what anyone was expecting.) Anyway, that's not what this book is like, not a wolf hunting/self exploration thing. No.

I can't really say much about the book because what makes it great is that there's all these crazy twists and turns that make it really fantastic. The first one takes a bit of time in coming and then they come in a little more rapid succession.

I don't want to give away too much of the book so I will give you some key thoughts and hopefully that and the fact that I give it 4 out of 5 stars will be enough for you to pick up this short, scary, intense book: murder most foul, lots of guns, ancient lady spewing nonsense, people with nothing to lose.


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