J.H. Moncrieff | Return to Dyatlov Pass (Severed Press)

186 Pages | $9.99 paperback; $3.99 Kindle Edition (or Free on Kindle Unlimited)

Wowowow, Return to Dyatlov Pass is a scary read. Considering the novel is based on the Dyatlov Pass incident in 1959—when nine experienced skiers died mysterious deaths in the Ural Mountains—this was expected. From the beginning, J.H. Moncrieff (author of City of Ghosts, which won the 2018 Kindle Book Review Award for best Horror/Suspense) sets the mood of the story with the horrifying first chapter set in 1959 before jumping to modern times to introduce us to Nat McPherson, a podcast host who explores the unnatural and unsolved. Nat is encouraged to go on an expedition of her own to the same area where the incident happened in the hope that she would uncover what happened to the skiers without repeating history.

This is a ride from beginning to end. History repeats itself a little and many conspiracies are shared throughout. There are lots of descriptions that are so graphic that, after a certain point, I had to call it quits when the sun set and came back in the morning. (I am very much not in the mood for scary dreams where people die in a gruesome manner, even if they’re fictional.)

The members of Nat’s expeditions had a rocky start and got along later, but there were moments when their interactions were awkward and out of place. In addition to that, there were apparently romantic relationships involved that felt unnecessary. “I love yous” were even thrown around suddenly.

But characters and relationships plopped on readers’ heads aside, Return to Dyatlov Pass was quite the chilling read and I was in it for the thrills. | Hannah Sophia Lin

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