Shadowkiller

Shadowkiller

4.3 9
by Matthew Scott Hansen
     
 

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Every hair on Ty's body, the skin on his neck and arms, everything was clenched in a primeval fear stimulus response. In the thick of the woods not ten yards away stood a creature, manlike, apelike . . . some sort of hairy humanoid, like a gorilla standing upright on long legs. Motionless, it stared at Ty, and Ty froze dead in his tracks.

Jesus Christ,

…  See more details below

Overview

Every hair on Ty's body, the skin on his neck and arms, everything was clenched in a primeval fear stimulus response. In the thick of the woods not ten yards away stood a creature, manlike, apelike . . . some sort of hairy humanoid, like a gorilla standing upright on long legs. Motionless, it stared at Ty, and Ty froze dead in his tracks.

Jesus Christ, this is Bigfoot.

BIGFOOT IS ANGRY.

When careless campers unleash a raging forest fire, they inadvertently set in motion a blood-drenched spree of revenge. Motivated by the immolation of his family, a nearly eleven-foot-tall, preternaturally strong superprimate begins stalking the mountains northeast of Seattle, hunting the "small two-legs" he blames and leaving an eerie trail of missing people . . . but little else.

As people begin vanishing from nearby forests, former software magnate Ty Greenwood risks everything to find out why. Tormented by his encounter with a Bigfoot three years earlier, Ty's past now collides with what he suspects is happening. But this time he doesn't realize that the stakes are far higher.

In his search for two missing lawyers, Snohomish County Sheriff's Detective Mac Schneider discovers a spectacularly large footprint. Is it another hoax or is there really something to fear in the woods? Despite mounting evidence, Mac fears ridicule and is reluctant to reveal that the myth might in fact be a terrifying reality. Complicating everything for him is Kris Walker, a gorgeous but ruthless television reporter bent on getting the story at any cost.

Joining the quest is an old Native American actor with a troubling secret: Ben Campbell has a mystical connection to the beast. And while Ben's link with this fearsome and intelligent being haunts his dreams and could spell his doom, it may also prove to be the only key to stopping this ferocious, inhuman killing machine. Can they end his deadly rampage before he destroys everything they hold dear?

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the woods . . . The Shadowkiller will give even the most hard-core skeptic a reason to think twice before going camping.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Shadowkiller is a thrilling debut from a talented new writer. Matthew Scott Hansen has crafted an old-fashioned and very convincing campfire tale that will raise the hair on the back of your neck." — Nelson DeMille
Publishers Weekly
Hansen (Confessions of an Enron Executive with Lynn Brewer) makes his fiction debut with a predictable thriller about the legendary North American ape-man Bigfoot. After a fire set by humans claims the lives of a male Bigfoot's family, the creature goes on a rampage of revenge, killing and devouring countless victims in the Pacific Northwest. The authorities first get a sense that something unusual is transpiring when several people disappear, and large, mysterious tracks are found in the vicinity. Three men with different agendas track the beast: Ty Greenwood, a former software mogul shunned after he earlier reported sighting a Bigfoot; Chief Ben Eagleclaw, a Native American actor with a spiritual connection to the creature; and sheriff's detective Mac Schneider, who first finds concrete physical traces of the rampaging animal. Light on science and full of gruesome violence, this isn't in the same league as Jurassic Park, Jaws or Philip Kerr's Esau, an intelligent speculation concerning Bigfoot's Asian cousin, the Abominable Snowman. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A tale about Bigfoot filled with waxen prose, stick-figure characters and bad-TV dialogue. Hansen, whose last product was 2004's It's in the Book, Bob!, a Bob Eubanks bio co-written with the gameshow god, isn't big on subtlety. Boom! Trees splinter as a Weyerhaeuser truck driver mysteriously disappears in the Washington woods. Ty Greenwood, a Seattle dot-com tycoon, grabs a flagon of single malt, leaps into his 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing and hurtles through the night to kill himself, freaked because he's seen Bigfoot. Top-dollar lawyers go hiking and get crunched by Sasquatch, one of them departing earth like so: "...his neck had just suffered the catastrophic C2-C3 break, rendering his body from his shoulders to his toes into just so much flaccid meat." An ancient Indian chief wakes screaming on a Hollywood movie set, remembering his encounter decades past with...you guessed it, Bigfoot. A newscaster, bitchy but "drop-dead gorgeous," schemes toward the big time by getting the scoop on Hideous Hairy. And on and on. The Scary Movie antics mildly entertain, but what's truly frightening is that Hansenworld seems inhabited solely by broad-shouldered dudes, darling children, crusty-but-fair newspaper editors and guys with grunts for names (Mitch, Jack, Ben, Ty, Mac). Even more spine-searing are sentences like this, describing a hawk circling overhead: "Deep inside his small brain a circuit was receiving a vibration on the frequency band just slightly above that of his material world." Yeah, just like that. Story: not scary. Writing: terrifying.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416599210
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
04/17/2008
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

