Cory and Greg have been best friends since high school despite being completely different people. Now, in their fifties, the men's lives have taken very different paths. However, they still meet up for their annual hunting trip in the Canadian Rockies. While on their trip, Cory and Greg follow a large monarch Elk into the Tochquinlan Range, a sacred but uninhabited area of the First Nations People. Cory's grandfather told him stories of his ancestors and the Shaman who turned to evil and is believed to now be a Skudakumooch, a ghost which. After Cory and Greg enter the Tochquinlan range, their luck turns sour. They are hunted by a grizzly with haunting grey eyes and the Elk leads them into the hoodoos. Cory seems to be obsessed with finding the Elk at all costs. As the Elk leads the pair into a cave system, they will learn exactly what that cost is.
Skudakumooch, the ghost witch. The title alone was enough to pull me in. I loved that this is based on Native American folklore and it led me to look into more Native stories of the Skudakumooch. The writing is a slow burn of suspense building as the two men travel into the woods. As the Skudakumooch appeared in different ways, it wasn't always apparent what the Skudakumooch wanted from them. The descriptions of the Tochquinlan Range, the hoodoos and the especially creepy cave added to the uneasy feeling of the story. The men's relationship was another important part of the story that I enjoyed as Greg reminisced about their time growing up together and began to pinpoint the times people said strange things about Cory. I did want a little more out of their friendship, but the connection was still good. As the Skudakumooch grows in power and presence the grotesque and horror elements of the story come into full view as chaos erupts. There was also an underlying theme of environmental preservation; however, I'm not sure that the Skudakumooch is the protector or the destroyer.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.