Claw Heart Mountain

CamCat. Jan. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780744307504. $25.99. HORROR
The latest from Oppegaard (after The Town Built on Sorrow) begins with a moral dilemma and ends in a thriller/slasher mash-up. The story follows a group of college friends who are spending the summer at a remote cabin on Claw Heart Mountain in Wyoming. On the drive there, they come across a crashed van full of money. After a brief argument, where moral center Nova is outvoted by the others, they all take some of the money, launching a chain of events that finds them pursued by the police, a hit man hired by a nefarious organization that wants its money back, and a mountain legend which is both awake and hungry. Rather than worry about how they will spend their money, these five friends soon wonder if they’ll survive.
VERDICT Oppegaard wisely keeps the action moving at the speed of an action thriller or a slasher movie, giving the novel a frenetic pace that makes it a fun read, even though his characterizations don’t go beyond their archetypes (spunky final girl Nova, rich and beautiful Mackenna, stone-cold hit man Bannock, etc.).
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