I went into ARARAT (Headline) knowing full well that the tale was going to rock. I just had a hunch. That the author is an established one definitely helped but the topic is what really drew me in. How could not it be when eventually it’s all about a bunch of doomed individuals stuck in a haunted cave inside Mount Ararat while a blizzard rages? Mind you, I always had a thing for evil spirits roaming dark places but when the entity is an unearthed malevolent force that can infiltrate anyone of these survivors I’m more than sold. I’m salivating.
At about 300 pages, ARARAT takes its time before getting to the violence and gore. But once reached (in the last third or so) the reader is left with jaw-dropping moments and an adrenaline stance to still keep turning the pages. The novel, however, is blessed with more than just action sequences. There are real people in this, not just cardboard copies of what they’re supposed to be. All thanks to Golden’s savoir-faire which makes them come alive with their flawed attributes and introspective ways (a conflict of spiritual beliefs, for example). Yes, some are better developed than others but as a whole most leave you feeling like you know them quite a bit. So when evil surfaces, and believe me it does in a big way, these characters are more than just a body count. I literarily was rooting for any of them to make it in the end. And the plot is very well-handled. I never felt like the story dragged on. In fact, I could even have welcomed a few more chapters just so I could take a longer breather in between killings.
Suffice to say, I highly recommend ARARAT, especially to anyone who loves adventure mixed with horror. Though, to me, it feels more like the other way around. No other adventure novel has ever left me looking over my shoulder like ARARAT did. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it. I’m sure others will feel the same way once they start reading.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Until next post—Martin