1

Had you asked him when he rolled out of bed that morning, Joe Wylie wasn't even remotely thinking about being first at anything. Being first had always eluded Joe — in birth order, in school, with women, with jobs, with pretty much everything. Something else Joe didn't think about very often was the fact he'd been married for twenty-four years. His wife Lori's unwavering daily consumption of handfuls of Ding Dongs and Double Fudge Yoo-hoos had doubled her weight since the day they were married. On top of that his nineteen-year-old daughter was over in Seattle shacked up with some dope-pushing jerk on a Harley and, maybe worse, his son had recently decided a nose ring would be a shrewd fashion statement.

Yet when Joe saw the nose ring, it didn't bother him, and that's when he realized he didn't have strong feelings about anything anymore. His sixteen-year-old had a ring in his nose and Joe didn't give a crap about that or anything else. Finally, he concluded, at forty-seven, it was nice to be all through with worrying. His rapidly receding hairline didn't even cause him the stress it used to, nor did his accumulating Budweiser gut. And he sure as hell didn't worry about his job, which wasn't particularly rewarding but paid well and was pretty frickin' easy. More or less drive a truck around in the woods, look at the trees, then tell your bosses they're still there. Piece of cake.

Uncharacteristically, Joe Wylie was actually thinking about his job as he steered up Access Road Number 4. Logging roads were rarely given descriptive, enchanting names like Pine Lake or Deer Hollow because they were only used to gain access to the seemingly boundless stores of timber owned by multinational conglomerates and, except for the rare logging crew, only people like Joe and kids looking for places to party made use of them. Road 4 was way the hell off the beaten track, high in the mountains, seven miles and four thousand feet above the last sign of civilization, a Weyerhaeuser equipment facility.

The day before, local kids had reported some busted trees up Road 4 and Joe was asked to investigate. Joe guessed it was probably the work of disgruntled, drunken loggers out of Sultan or Gold Bar. Joe had been timber cruising ten of the twenty-six years he'd been with Weyerhaeuser and little surprised him. He imagined the perpetrators were probably just vengeful independents put out of work either by his company or some damn owl or rare squirrel or something. He sort of sympathized with their frustration, but if they wanted to ruin trees, they could kindly go over to the national forest, or better yet, Buse Timber's property.

Joe fiddled with the radio, hoping to receive a Seattle station, but got only static. He remembered he was on the eastern edge of Snohomish County and that he almost never got good radio here. The dash clock's spindly hands indicated six forty. He wondered why the truck's manufacturer had bothered with such a shitty timepiece since it had never worked right. By the angle of the sun he reckoned it was about eight fifteen a.m.

From inside the paper sack on the floor he fished out another longneck Bud. He preferred the longnecks because they were easier to hold while he drove. For Joe they had the pleasant effect of rendering what could be completely stultifying work into the soothing vocational equivalent of easy-listening music.

Seven miles above the equipment station he slowed the truck as his eyes widened in wonder. A typically uneventful shift had suddenly become the jackpot of interesting mornings: ahead was something he had never seen in all his years in the woods. He stopped the truck and stepped down onto the damp hardpan. Clutching his coat tighter, Budweiser vapor swirling around his head, he stood and stared. Some broken trees, my ass. For fifty yards every tree on both sides of the road was snapped, maybe ten feet above the ground. Expecting two or three or even a half dozen, he quickly estimated a good hundred trees. This is crazy. This is big.

