Dead Five's Pass by Colin F. Barnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When a new cave is discovered in Dead Five's Pass, local climbers go looking for it and don't return. Emergency rescue volunteer Carise answers the call and goes to find the boys with her old flame, Marcel. But what does the cave have to do with a bloody and batshit crazy girl that staggered down from the mountains? And what unknown horror lurks in the cave's stygian depths?
I got this from DarkFuse via Netgalley.
Colin Barnes crafts a claustrophobic Lovecraftian tale of horrors from space lurking in the dark places. What's worse than getting stranded in a cave in the mountains with nightfall coming? Getting stranded with a cyclopean horror that drives you mad before it devours you, that's what!
Unlike a lot of HPL influenced tales, I actually cared about the protagonists of Dead Five's Pass. Carise has hit rock bottom after a series of events wrecked her relationship with Marcel and now she's got a drinking problem. Marcel's in an unhappy relationship and can't seem to forget about Carise. Will they rekindle the old romance?
Surprisingly, that's not a big part of the story. The big part of the story is Carise and Marcel discovering what's lurking in the new cave beneath Dead Five's Pass and deciding what to do about it.
Colin F. Barnes' writing does a great job at conveying the feelings of desperation, claustrophobia, and hints of madness as the story goes on. Carise and Marcel are pushed beyond their limits, toward the edges of sanity, as they go up against cultists and the squamous object of their worship.
HPL would be proud. Four out of five stars.
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