I live in Bristol UK horror dark fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run
I think it important to have read Snowblind before the sequel Snowblind 2 “The Killing Grounds” where the fate of William Coburn is granted respectful closure by Sheriff Wayne Dayton “He thought about William Coburn, the man who’d walked into the Alferd Packer Grill with his friend’s head under his jacket.”
At the start and conclusion of Snowblind 2 we meet Len Badgett who is cheating on his wife with the somewhat despicable and career minded Ashley Gale driving through the dangerous and snowbound Rockies in their SUV. I like the way that Michael McBride has used this illicit affair to bind this exciting and frightening horror story together and I am very pleased to note that Ashley is justly dealt with in the final pages by a very fair hand of fate :)
The “star” or the giver of pain in The Killing Grounds is a creature that is similar or has evolved from Bigfoot a large hairy bipedal humanoid! Sheriff Wayne Dayton has sent out a search party to discover the whereabouts of Michelle Jenkins the long lost girlfriend of John Avery who disappeared some 7 years ago on an outing with friends. It soon becomes clear that Dayton is dealing with a very intelligent foe...”The way they hunted. As a pack. Like it was a sport. Using the corpses as decoys, to lure them closer, to flush them into the open. They were as cunning as man and as fearsome as primates”.... and the hunters are in reality the hunted as fate draws them towards the pine wooden ranch where so many in the past have encountered a grisly and bloody conclusion.....”The building materialized from the storm and he recognized it immediately. He’d seen that abandoned ranch house before. In fact, he had a picture of it folded up in his pocket...”
The claustrophobic writing of Michael Mcbride in some ways reminds me of Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley and her battles with an extraterrestrial lifeform, commonly referred to as the Alien or indeed Predator where a group of mercenary soldiers discover they are being hunted by creature with superhuman strength and the ability to disappear into its surroundings. The creatures in The Killing Grounds retain such characteristics and more both the ability to kill and the skill to blend silently and expertly into their surroundings.
As is only natural in a good horror story there is no happy conclusion and yet why should there be? We have a creature who has enjoyed relative survival, seclusion and contentment for many years only to have it suddenly interrupted by the unwanted incursion of man. A nice intelligent touch by the author perhaps portraying the creatures as protecting rather than destroying….for you the reader to decide! “How they survived. This was their killing grounds, and the reason no one lived long enough to betray the secret of their existence.”
A fantastic sequel to Snowblind and a worthy 5 star recommendation!!