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Devolution
Devolution A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre By Brooks, Max Book - 2020

Really 1.5 stars but rounding up because I'm a kind and generous person.

I greatly enjoyed World War Z so when I learned that Brooks had written a SASQUATCH (!!) book, I didn't even reserve it at the library; I went out and bought that thing. In hardcover. And now I find myself left in a state of futile frustration that I engaged in such a poor waste of the paltry wages I'm paid by the venerable State of Minnesota.

So, back to the stars. 2 stars for 2 reasons: 1) I liked the ending. 2) Well, um, hello?? SASQUATCH (!!)

Here's what I picture happening between the author and his agent/editor upon delivery of the manuscript. "Hey, Max, my man! So psyched you wrote a SASQUATCH (!!) book, but dude, take this back and rewrite the whole damn thing." Apparently it didn't happen that way but it certainly should have.

First, the "found diary" concept was an utterly misbegotten choice and complete failure. I don't believe I'm straying into spoiler territory here when I note that this is not a book about a lovely picnic in the meadow, delightedly viewing the SASQUATCH (!!) gamboling from afar. After all, the word "massacre" is in the subtitle. So, a very basic problem: when the bloody mayhem starts are we ever in fear that our intrepid narrator is really in any danger? No, we are not. BECAUSE WE KNOW SHE SITS DOWN IN A LITTLE WHILE AND WRITES IN HER DIARY. And says something like "Whew! I'm pausing in the middle of the most horrific events and terror imaginable to pen some lines about my day." Talk about sticking a pin in the balloon of any tension.

Speaking of tension: so, this book starts off slow. Think molasses and sloths and the countdown until Trump left office. But I was fine with that at first. I like a kind of literary thriller/horror novel, i.e., the aforementioned World War Z, Zone One, The Terror, etc. Slow is the way to set up tension and develop characters. The problem with that here is that Mr. Brooks actually needed to then proceed to, you know, develop character. Nope, didn't happen. However, you will be pleased to know that we get pages - I mean, MANY, MANY pages - detailing in great detail many details about crafting homemade weapons and doing stuff on iPads. I kid you not. Also, I should mention that the action (?) is periodically interrupted by after-the-fact interviews with various people and one astonishingly inexplicable and unrelated flashback. I'm assuming all of that was to perfectly insure that no momentum is ever achieved.

Heartbreakingly, the end is good. But that only served to show what this book could have been, which felt very mean and cruel and personally punitive on the part of the author. There are people out there (me) who have a thing about SASQUATCH (!!) and yetis and the like, so thanks for torturing us (me) with this disappointment.

Can anyone recommend a good yeti book?

EljayJohnson's rating:
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