J.H. Moncrieff‘s 2021 novella Shadow of the Sasquatch follows the exploits of podcast host Nat McPherson after her harrowing adventure at Dyatlov Pass. The book is set more than a year after Nat returns from a tragic trip investigating the mysterious deaths of nine Russian skiers chronicled in Moncrieff’s intensely satisfying 2018 novella, Return to Dyatlov Pass.
Click HERE to read my review of Return to Dyatlov Pass.
Shadow of the Sasquatch opens with a prologue where Riley Tanner — wife of Jason and mother of 10-year-old Brooke — is getting the steal of a deal on a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house tucked into the Oregon wilderness. The reason for the low price is the previous owners were “city people … frightened by night noises,” according to the realtor. It’s not enough to deter Riley who agrees to buy the house.
The story then shifts to Nat McPherson in the midst of a therapy session. Nat once hosted the most popular podcast in the U.S. dealing with supernatural and unsolved mysteries. However, since the tragedy at Dyatlov Pass, her life has spiraled downward. Nat suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder that she medicates with alcohol. Her therapist urges Nat to go back to work to help her struggling financial situation.
A distressed call from the Tanners’ daughter in the middle of an apparent Sasquatch attack prompts Nat to return to action. When Nat arrives in Oregon, Riley explains the creatures only appear when her husband Jason is away on one of his trips as a long-haul truck driver.
When Jason goes on the road again, the creatures return, one nearly killing Nat and sending her to the hospital. While Nat recovers, the Tanners investigate the history of their house and locate the previous owners, Franklin and Elizabeth Riordan, in Phoenix, Arizona. They take a trip to Phoenix in search of answers from the Riordans.
Meanwhile, Nat’s emotional state is shaky at best as she sneaks out of the hospital and returns to the Tanner house to investigate further. Part of Nat wants to exact a measure of revenge on the creatures terrorizing the Tanners after what happened at Dyatlov Pass. And while the Oregon creatures are similar to the ones that Nat encountered at Dyatlov Pass, one major difference troubles her: “If they wanted to kill her, they could have.” Why didn’t they?
The answer is a shocker. The final quarter of Shadow of the Sasquatch hits the reader hard with a couple of stunning plot twists that effectively explain the creatures’ behavior. The epilogue neatly wraps up any loose ends.
Shadow of the Sasquatch is another outstanding entry into cryptid horror fiction by Moncrieff. I suggest reading Return to Dyatlov Pass first to truly understand and appreciate Nat’s state of mind in Shadow of the Sasquatch.
The key to the Nat McPherson books for me is Nat herself. Resilient but vulnerable, Nat is the perfect imperfect character to build a fiction series around. I look forward to hopefully more of Nat’s adventures in the future.
NEXT UP: Chapter Forty-Four: The Beast: A Bigfoot Thriller. I review the 2019 novella by Armand Rosamilia.