CROTA by Owl Goingback


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 A first novel about an ancient monster that emerges from beneath the earth to terrorize a Missouri small town. Some shift in a faultline has awakened the monster, which is huge and demonlike, with evil-seeming eyes. It looks something like a bear and has the skin and slithering capability of a reptile. And it's hungry. First, it kills a teenage boy on the way to pick up his date, then the man who discovers him. Then it devours a herd of cattle and the farmer who tries to defend them- -giving rise to cattle mutilation stories among the locals. Bullets won't stop the monster, because it's really a demon. Only magic will work: Goingback, who is Choctaw, pits Jay Little Hawk against the demon, but even he, with all of his hunting lore, must consult with an old shaman to divine just what the demon is and how it can be killed. Little Hawk joins with the local sheriff, Skip Harding, who did battle with the demon and lived to tell the tale, and together the two bring the thing down with a magic, stone-pointed arrow. All of which is extremely similar to--though far less imaginative than--last summer's Christian crossover, Frank Peretti's The Oath. Goingback is readable and his Choctaw lore appealing. But his story quickly drops into the banal suspense of a Dean Koontz or Clive Barker. He isn't, however, any worse.

Pub Date: April 17th, 1996
ISBN: 1-55611-480-X
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Donald Fine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1996