Road of Bones (2022) – Christopher Golden

Christopher Golden delivers another white knuckle horror thriller with Road of Bones. The tale is set in Russia, on an actual stretch of road known as the Road of Bones and the story follows Teig and Prentiss.

Teig is an idea man. He thinks he has an idea for the next big reality show that could finally recoup his losses and help pay off his debts, including his friend Prentiss, who is along to protect his investment and serve as a cameraman.

Over the course of one night, they will be plunged into a horrific new reality and learn that there are things beyond their understanding. That is if they survive.

What I initially thought would turn out to be a creepy ghost story, especially after googling the actual Road of Bones, becomes a rapid-fire tale that feels like 30 Days of Night tinged with folk horror.

When Teig, Prentiss, their travel guide and a young woman recovered from a car accident arrive in the guide’s hometown in the subzero and deadly cold of northern Russia they are shocked to discover the whole town is empty with footprints leading off into the nearby forest.

They are spared any further investigation when they are attacked by… something… and so begins a deadly race to escape back to some form of civilization, or at least a hospital before they run out of gas and freeze to death.

This one would have been unputdownable if I didn’t have to work. I would have happily devoured it all in one sitting. Golden crafts a compulsive read, page-turning almost frantically to find out what happens next.

The terror keeps the characters, and the readers on edge, and when each new horrifying thing happens you simply have to take it on board, try to deal with it, as you run, and race for what you and the readers is some safe haven.

I enjoyed Ararat, but Road of Bones was just exemplary. It was a helluva ride that didn’t let up for a minute, hints at things older and beyond our understanding, and reminds us why we were once so scared of the dark.

Golden keeps things balanced never going too far with his descriptions, keeping a lot of the night’s terrors in shadows and only hinting at what the characters see, and even when full glimpses are afforded them, the descriptions paint vivid images in the mind’s eye.

I was stunned by how quickly I read through this novel. I just didn’t want to stop, and I certainly didn’t want it to end. I guess I’ll have to go hunt down some more novels by Golden and hope they are as much fun as this one.

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