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Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre Kindle Edition
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“A masterful blend of laugh-out-loud social satire and stuff-your-fist-in-your-mouth horror. One elevates the other, making the book, and its message, all the more relevant.”—David Sedaris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Calypso
“Another triumph from Max Brooks! First zombies. Now Bigfoot. I can’t wait until he turns every monster from childhood into an intelligent, entertaining page-turner.”—Stephen Chbosky, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Imaginary Friend and The Perks of Being a Wallflower
“Devolution is spellbinding. It is a horror story about how anyone, especially those who think they are above it, can slowly devolve into primal, instinctual behavior. I was gripped from the first page to the last!"—Les Stroud, creator of Survivorman, filmmaker, and author
“I wish we could elevate the national dialogue on public safety to a level of tone and focus that Max Brooks has demonstrated for all of us.”—Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania and first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
“Both a bloody good read and a bloody, good read. You’ll never look at a bamboo stake the same way again.”—Andrew Hunter Murray, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Last Day
“Unputdownable . . . will have you gripped to the last thrilling page.”—John Marrs, bestselling author of The One
“It’s terrifying. Brooks is not only dealing with the end of humanity; he’s also showing us our further course toward a new, ineluctable, absolute brutality.”—BookPage (starred review)
“With stellar worldbuilding, a claustrophobic atmosphere, an inclusive and fascinating cast of characters, and plenty of bloody action, this inventive story will keep readers’ heart rates high.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Brooks creates vivid landscapes and has a gift for shifting focus in an instant, turning lovely nature scenes suddenly menacing. Brooks packs his plot with action, information, and atmosphere, and captures both the foibles and the heroism of his characters.”—Publishers Weekly
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Bigfoot Destroys Town. That was the title of an article I received not long after the Mount Rainier eruption. I thought it was spam, the inevitable result of so much online research. At the time I was just finishing up what seemed like my hundredth op-ed on Rainier, analyzing every facet of what should have been a predictable, and preventable, calamity. Like the rest of the country, I needed facts, not sensationalism. Staying grounded had been the focus of so many op-eds, because of all Rainier’s human failures—political, economic, logistical—it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people. And here it was again, right on my laptop screen: Bigfoot Destroys Town.
Just forget it, I told myself, the world’s not going to change overnight. Just breathe, delete, and move on.
And I almost did. Except for that one word.
The article, posted on an obscure, cryptozoological website, claimed that while the rest of the country was focused on Rainier’s wrath, a smaller but no less bloody disaster was occurring a few miles away in the isolated, high-end, high-tech eco-community of Greenloop. The article’s author, Frank McCray, described how the eruption not only cut Greenloop off from rescue, but also left it vulnerable to a troop of hungry, apelike creatures that were themselves fleeing the same catastrophe.
The details of the siege were recorded in the journal of Greenloop resident Kate Holland, the sister of Frank McCray.
“They never found her body,” McCray wrote to me in a follow-up email, “but if you can get her journal published, maybe someone will read it who might have seen her.”
When I asked why me, he responded, “Because I’ve been following your op-eds on Rainier. You don’t write anything you haven’t thoroughly researched first.” When I asked why he thought I’d have any interest in Bigfoot, he answered, “I read your Fangoria article.”
Clearly I wasn’t the only one who knew how to research a subject. Somehow, McCray had tracked down a decades-old list of my “Top Five Classic Bigfoot Movies” for the iconic horror magazine. In that piece, I’d talked about growing up “at the height of the Bigfoot frenzy,” challenging readers to watch these old movies “with the eyes of a six-year-old child, eyes that flick constantly from the terror on the screen to the dark, rustling trees outside the window.”
Reading that piece must have convinced McCray that some part of me wasn’t quite ready to leave my childhood obsession in the past. He must have also known that my adult skepticism would force me to thoroughly vet his story. Which I did. Before contacting McCray again, I discovered that there had been a highly publicized community known as Greenloop. There was an ample amount of press regarding its founding—and its founder, Tony Durant. Tony’s wife, Yvette, had also hosted several online yoga and meditation classes from the town’s Common House right up to the day of the eruption. But on that day, everything stopped.
That was not unusual for towns that lay in the path of Rainier’s boiling mudslides, but a quick check of the official FEMA map showed Greenloop had never been touched. And while devastated areas such as Orting and Puyallup had eventually reconnected their digital footprints, Greenloop remained a black hole. There were no press reports, no amateur recordings. Nothing. Even Google Earth, which has been so diligent in updating its satellite imagery of the area, still posts the original, pre-eruption photo of Greenloop and the surrounding area. As peculiar as all these red flags might be, what finally drove me back to McCray was the fact that the only mention of Greenloop after the disaster that I could find was in a local police report that said the official investigation was still “ongoing.”
