The Hunger

Putnam. Mar. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780735212510. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780735212527. HORROR
OrangeReviewStarKatsu (The Taker; The Descent) presents a wildly different take on the historical tragedy of the Donner Party. It's June 1846, and the travelers make their way west in a wagon train, battling harsh conditions on the road. Charles Stanton, an able man but with many secrets, is determined to put the past behind him, but is almost helplessly attracted to George Donner's wife, Tamsen. She is equally fixated on Stanton, but for her, he's merely a distraction from an unhappiness she can't escape. When the train led by Donner and James Reed runs into trouble, Tamsen becomes a target of hatred among their fellow travelers owing to her mystical beliefs. Almost immediately, a strange illness falls on the party, turning people violent and animal-like in their craving for human flesh. The Donners and others realize that something of evil nature is preying on them, and that soon enough, it will be every man, woman, and child for themselves.
VERDICT For fans of historical fiction and the supernatural, Katsu's goosebumpy and spooky plot makes for an original and surprising read. [See Prepub Alert, 9/25/17.]
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