"As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier’s eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined . . . until now. The journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town’s bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing—and too earth-shattering in its implications—to be forgotten. In these pages, Max Brooks brings Kate’s extraordinary account to light for the first time, faithfully reproducing her words alongside his own extensive investigations into the massacre and the legendary beasts behind it. Kate’s is a tale of unexpected strength and resilience, of humanity’s defiance in the face of a terrible predator’s gaze, and, inevitably, of savagery and death."
Why I Requested This Title
In 1980, soon after the Mt. St. Helen's Eruption, I lived in the shadow of Mt. Ranier. I vividly remember ash and stone covering the valley. I was fascinated by the stories and movies that revolved around the eruption. I kept a baggie of ashes for many years and have ornaments created with Mt. St. Helen's ashes. Needless to say... It made an impression on me. A novel exploring an Mt. Ranier eruption automatically makes my to-be-read list!
Devolution is set in Greenloop, a high-tech community with all of the conveniences of Seattle brought to it by drones while located in a remote Washington state forest. I lived in the Seattle suburbs and enjoyed exploring the city with my family while also spending weekends panning for gold and hiking on Mt. Ranier. I found Greenloop with its reliance on solar power and the outside world to be the perfect setting for a disaster.
Max Brooks Enough said... I was in! I love a well-written horror book or movie. Both Devolution and World War Z kept me reading late into the night with the bedroom door locked, blankets drawn up over my chin, and lights blazing.
What Kept Me Awake At Night
Max Brooks is a master at building suspense. In Devolution, he uses the senses to build suspense. First, Kate and other Greenloop residents smell 'something'. Then Kate thinks she sees something but is unable to accept what she's seeing. Her sixth sense leads Kate to believe that something is chasing her. Kate and the Greenloop residents hear the creatures. Finally, Brooks fully reveals the Bigfoot tribe, chaos and death ensue.
Why I recommend this book
The story of the Greenloop Massacre is told primarily through Kate's journal. It is also revealed through post-massacre interviews with Senior Ranger, Josephine Shell, and Kate's brother Frank McCray. The plot is supplemented through pre-massacre interviews of other characters like Mostar and Greenloop founder, Tony, that give needed background information. Max Brooks is a master of this style of story-telling.
Like any well-written horror story, Devolution explores more substantial themes. Personal themes like "What type of person are you at your core?" "What makes a tribe?" Evolutionary ideas such as "What defines intelligence?" "How evolutionary and behaviorally close are humans and the ape species?" "What happens in an environment when the apex predator changes?" How important is it evolve or devolve?"