Northwoods

Northwoods

by Bill Schweigart

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804181372
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/16/2016
Series: The Fatal Folklore Trilogy , #2
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 277
Sales rank: 1,438
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Bill Schweigart is the author of The Beast of Barcroft and Slipping the Cable. He lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife and daughter, who provide him with all the adventure he needs.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Resident Agent Davis Holland

October

Barnabus, Minnesota

They were first detected by one of the sensors dotting the northern border. The sensor, located in a deeply forested area known for previous illegal crossings, sent its signal to the Operational Integration Center in Detroit, which in turn dispatched an unmanned aircraft for a closer look. With its aperture radar and high-powered camera, the Predator B drone sailed several thousand feet above them, unperturbed by the rugged terrain below. The drone then beamed its images back to the agents in Detroit, who were decidedly more perturbed by what the images showed: nothing. Normally, the drones could discern animal tracks from human tracks from high above, but this time the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents scratched their heads. There wasn’t a thing to see. The weather was deteriorating too quickly, snow obliterating any tracks. They sent it for another pass, and again, nothing.

By the time Davis Holland received the notification in the early morning hours, the information—which had bounced back and forth from sensors to operation center to aircraft and back again—could hardly be called intelligence. All Davis knew was that there had been a crossing. Of what, he had no idea. The drone was normally an excellent tool for identifying whether a group was illegal immigrants or armed terrorists. This morning, the images on his laptop were useless, the intelligence barely actionable. For all he knew it was a herd of moose wandering out of Canada. Do moose travel in herds? he wondered.

Davis looked at the clock on the corner of his laptop’s screen: 3:30 a.m. He sighed and put on the coffee. Not like I was sleeping anyway, he thought.

As he waited for the coffee to brew, he went to the apartment’s frosted window and peered into the darkness, watching the snow swirl past. He swiped the glass with his palm and wiped it on his sweatpants. The evergreens at the woodline of his complex were already collecting the wet, heavy snow in their branches, which were just beginning to sag under the weight. It was the first snow of the season, and that made the timing of this crossing a little too convenient.

What a difference a year makes, he thought.

He never saw snow like this in Douglas, Arizona. This time last year, he was still sweltering there, as an agent for Customs and Border Protection. It had been as dry and dusty as Afghanistan and just as deadly. With less than a year there, his supervisors thought it best to draft him into CBP’s Resident Agent Program, and as such, as far away from southeast Arizona as possible. He was in no mind to argue.

It was a matter of risk, they had told him. Risk was a function of threat and vulnerability and consequence. No one ever contested the well-documented and highly publicized threats to the southern border. Davis knew them all too well himself. For every innocent looking to cross into the United States for a better life, there were smugglers, gunrunners, and hardened killers looking to infect America like a cancer. And Davis fancied himself as the baddest white-blood cell around. Then there was Agua Prieta, just over the border from Douglas, which stripped him of his braggadocio and so much else, leaving him a hollowed-out husk like so many cars littering Douglas’s dusty roads.

The quiet risk, they told him then, was the northern border. And as for consequence, after Douglas he hadn’t a thing left to lose. The northern border may seem less threatening, but its vulnerability was higher. In the Grand Forks Sector alone, which included North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, there was nearly nine hundred miles of border, much of it in forested areas broken up by small, isolated towns. Towns with limited infrastructure and spotty cellular service.

Towns like Barnabus, Minnesota.

The town was located on the western edge of Superior National Forest. To the immediate north lay the town of Crane Lake and the Canadian border. Barnabus and its surrounding areas were all considered Davis’s territory. The nearest CBP asset was Station International Falls, located sixty miles to the west as the crow flies. Except traveling wasn’t that simple in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes. Even without the heavy snowfall, the region was difficult to pass through, riddled with finger lakes and blockaded by forest. By car, International Falls was eighty miles, and the next-closest station, Grand Marais, Michigan, on Lake Superior, was two hundred miles away. As far as the federal government was concerned, between these two stations Resident Agent Davis Holland was Customs and Border Protection.

