The Dark Land
Forty Mile Alaska Press (2020)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (05/21)
In “The Dark Land” by DM Shepard, former foster child Rose Long sets off on a mission into the Alaskan wilderness to find her now deceased foster mother’s missing son. Believing it to be her last wish, Rose wants to honor this request, even though it is wintertime in Alaska. Missing for two years, she expects to find either his remains or evidence of what happened to him. Concerned for her wellbeing, Rose’s childhood crush, Ulrick, surprises her at her foster mother’s cabin. Shortly after, they both realize they are in danger from a human-like creature. They soon discover that they are being followed and there are a lot of them. These creatures match the description of the Tailed Ones who come from Headless Ravine. They also appear to only be after Rose. Fighting for their lives outside in the cold elements against these creatures, Rose and Ulrick finally come to terms with their feelings for each other. Now they have even more reason to stay alive.
I loved reading “The Dark Land.” I had goosebumps through most of it! Seriously. My husband even asked me if I was cold. While I will admit the winter descriptions of the wilderness helped contribute to the goosebumps, the griping story about the ancient evil creatures were the main source. The description of the creatures plus their supernatural capabilities of moving around added a great deal to the suspense. It was also clear that they had some form of intelligence. When the secrets about them are revealed, and the protagonist truly gets an understanding of their evil ways, I felt like I was held captive while she was.
Adding the budding romance, and sexual tension between the hero and heroine helps complete the story. I liked the romantic elements because it adds something good to what is otherwise a very dark tale. In addition to writing a great story, the author also does a beautiful job of relaying what life is like out in the frigid Alaskan elements.
Having grown up in New Jersey, near the Pine Barrens, I used to be fascinated by tales about the Jersey Devil. I’ve always found stories about local creatures to be interesting. In “The Dark Land,” the Tailed Ones made me glad that I just had the Jersey Devil to worry about when I was growing up! I truly hope that more books will follow in this storyline. Readers who enjoy horror novels with supernatural elements will be thrilled with this one.