20. The Return by Bentley Little (2002)
Length: 354 pages
The population of the tiny town of Springerville, Arizona is steeped in a variety of legends and myths. Perhaps the most famous of those legends is that of the Mogollon Monster – a hideous half-human, half-animalistic creature that thrives on influencing the mentalities and emotions of either human beings or any species in the animal kingdom. The creature then basks in the resulting chaos that is created by such heightened tensions. The story of Springerville’s Mogollon Monster has certainly become legendary, if only because of the number of times the story has been told and retold.
Yet everyone understands that there is really no such thing as the Mogollon Monster. It’s all just a legend – an elaborate campfire story told by the locals to attract gullible tourists. After all, visiting tourists love to hear all about the mysterious legends associated with the town; perhaps it gives Springerville something of a macabre reputation – but everyone loves to be scared, right?
This is the most prevalent way of thinking, anyway. At least, it is until an excavation team unearths something very strange. The figurine of screaming woman, the jawbone of a deformed animal, and a child’s toy are all found buried together. While this is definitely an odd occurrence, no one expects what happens next.
The townspeople soon begin hearing strange noises in the night, then there is an exceedingly foul odor lingering in the air, and a man’s face is found hanging from a tree. Now the locals are making sure to lock their doors. Because after sundown, the campfire stories can seem to take on lives of their own – and legends become very, very real.
First of all, let me say that I really enjoyed reading this book. The story was certainly very well-developed and captured my attention right away. In my opinion, this was a uniquely intriguing plot that dealt with the horror in an unusual way. However, I also have to say that I found the story to be slightly longer than I thought it actually needed to be. I would give this book a B+!
B+! – (85-89%)
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight