Review: Crota by Owl Goingback

When the police of Hobbs County, Missouri find a mutilated man’s body on the side of the road, they figure a bear attacked him, except that bears aren’t indigenous to their area. The local Indian tribe offers another explanation: Crota, a great beast of legend, has reawakened. As the body count increases, a hand-picked group of hunters stalk the mythical creature through an underground labyrinth where they will discover a horror beyond all imagining…but all too real!

Crota by Owl Goingback. Published April 1996. My edition is from Signet, 1998. 320 pages. Triggers: animal deaths.

Occasionally, the Goodreads group Creatures, Creatures, Everywhere! has a month where the group read is a little different. Instead of us all reading the same book, we each get to pick out our own book to read but we all have the same theme. June 2019 was one of those months, the theme being creatures in the forest. Lately I have been trying to diversify my bookshelves (especially horror) and I just happened to have the perfect book for this theme!

There are not many Native American horror authors out there. It’s kinda like spotting a unicorn when you run across one. I had heard good things about this author, and I was super excited when I found this book. Not only did the plot sound like just the right pick for the June group read, but its also SOOOOOOOO like my type of book! But then again, I’m a sucker for any creature feature book. 😛

With in the very first chapter, you know exactly what this book has in store for you. Giant, stalking creature and blood! Crota had plenty of gory, yet somehow Owl managed to not be too terribly graphic in his deceptions of the carnage. The novel had a very nice pacing to the plot. We had a lot of activity from the creature. It wasn’t just 24/7 action, but the down times in between monster attacks never felt too slow. It was just the right amount. It never felt like the story was dragging.

I’m DYING to tell about the monster, but I don’t want to blurt out any spoilers! The author leaves it a little vague for a while, and you can’t really tell where he is going with it. Is it an evil Native American spirit? Is it a lost prehistoric creature? Is it just a mutant bear? I was quite pleased when it was revealed where the creature came from. It was a category of creature horror that I am very fond of. ❤

It was really cool getting to see a lot of Native American culture and mysticism in Crota. You can tell the author is very proud of his heritage from the way he writes about it. He also, very subtly, brought up problems his people face on a daily basis. Mentions of drinking, gambling, no land, and being marginalized and looked down upon by white people. Owl points these things out in order to bring our awareness to them, but he never let’s it take over the book. The book is filled with hope and a very positive outlook. White man listens to the wisdom of the Native Americans and both joining forces to take on their problems, as brothers, not enemies.

I do want to note that this book had a fair amount of animal death. Several cows and a bull get mutilated and a dog was skinned alive. All of the animal deaths went on for a few pages that I just had to skip over. I did not like having that much detail about the animals getting hurt, especially the pet doggo. 😦

The majority of the book I found very entertaining and a joy to read. The last chapter, however, was annoying AF. It felt so sugary sweet happy ending that it kinda made me want to gag. We already had a happy ending and this chapter just felt like over kill. I don’t know. Maybe I’m too cynical or something, but this just felt like too much. The last chapter didn’t ruin the whole book or anything, but the book would have been better without it.

One thought on “Review: Crota by Owl Goingback

  1. The way it ends makes me wonder if the author felt bad about the animal deaths. You have me curious and I will be looking for this one.

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