“What do you know?” I asked him after several days of radio silence. That was when he sent me the link to an AirDrop link of a photo album taken by Senior Ranger Josephine Schell. Schell, who I would later interview for this project, had led the first search and rescue team into the charred wreckage of what had once been Greenloop. Amid the corpses and debris, she had discovered the journal of Kate Holland (née McCray) and had photographed each page before the original copy was removed.
At first, I still suspected a hoax. I’m old enough to remember the notorious “Hitler Diaries.” However, as I finished the last page, I couldn’t help but believe her story. I still do. Perhaps it’s the simplicity of her writing, the frustratingly credible ignorance of all things Sasquatch. Or perhaps it’s just my own irrational desire to exonerate the scared little boy I used to be. That’s why I’ve published Kate’s story, along with several news items and background interviews that I hope will provide some context for readers not familiar with Sasquatch lore. In the process of compiling that research, I struggled greatly with how much to include. There are literally dozens of scholars, hundreds of hunters, and thousands of recorded encounters. To wade through them all might have taken years, if not decades, and this story simply does not have that kind of time. That is why I have chosen to limit my interviews to the two people with direct, personal involvement in the case, and my literary references to Steve Morgan’s The Sasquatch Companion. Fellow Bigfoot enthusiasts will no doubt recognize Morgan’s Companion as the most comprehensive, up-to-date guidebook on the subject, combining historical accounts, recent eyewitness sightings, and scientific analysis from experts like Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Ian Redmond, Robert Morgan (no relation), and the late Dr. Grover Krantz.
Some readers may also question my decision to omit certain geographical details regarding the exact location of Greenloop. This was done to discourage tourists and looters from contaminating what is still an active crime scene. With the exception of these details, and the necessary spelling and grammatical corrections, the journal of Kate Holland remains intact. My only regret is not being able to interview Kate’s psychotherapist (who encouraged her to begin writing this diary) on the grounds of patient confidentiality. And yet this psychotherapist’s silence seems, at least to me, like an admission of hope. After all, why would a doctor worry about the confidentiality of her patient if she didn’t believe that patient was still alive?
At the time of this writing, Kate has been missing for thirteen months. If nothing changes, this book’s publication date may see her disappearance lasting several years.
At present, I have no physical evidence to validate the story you are about to read. Maybe I’ve been duped by Frank McCray, or maybe we’ve both been duped by Josephine Schell. I will let you, the reader, judge for yourself if the following pages seem reasonably plausible, and like me, if they reawaken a terror long buried under the bed of youth. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B07WQQXSGL
- Publisher : Del Rey (June 16, 2020)
- Publication date : June 16, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 5762 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 288 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #14,803 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Admittedly, the book is slow to open. For the first third or so, I didn't think I was going to particularly care for it. I don't mind a novel that's a bit of a slow burn, but I honestly didn't find any of the characters particularly likable. They weren't only incompetent to deal with their situation, but they actively took pride in their own incompetence. However, as the novel progresses, the tension slowly starts to amp up and the characters begin to develop (sometimes grudgingly) into functional and adaptable human beings. What I initially perceived as a flaw in the novel ultimately grew into one of its assets because it provides fertile ground to explore how crisis shapes human psychology.
Brooks' "documentarian" style of writing is not always my favorite, but it mostly serves well here. Part of the problem with any first person narrative is that it immediately raises questions of how much the narrator's knowledge of the story's conclusion affects his or her telling of the earlier stages of the narrative. In this case, the story is told primarily through journal entries, occasionally punctuated by snippets of other supporting texts. Because the narrator is never more than a day or so ahead of the reader, this helps keep the tension alive, though there's a certain trade-off in that the epistolary format necessarily telegraphs certain elements of the story's climax right from the first page. Nevertheless, though *much* of the ending was entirely predictable, the *details* of the ending were still interesting to discover page-by-page, and the ultimate conclusion, wasn't quite what I expected.
I ultimately found it to be an imperfect but still quite enjoyable read. Once you get past a sluggish opening, you'll likely want to finish the remaining two-thirds or so of the novel in a single sitting. And perhaps some readers will, in addition to enjoying a classic monster story, take the novel's subtext as a warning and learn to be a little more self-sufficient and a little less techno-dependent. Or so we can hope.
I’d read and loved Brooks’ “World War Z”, and looked forward to this one, given its advance praise. But it’s very slow-moving, and the writing mostly comes across as merely an excuse to try and be macho. It’s like Brooks wanted to create these nightmarishly epic scenes but didn’t want to spend a lot of time having to do it. These creatures are basically described as nine-ft-tall, demon-like Hulks, but they’re actions and behavior are flat-out boring.