CBP couldn’t reasonably construct stations in tiny outposts like Barnabus, so the Resident Agent Program was born. Armed with cellular boosters, and Heckler & Koch P2000 semiautomatic pistols, resident agents were assigned large territories, but lived in these small communities, where they would work out of their homes. Growing up outside of Atlanta then joining the army, Davis had no idea what a black southerner should expect of the “Great White North.” He was surprised to find he actually liked Barnabus. It was calm, quiet, and peaceful—a good place to sort himself out. The people didn’t crowd him, yet they were as warm and open as the folks he remembered from Georgia. They knew his job was to protect them, and in their many small acts of kindness—baked goods, discounts at the diner, a friendly wave or nod from everyone—he sensed their appreciation and that they took pride in protecting him too. The town had taken him under its wing, and though he had been there less than a year, he considered Barnabus his town. He acted as their umbilical cord, their liaison, into CBP and, by extension, into the federal government. He cooperated with the state and locals, performed community outreach, and collected intelligence on area bad guys and suspicious activity. And of course, he patrolled the border.

Which is what I’m fixing to do, he thought, even in this weather.

He walked into his bedroom and paused in the doorway, staring at his closet. There was no need to open the safe. The safe sat inside, draped in a blanket, like a piece of furniture in a haunted house from an old black-and-white movie. No call for it, even if it was some sort of crossing, he told himself. He did a quick inventory in his mind, then thought NVGs. Shit. He pulled the blanket aside and punched in the code without turning on the closet light. He pulled the lever, but rather than swing the door open wide, he snaked his arm inside and patted around until he found the night vision goggles.

He geared up his CBP vest and dialed his cellphone.

After some fumbling, Barnabus’s sheriff answered, his voice groggy, “Ramsey here.”

“Bored?” asked Davis.

“So bored I was sleeping.” Davis heard Gil Ramsey’s mattress creak as he got out of bed and murmured reassurances to his wife. “What’s up?”

“Want to go for a ride?”

“Are you aware it’s snowing cats, dogs, and a goddamn ark’s worth of beasts out there?”

“That’s why I’m calling you. I can’t drive in this shit.”

Gil grunted and Davis thought he detected a smile on the other end of the line.

“What’s up?” asked the sheriff.

“A little recon. I’ll explain on the way. Trust me, you won’t even have to get out of the truck.”

Gil Ramsey was idling in the driveway, the wipers of his Suburban beating fast as Davis padded out into the parking lot of his apartment complex, dressed in tactical gear. Gil took one look at Davis and snorted. “Nice camo.”

“I could sneak up on you like midnight.”

“Shit,” Gil laughed. Pushing fifty, Sheriff Ramsey was more than fifteen years Davis’s senior, but the Army had taken Davis around the world, something Gil couldn’t claim. Fort Benning, Georgia, was as far as Gil had ever gotten out of Minnesota, where a bad landing at jump school banged up his knee enough to cut short a promising paratrooper career in the army. Still, they shared a shorthand and helped each other out: Gil shared all the local intel he could, and Davis returned the favor by bringing him along on recon patrols for a little excitement—something in short supply in Barnabus.

Not far from Barnabus, the water border was at its narrowest, allowing a party with a boat (or boats) relatively easy access to the United States. The land sensors had picked up something on a southwesterly course, heading deeper into the country, the water at its back. That was all the information Davis had and he shared it with Gil as they drove south on Route 24 out of town. Past Echo Lake, they turned left and headed east on Echo Trail, driving right through the heart of Superior National Forest. They pulled off onto a small, unmarked trail and drove deep enough to conceal the vehicle from the road.

“I just want to get a visual and give Detroit a SITREP. I’ll hike in. Just keep the truck warm.”

“Nice try.”

Gil stripped off his orange hunting parka to reveal his hunting fatigues and his sheriff’s weapons belt.

