Crota

by Owl Goingback

Publishers Weekly The energy of a grade-B monster movie pervades Goingback's debut novel. So do that genre's clichés, including the tired theme of the Indian curse. When Hobbs County, Mo., is besieged by the Crota-a brain-munching, bone-crunching bogey of Creek mythology-familiar characters surface: Jay Little Hawk, the Native American game warden who knows the creature's history and vulnerabilities; Skip Harding, the local sheriff whose reacquaintance with his own Native American roots is the linchpin for defeating the Crota; and a host of faceless types who appear just long enough to become the monster's prey. Goingback puts all of them through predictable paces in a novel that's little more than a standard chase-and-capture scenario played out above and below the ground of the small town of Logan. The narrative high points are the accounts of Indian history and legend, which have the flavor of the authentic oral tradition. These clash with descriptive prose that would have been stale in the days of the pulps (a stewardess has "a pair of legs that seemed to go on forever"), but Goingback keeps the action brisk and knows where to put the necessary lucky coincidence or happy twist to distract readers from his tale's unwavering simplicity. (Apr.)

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