In Keith Rosson’s chilling novel Road Seven, two men set out in search of the unknown, but karma catches up to them.
Mark is a disgraced cryptozoologist who’s eager to leave the country; he hopes to escape the darkness of his past. Grainy footage of an alleged unicorn sighting provides the perfect excuse to leave. Mark rushes to a small island off of the coast of Iceland, accompanied by an assistant with equal reason to flee. The two arrive and set up base on a local woman’s farm. They are shocked to discover a US military base nearby, and that the forests are brimming with darkness.
The alleged unicorn hooks the imagination, but it’s also the least unusual aspect of Mark’s adventure. Mysteries stack up: about why the locals are hostile, about the purpose of the military base, and about the dangers lurking in the forest. They connect to each other in a masterful fashion. As Mark and his assistant deal with the escalating threats, the text becomes tense and difficult to look away from.
Inventive and empathetic, the novel is populated by broken people with deep flaws whose relationships are troubled. The alien abduction novel that catapulted Mark to fame factors in; his assistant also harbors secrets. Both men are unreliable, compelling, and human. Then WWII ghosts and unspeakable monstrosities appear, and the truth beckons.
The text’s perspective shifts between Mark and Brian, and between the first and third person. Such jarring changes maximize its tension. Cross-genre elements— including personalized, existential horror; noir threats; and the unsettling unknown—result in a disconcerting adventure whose dark humor prevails.
Darkly comic and brimming with flawed characters, Road Seven examines the price of knowledge as the unknown becomes horrific.
John M. Murray
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