Reviews of Dark Fiction

Road of Bones by Christopher Golden

ROAD OF BONES had me shivering in the midst of an August heatwave!

Felix Teigland, (Teig), a documentary filmmaker, and Prentiss his financial backer, head out to Siberia in the hopes of creating a TV doc and selling it to Discovery. The hook? The pair are traveling the Kolyma Highway, also known as the Road of Bones. Built in the 30’s, this highway travels for over 2,000 kilometres, and is said to have the bones of those who helped build it, buried underneath. After picking up their local guide, and a woman broke down on the road, they set off in the hopes of creating television gold. Their first stop, a small village not too far away. Upon arrival though, the village seems empty. What happened here? Where is everyone? What are those dark, shadowy shapes they’ve all seen? You’ll have to read this to find out!

I loved the characters here. Christopher Golden has a way of writing people that makes me start caring for them right from the get-go. Tieg and Prentiss were clearly defined and their friendship could be a prickly one at times. I liked that. The addition of their guide and a stranded traveler added more depth to the mix, because they all had different goals-all of which soon morphed into something else altogether for all of them; the goal of survival.

The setting of Siberia is perfect for a horror story. The cold and isolation become characters in their own right-how snow often dampens sounds. How the cold will take your nose from you in a matter of minutes, if it’s exposed. How the car won’t start up again, if you turn it off or stall out. Small things in Siberia quickly turn into life threatening things. The dichotomy of reading a novel set in Siberia where it can get as cold as -60F, as compared to my setting of western Massachusetts at the end of a heatwave, was a bit jarring. For this reader, that dichotomy only brought the cold home even more powerfully.

I loved this book: the fast pace, the cold atmosphere, the short chapters and the perils throughout all contributed to my enjoyment of Road of Bones. Also, look at that cover! It’s fabulous, right? Do yourself a favor, be at the bookstore the day this comes out. Dare you take a ride down the ROAD OF BONES? I think you’ll be sorry if you don’t!

Available everywhere: January 25, 2022, but you can pre-order here: ROAD OF BONES

Thank you to Christopher Golden and St. Martin’s Press for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!

Road of Bones Book Cover Road of Bones
Christopher Golden
Dark Fiction, Horror, Supernatural Thriller
St. Martin's Press
January 25, 2022
Paperback ARC
St. Martin's Press

Christopher Golden's Road of Bones is a stunning supernatural thriller set in Siberia, where a film crew is covering an elusive ghost story about a highway built on top of the bones of prisoners of Stalin's gulag.

Kolyma Highway, otherwise known as the Road of Bones, is a 1200 mile stretch of Siberian road where winter temperatures can drop as low as sixty degrees below zero. Under Stalin, at least eighty Soviet gulags were built along the route to supply the USSR with a readily available workforce, and over time hundreds of thousands of prisoners died in the midst of their labors. Their bodies were buried where they fell, plowed under the permafrost, underneath the road.

Felix Teigland, or "Teig," is a documentary producer, and when he learns about the Road of Bones, he realizes he's stumbled upon untapped potential. Accompanied by his camera operator, Teig hires a local Yakut guide to take them to Oymyakon, the coldest settlement on Earth. Teig is fascinated by the culture along the Road of Bones, and encounters strange characters on the way to the Oymyakon, but when the team arrives, they find the village mysteriously abandoned apart from a mysterious nine-year-old girl. Then, chaos ensues.

A malignant, animistic shaman and the forest spirits he commands pursues them as they flee the abandoned town and barrel across miles of deserted permafrost. As the chase continues along this road paved with the suffering of angry ghosts, what form will the echoes of their anguish take? Teig and the others will have to find the answers if they want to survive the Road of Bones.

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