Review by Brennan LaFaro
Christopher Golden takes us way north for his newest novel, Road of Bones, to the Kolyma Highway. If you’ve never heard of that location before, join the club, but once you read Golden’s succinct history of it, you’ll wonder why it’s never appeared in horror before.
The short answer might be the desolate isolation of that part of the world. Perfect for horror, of course, but a little difficult to have characters move around freely. Golden leans into it, however, quickly crafting an atmosphere that will cause readers to grab a sweatshirt no matter what season they read this book. The stakes are established early, setting up a location that’s so cold, the margin for error drops to zero.
Car runs out of gas? You’re dead.
I’ve never been to Siberia, but the descriptions of landscape and, more importantly, the roadside stops feel extremely authentic and breathe a frosty breath of life into the writing.
If it feels like I’m spending an excessive amount of time on atmosphere, first prize, because there’s just not that much about the plot I can put in here. The strange and terrifying places that Golden takes the reader are best left to the discovery of, well, the reader. Rest assured, the Stephen King blurb that graces the front cover promising readers that this book will ‘take you to a place you’ve never been before, and the trip will scare the hell out of you’, the master of horror isn’t speaking out of school.
Combining the terrain with the subject matter, especially in the latter half of the book, readers will find an experience in Road of Bones unlike anything else they’re likely to encounter in the genre.