“Gil, come on. I can hike in and out faster by myself. It’s probably just a herd of animals.”

“Well then, maybe I’ll tag one.”

“It’s turkey season.”

“Maybe I’ll get one of those too.”

“Come on,” Davis said, rubbing the back of his neck and looking toward the woods. “This is kind of an op . . .”

“Does Detroit even know you’re out here?”

Davis looked into the forest, trying to conceal his sly smile.

“I only have one pair of NVGs.”

“Night vision goggles? Please. You’re in my sandbox now,” said Gil. “Last one to put eyes on a tango springs for breakfast.”

As Davis was affixing the goggles to his face, Gil disappeared into the treeline. “Just try to keep up, rookie.”

Customer Reviews

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Northwoods 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read Beast of Barcroft first as characters return in this book. Great supernatural, monster hunter series for adults. Creepy and amusing at the same time. Good vs evil at its best. So glad I discovered this author and cant wait for his next book!! Have to mention, Gus, the cat and Ben and Lindsey! Great characters!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keep them coming!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Z
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me reading all night long. Love the supernatural story line.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good horror story. Biggest complaint would be chapter 38. Didn't see that one coming and didn't like it.
Bev_Ash More than 1 year ago
I read The Beast of Barcroft in 2015 and really enjoyed it so I was glad to get the opportunity to read Northwoods. The storyline has all the familar characters--Lindsay, Ben, Richard, and Alex. We also get to meet a few new characters, and Gus the cat. As you get to know everyone you find yourself rooting for them to succeed. The story is exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat. This book, Northwoods, is definitely as good as The Beast of Barcroft. If you like a good horror story give them both a try. I received this ebook free from NetGalley for an honest review.
Sodapop74 More than 1 year ago
Wow!!! This book was really good! If you like supernatural things come to life, action and adventure, then you will really like this book. It is really well written and I really felt like I was on that ice with the people in the book. My heart was in my throat! Ben and Lindsay reunite with Alex in Alex's stomping grounds. Something is killing people and it isn't pretty. The author makes the monsters very believable! I really hope that there will be another book with this group!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Def read Beast of Barcroft first. Both book good, fast paced reads. Can't wait for the third book.
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars Northwoods was not what I was expecting from a sequel to The Beast of Barcroft. As I mentioned in my review of that book, I hoped to learn more about the relationship between Richard Severance and Alex Standingcloud; instead, I got both more and less than I wanted. On the plus side, Bill Schweigart did a wonderful job in developing Standingcloud's character, correcting the primary flaw I identified in The Beast of Barcroft. Unfortunately, this gain was more than offset by the negatives: Severance remained a cipher; Ben McKelvie and Lindsay Clark, the stars of The Beast of Barcroft, received little attention; and the plot, by introducing not one, but two, new supernatural threats, was messy. Had Schweigart limited the story to the mysterious chest and its resident hyenas, the book would have been stronger. Northwoods, despite its failure to fully live up to the promise of The Beast of Barcroft, was nevertheless a very enjoyable read. I look forward to seeing where Schweigart takes his characters in the third book of the series. I received a free copy of Northwoods through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
rsm_bedford More than 1 year ago
Bill did it again, good story, fast moving, no filler, would make a good movie, enjoy the book but don't read it at night alone in the dark.
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
This one ended up being okay for me. I liked it but not nearly as much as I liked this author's previous book, The Beast of Bancroft. I had no idea that this book was part of a series and still don't see it listed as such anywhere that I looked but it does feature many of the same characters. Readers will probably be okay reading this one as a stand alone but they will miss out on a few references to the first book. I was actually really happy to see some of the characters from The Beast of Bancroft show up in this story. Ben McKelvie and Lindsay Clark were great together in the first book. Unfortunately they spent more time apart during this story and I didn't like Lindsay as much. Alex Standingcloud played a much more prominent role in this book and I really liked his character. Some new characters were also introduced and I really liked Davis Holland