Warning! This blog contains spoilers!
Hold The Dark promises to be a novel about Russell Core, an old widower who goes out and searches for the remains of a young child taken away by wolves. He is an expert on wolf behaviour and travels to Alaska on the request of the mother’s child, Medora Slone. She wants to be able to show the child’s remains to his father Vernon, currently in Afghanistan. Core finds the wolves and the child, strangled and frozen in the cellar of his home. Hold The Dark then becomes a novel about a mother on the run, a father and his best friend Cheeon on her trail and the police, helped by Core, on all of their trails. It becomes apparent then why Medora has killed her child: if he resembles his father even slightly he is a natural born killer. Vernon and Cheeon start killing of people with an ease that I found revolting. In the mere 160 pages of the novel they manage to kill police, past friends, people who stand in their way, anyone. Cheeon gets killed in the process, Vernon manages to find his wife. Instead of killing her, they reunite passionately. Core who is forced to witness their reunion then understands what binds the two: they are twins, inseparate from the start. Husband and wife manage to escape and hide, with the help of their mother and their village. Community and family rate higher to them than having killed outsiders. I found that the many deaths and especially the ruthless way those people were killed dominated the novel. Giraldi might have wanted to talk about family, lonelyness or community, he buried those aspects underneath too many corpses. I did not like reading about the killings, I did not feel that there was a reason to them (just sheer mindless killing) and I felt it was all too much. If you like novels about natural born killers go ahead and read this novel, if not, just skip this one.