Joe walked down the lane of shattered fir and hemlock and tried to imagine who on earth had done this. And why? He'd seen the work of spiteful, drunken loggers but this was not that. Some of the trees were big, eight-inch-diameter second growth, yet all were splintered, some hanging by fibers, some clean off. Though he was an experienced woodsman, his mind whirled for answers but came up lemons. Brushing aside his dismay, he forced himself to tick off possibilities.

There had been no wind, so he ruled that out. Besides, he knew it would have taken a goddamn tornado to do this and that would have broken other trees, not just the ones facing the road. So his first conclusion was that this was planned. The notion irritated him because it was a waste of good timber, and if loggers had done this, then it wasn't just excusable rowdiness, it was vandalism, maybe even downright sabotage. Rolling the word sabotage around in his mind, he made a mental note to use it in his report.

As Joe's eyes swept the scene from the cold shadows to the sunlit treetops, he squinted, concentrating hard as to how this maliciousness had been carried out. It was then, despite the intake of several Buds and the fact it was not even eight thirty, that he unscrambled the puzzle. Somehow these really determined timber pirates — as he now labeled them — had gotten a big diesel scissors loader up here and somehow snapped the trees off. He'd never seen a scissors loader do that, and sure, there were a few extra somehows in there, but that must have been how it happened. The fact that the pirates hadn't seemed to have actually pirated any timber was another small detail Joe let slide in his solution.

Joe smiled contentedly as he pondered the fate of such vicious despoilers of his arboreal kingdom. But then his smile faded as he realized that all of the faint animal sounds had just disappeared. Though he heard the truck purring nearby, suddenly the birds and insects and whatever else that sang and chattered in the woods had fallen silent, as if someone had hit the pause button on the forest sounds tape.

A moment later something even more disturbing happened. At first it was as if sunlight warmed his back, only he knew the sun's rays had not yet reached beneath the trees to touch him. Then Joe realized it was really more of a creeping-up-the-spine force, like someone watching you but there's no one there. He'd felt it before in the woods and had chalked it up to once in a while just feeling something eerie you can't explain. Dismissing things was Joe's path of least resistance, but this time the sensation bothered him, even scared him. He nervously scanned the woods but saw nothing. Suddenly he felt very alone, so he headed toward the safe haven of his truck.

A few yards from the refuge of his beat-up Chevy, a noise behind him caused Joe to spin around. The human mind can identify a threat in a tenth of second and it took about that long for Joe to realize he was in grave danger. And either despite or because of the extreme stress, his brain also reached the rather academic conclusion that in all those years he'd never believed it existed. Until now.

That's when the air and his vision and his thoughts became clearer than crystal, and it suddenly didn't matter if his kid had a nose ring or if his wife had porked out, because everything was about to change for him. Joe suddenly gave a crap again, because you always do when you're about to die. And with that supreme clarity of cognition he also understood he was about to check out in a very bad way, much worse than a car crash or house fire or gunshot to the chest, and a life-sucking chill rippled through his temples into his neck, down his spine, and jumped to his scrotum, which tightened up like a sea monkey in reverse. Joe's knees wavered, then buckled, and the two Buds that had gathered in his bladder drained into his pants.

Because for the first time in his life, Joe was about to be first.

Seven miles below at the equipment station, twenty minutes had elapsed since Chuck Pendleton waved to Joe Wylie as his truck passed. Chuck readied a couple of quarts of fifty-weight to pour into one of the big D8R Cats he maintained in his yard. As he punched the filler spout into an oil can, he thought he heard something. He set the can down and listened. Faint, it sure sounded like a scream. He shrugged, lit another Winston, and picked up the can.

Must have been the gate creaking.

Copyright © 2007 by Matthew Scott Hansen

Meet the Author

Matthew Scott Hansen resides in southern California with his wife and son and their two dogs and three cats. This is his first novel.

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