a lot. I think my biggest issue was that there was just too much going on in the book at times. There were several different creatures show up in the book instead of focusing on one kind of monster. The characters split up from each other and a lot of the action seemed to really be happening at the same time just to different people. I like a lot of action but it seemed that when things started going in this book there wasn't even time to breathe. I love the idea behind this book. Everything that we believe is myth could be real. I really enjoyed the focus on Native American legend in this book. When I picked this book up, I was hoping for something bloody with a lot of action and it succeeded in both of those areas. Some of the things that happen in this story really made my skin crawl. I loved the creepy factor in this book. I would recommend this book to others. It was a really solid read with a lot of action. The cryptid mythology that shows up in this book was really a lot of fun. This is the second book by Bill Schweigart that I have had a chance to read and I look forward to reading more of his work in the future. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Hydra via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
birdladyvm More than 1 year ago
I love Bill Schweigart novels, and I feel sure you will also. The beginning chapter is action packed with horror, blood, guts, gore, and unexplained happenings as something deadly and evil has come to the Superior National Forrest outside Barnabus Minnesota. Davis Holland, Agent for Customs and Border Protection, another flawed hero, is thrown immediately into the middle of the action. Agent Holland receives a report of intrusion from the border and investigates along with Sheriff Gil Ramsey. The horror they face is mine boggling. Mysterious blinding lights, a dark entity of the darkest evil, a savage bite, an intriguing chest, and savaged dead bodies, is just the beginning and sets up the story. From this point, the book steam rolls along without any hesitation or missteps. The original heroes in Beast of Barcroft, Ben McKelvie, Richard Severance, Alexander Standingcloud, and Lindsay Clark, are back again to look evil in the face and chase down another monster. We learn more about Alex Standingcloud in this book. Billionaire Richard Severance has called the team back together again to investigate strange things happening on Red Cliff Reservation near Bayfield Wisconsin in which buried bodies are desecrated. A Native American evil monster has been seen; they will find that bodies on the Four Hills Reservation Superior National Forest Minnesota have suffered defilement as well. Something is loose and hungry! Suspense Level: Bill Schweigart has written another horror book of the first order. This book review was easy to write; his talent is inspiring. I hope I can do the book justice. This book starts with a bang and continues from there to the final page. I found it to be a fast paced thrill ride with horrors and monsters; you can almost feel the evil. My attention never waned as Mr. Schweigart set the story up expertly, held my attention, and continued to intrigue throughout the book. Mr. Schweigart wove these evil events into one tale of monsters and mystical creatures. Characters, Plotting And Development As with his previous book offering, Mr. Schweigart starts the action early and weaves a story that will hold your attention throughout the book. The character development and pacing of the story was great; he leaves you panting for more. I can’t wait for the next novel in this series. He has the ability to draw you into the story with the written word. He has created another frightening story of monsters and evil, wove all the threads of the tale together and created a cohesive story. Our new cast of characters Gil, Davis and others have their faults, flaws and insecurities as well. Mr. Schweigart skillfully portrays his character as we are, and shows as humans we have the ability to become and do more than we think. Recommendation: This book is a stand-alone, however, I recommend reading the Beast of Barcroft, the 1st book of the series, as you will get the back story of Ben, Richard, Alex, and Lindsay; as an added bonus it is a great novel. Mr. Schweigart’s characters are not portrayed as knights in shining armor; they are portrayed as we are, a little tarnished and with all our baggage. I recommend this book to mature readers. I received this book from the publisher and Netgalley in return for an honest book review. Book reviews are dependent upon the book review authors opinion, book reviews on line and on my blog verasbookreviewsandstuff are my opinion
TRINDA More than 1 year ago
Great horrific read!! Loved it. Kept me hanging on the edge of my seat. Enjoyed the bits of humor too. Can't wait to read the next book. Definitely recommended to all horror fans.
Wanda_M More than 1 year ago