Once they bombard the little village with mini-boulders they throw from a distance, another time they’re needing/wanting to single a human out from a group, even though they’re demon-like Hulks, and another time one kills like a bad-a** stealthy assassin. Before the halfway point I was reading just to see if it got any better, and with still about 80 pages left I was simply too irritated with the writing and story to bother finishing it.
I know this is and will stay a bestseller, but I’ll never have any more interest in reading any of his future books.
Essentially I’m reading a diary of an incredibly annoying, not very intelligent young women talk about her boring life. What is this? I’m giving up on it. I loved WWZ but this seems like a short story that Max wanted to make into a short novel so he added a ton of pointless filler. So disappointing.
And, if you’ve read WWZ, you already know that Max knows how to write. And he does a really good job here. Enjoy!
Top reviews from other countries
The heroine and her husband are unlikeable over emotional and largely useless.
Although it is a deliberate set up as part of the plot, I cannot believe even a colony of eco intellectuals would be so helpless as to have no DIY or even gardening tools that couldn't handily be used as weapons when the s**t hits the fan.
It seems to be such a deliberate decision by the author it annoyed me immensely-I mean who owns a house but doesn't even seem to have a toolkit?
Why wouldn't the tech company that owns the place have sent helicopters in to rescue them? It's specifically said they have helipads.
Poor plotting and sloppy decision making throughout. It reminded me of Crichton's Congo which at least had no pretensions of being anything but a pot boiler adventure novel.
So, yeah. This is not a good book. I read it in two days and once it was over I knew that I would never read it again, which is a sure sign that it was a disappointment.
Example, a chapter in this book ends with a character describing a large footprint as “what could have such a big foot?”. Yes Max, I see what you did there.
Make up your own mind, but don’t expect something as clever and riveting as World War Z.
And it works. The main narration shows more than it tells, so we have the satisfaction of realising what's going on in the people part of the tale while at the same time our heroine starts to notice what's out there in the dark and we get to watch and anticipate the characters' growing peril and stumbling failure to react quickly enough and effectively to an unfolding disaster they first respond to with denial and rationalisation. In common with WES, Brooks touches on the fragility of civilisation the unfiness of urban man for survival when the machines stop working, and the incompetence of government and the self-named intelligentsia in the face of big, but largely predictable problems that they would prefer not to trouble themselves with. Prophetic fiction for the spring and summer of 2020...
The nature of the monster is obvious from the front cover and is mentioned in outline in the first paragraph of the narration but knock yourselves out if you want to imagine it's werewolves. A proper 5 star cracking read: not too long to drag.Buy it full price now. Why wait? Holidays are coming.
PS. Politically, Brooks tends to wear his heart on his sleeve ( hint: it never clots! or scabs),, but as you read the events unfolding and see how the characters, no doubt types familiar to the author throughout his showbiz Coastal life, you could also imagine him to be an unreliable narrator..Let's .just say there's something for everyone in Devolution, and I tip my hat to him.
Fortunately, some of the people in the community are well aware that they have to stay alive through their own efforts until rescue, which could days or weeks or even months with a disaster on this scale, so they set up for the long haul as best they can. Including an unhappily Married young woman, whose diary tells the story. Only, one night, the young wife see's the impossible in the woods, then they find footprints so much larger than human they cannot work it out. Then Bigfoot comes into the community itself...
The volcanic eruption forces the movement of Bigfoot to new hunting grounds, the new Eden just happens to be full of "food". With no weapons, little equipment, no communications and no escape from a being who can likely outrun a car? The community is in very, very serious trouble...
The characters are a mixed bag, the successful businessman and his ex-model wife, a lesbian couple with an Adopted daughter, an old man in deteriorating health who is a successful author and others. But the story is clever in slowly cutting them away from weekly consults with Psychiatrists, failure in business efforts and the clout that money and power gives to show just who they REALLY are when they have nothing but what they can wield or create with their bare hands and a 3d printer. When you are being hunted right into your own home by a monster that can punch through stone and bend steel bare-handed while trying to catch, kill and eat you? Everything changes.
Interviews with the brother of the woman who wrote the diary, who has since disappeared after the Eden was destroyed, a senior Ranger still trying to clean up the mess after the eruption and others help to flesh out the story. It also states that Federal Agents made all the evidence of what happened go away after the new Eden was rediscovered, not that anyone who has seen the place and had a chance to read the diary has any doubts...
In conclusion, a good book with some very unusual "bad guys" which the author made work in his story. Not World War Z, but well worth a read.