Saturday, May 9, 2015

Review: HOLD THE DARK by William Giraldi

Hold the DarkFrom the back of the book
Wolves have come for the children of Keelut. Three children have been snatched from this isolated Alaskan village, including the six-year-old son of Medora and Vernon Slone. Wolf expert Russell Core arrives in Keelut to investigate the killings and learns of the horrifying darkness at the heart of Medora. 

When her husband returns from a desert war to discover his boy dead and his wife missing, he begins a maniacal pursuit that cuts a bloody swathe across the frozen landscape. As Core attempts to rescue Medora from her husband’s vengeance, he comes face to face with a dark secret at the furthermost reaches of American soil.

My Review
William Giraldi easily holds place alongside great authors such as Daniel Woodrell, Megan Abbott and James Ellroy in terms of being able to recreate the dark nature of man and convey it with compelling conviction. Through a blanket of fine white snow, this cold heared yet warm blooded rural-like noir breathes life into the deathly disassociated community of Keelut.

The closed cabin compound is breached by an academic in search of  answers; Core, riddled by internal torment, having lost a child to wolves is called upon by Medora, a local women with a husband at war, to find the body of her son, another presumed victim of the wolves - those eager hunters in ever need of a full belly.

There is a real sense of remoteness in HOLD THE DARK that envelopes the reader in its atmosphere. The cold, dark woods that surround the isolated community and the distinct 'us against them' mentality of the Keelut residents is as scary as it is sacred. Not even murder among their own is pursued by the out of town police with any passion by those directly affected.

On the surface, HOLD THE DARK looks relatively straight forward. However, this is far more than a search for remains or a bloody quest for retribution against one of the animal kingdom's most deadly and skilled pack hunters. HOLD THE DARK is a violent and visually stunning story of misdirection and misguided meaning set in a place where curses are real and nightmares invade reality.

HOLD THE DARK is an exceptional read and will certainly feature as one of my top reads of the year. 

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