Beasts of the Caliber Lodge by L.J. Dougherty

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This was a thrilling little read, one that I enjoyed losing myself in, and it didn’t take long to fall under Dougherty’s spell and charming story – it was escapism and a story that didn’t take itself too seriously, which I feel is why I enjoyed it so much!

You see I really enjoyed the Amazon Original TV show ‘Hunters’ where a band of Nazi Hunters go about tracking down and dispatching Nazi’s that had found their way into a normal life after the war, high profile officers that had managed to escape were living secret lives until the Hunters found them and enacted their revenge. But what I feel that show was missing and I can’t believe I’m writing this now was a Sasquatch storyline.

It’s been known I wasn’t a fan of Max Brooks’ ‘Devolution’ it took an age to get going and only the last third of the book saved it from being a DNF (when the action finally got underway) – but do you know what I feel that book was missing – a Nazi hunting plot!

With ‘Beasts of the Caliber Lodge’ Dougherty has been able to blend both these story plots Sasquatch and Nazi Hunting into an unrelenting mystery come horror come action adventure.

But having said that, there were moments that I felt the story dipped and some of these threads were lost to further the plot and the develop of characters (there was a lot of exposition when for me I felt it didn’t need to be) – two of the characters that we come to learn about over numerous pages and chapters seemed only to serve as cannon fodder for the greater story that Dougherty was trying to put across – their demise for me, didn’t really leave me shocked as I’d not grown attached to them.

Having said that though the main protagonists Levi, Jimmy and Stengl were some of the highlights – I also enjoyed Turk who reminded me of the Muldoon character from Jurassic Park – a hunter / tracker that although was quite stereotypical it felt the story would not have been the same without him.

The Nazi hunting elements for me was where the story really excelled – it was exceptionally done and the opening few chapters were a sheer delight to read. The Sasquatch elements although again well done did seem a bit of a shoehorn into this already busy story, but Dougherty enables this to work with the use of some flashback chapters to show the interconnectedness of the devices that he chose to use.

But there was a part in this story where both of these devices (key devices to the story) seemed to disappear for a few chapters as we got to know the characters and I felt that the tension and the action created in the opening chapters was lost as we got to know these new characters – which was a shame.

But once we return from the hunting trip Dougherty drums that tension back up again and the last third of the novel turns into a fierce and bloody conclusion – the gore and action when the Sasquatch come fully into the story was well done and brutal.

I enjoyed this story, I’d have preferred more cat and mouse with the Nazi Hunting aspects which I thought was the strongest parts of the novel, but I have to say I enjoyed this book a whole lot more than I did Max Brooks’ Devolution – which is a huge compliment for the writing of L.J. Dougherty.

Beasts of the Caliber Lodge is available here.

L.J. Dougherty

Writer of Horror. ‘BEASTS of the CALIBER LODGE’ – Available Now on Amazon

Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

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