I knew about two pages in that The Easton Falls Massacre was going to be something special. You never know what you’re going to get from a book with the word “Bigfoot” in the title. My mind instantly went to the famous 1967 footage of the alleged Bigfoot sighting in California and had the image of a similarly strutting beast, completed with an identical expression of detachment, slaughtering innocents. I was pleasantly caught off guard though. A quick novella coming in at just 139 pages, The Easton Falls Massacre is much deeper than expected. It’s a proper monster story that plays with human emotion and isn’t afraid to gross you out, all in an aspiration to impart a lesson about the typically straightforward roles of “good” and “evil.”
Authors Holly Rae Garcia and Ryan Prentice Garcia are unrelenting hostage takers. They grab your attention and refuse to let go. They caught mine despite the fact that I was sitting in a hot car amid the irritating sounds of road construction. Within the first few paragraphs, I had gotten lost in the deep woods of Easton Falls, where the bodies of large overgrown beasts cast shadows against the other animals. It had a Black Hawk Down level of intensity I couldn’t tune out, even after I put it down.
The story follows US Army Veteran Henry Miller (I wonder if this is a reference to author Henry Miller) who embarks on a hunt at the edge of the Black Forest after suffering a personal loss. When he strays too far from the path he encounters what he presumes to be a grizzly bear and makes a choice that sets off a string of violent repercussions. I’m sure you can guess what it is.
Lurking in the forest on the other side of the East Cascade Mountains is an ancient race of Bigfoot that has kept to themselves for centuries until one of them defies the rule and crosses over into the others’ land. Alliances are broken and a terrible mistake will leave residents of the town fighting for their lives. Spoiler alert, it’s a bloody mess by the end.
Loosely based on a contemporary interpretation of the Dzunukwa legend from the Kwakiutl people, the story can be viewed as a warning against man’s arrogance regarding nature. Garcia perfectly describes the act of sport hunting in just a few simple words: “When they returned with a kill, the hunters would pound each other’s backs and congratulate each other as if they had personally solved the problem of world hunger.” Speaking as someone with several hunters in their family, this is a hilariously accurate statement. The Easton Falls Massacre is a good old-fashioned monster story that blends terror, loss, grief and betrayal. The Bigfoots may be the “monsters” of this story but switch the perspectives and everything changes. They’re sympathetic, intelligent beings committing mass destruction under reasonable circumstances.
Faultless dialogue and quick pacing make for an enjoyable read. Two people wrote this story but it’s impossible to tell, the words flow without breaking a single tune. The Easton Falls Massacre: Bigfoot’s Revenge will be released on October 30, 2020. It is currently available for preorder on Amazon.(4 / 5)