The intrigue alone had me hooked from page one of wanting to know what was about to happen to whom and when. The suspense was wide spread along with fear and dread all through the book. The story was also filled with horror and apprehension of what might be revealed. I felt as though I was walking into a science fiction movie filled with bad omens and monsters. Something had to be amiss in the Northwoods. A lot of intense moments and fast-paced tales of the supernatural kept me on the edge of my seat. I read faster as the excitement mounted. There were a lot of questions that Davis Holland needed answers to and he was going to get them no matter what. I liked the way he delved into the story and left no stone unturned, so to speak. And this made me think of a hero that had hopefully come to their rescue. But will he get there too late? I was completely spellbound during the whole story. One scene in particular was when Lindsay was on the bluff overlooking the lake when she saw the predators coming, and as she checked the safety on her gun, I actually heard her boots as she crunched through the snow and slowly crept towards them and the excitement of what lay ahead drew me in deeper. This interesting read with its wonderful characters, and bitterly cold climate made me feel like I needed to bundle up myself just to keep warm as I kept reading. What was out there in the Northwoods that kept terrifying and attacking everyone? Where was it coming from? Could it be from the chest that set out in the open and seemed to turn the story into a living nightmare? I loved it! A must read!
jayfwms More than 1 year ago
Even better than "The Best of Barwick," this book carries the supernatural power and the bravery of the characters to the limit. It turns out the creatures of legend are base on reality, and can bleed through from the dimension they dwell in. The characters from Beast are back, joined by an agent from the Border Patrol. The writing carries just enough detail to make the area around Lake Superior come alive in the reader's mind. The action is brutal and frightening, and drives the suspense through the book. Several subplots come into play without detracting from the main story line. You get a fine description of humans being forced to deal with the unhuman. Definitely an imaginative and exciting read.
ScifiandScary More than 1 year ago
Ben, Lindsay (and Alex) are back! Ben and Lindsay are such an interesting pair. In The Beast of Barcroft, for a while it seemed like something was going to develop between them, but luckily Schweigart kept his senses about him. Now the two are an unlikely pairing of friends united by trauma, sharing a connection – if not that same closeness – with Alex Standingcloud. (As Rowling said in the first Harry Potter book “There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other”. ) And Richard Severance, crypto-zoologist and dude with just a little too much money on his hands – is perfectly willing to exploit those bonds and send his ‘team’ out on investigations for him. In Northwoods, there’s a mysterious chest surrounded by murder, a CBP agent who is trying to figure out what is invading the area he’s been charged with protecting, and a monster that is deeply scary. Unfortunately, Northwoods lacks some of the grounding/believability that made The Beast of Barcroft work so well. The author takes to some flights of fancy with his descriptions that, on occasion, veer off a little too much and can detract from the story. However, that weakness is quickly covered and made up for by sheer fun in a Hell-Yeah-Here-It-Comes, no-holds-barred, epic action scene climax that is written in such a way that you don’t read it. You see it. Where Schweigart might have fumbled the ball a bit early on, this kick goes straight between the goal posts and wins the game. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
tpolen More than 1 year ago
I didn't read the first book in this series, The Beast of Barcroft, but the author incorporates enough details in this story so that I got the gist of what happened. I always enjoy getting cozy with a good horror story and Northwoods didn't disappoint - it's slightly reminiscent of one of my fav shows, X-Files. Each chapter is a different character POV, and although some readers may find that distracting, I think it adds a broader scope to the plot. This is a fast-paced, chilling read, which is gory at times, and I found the Native American mythology fascinating. Not knowing the fate of some characters at times was especially suspenseful and nerve-wracking. Although this book is pretty evenly balanced between being character vs. action-oriented, I didn't feel like I connected with the characters as much, which I suspect is because I haven't read the first book. Even though the author provides details of backstories from the The Beast of Barcroft, I generally prefer to read things in sequence and have the complete picture before going in, but that may not be an issue for other readers. This series has found a new fan in me and I'll be anxiously waiting for the next book, and reading the first one in the meantime. This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the first book and thus one. Great author.