The story follows Jeff Bennett, who has come to Kodiak to fulfill a promise to his recently deceased father. His arrival stirs an unknown enemy—Aouachala, a Sun’Aq shaman trapped forever in the body of a brown bear. To destroy the bloodline of his adversary, he uses his powers to hunt Jeff and anyone else who gets in the way. Jeff must seek the assistance and friendship of Merrick Polasky, a descendant of Aouachala as well as a modern day shaman who has yet to realize his powers, in order to save himself and Kodiak. From Alaska to Minnesota to the desolation of Siberia, the men must work together to defeat the White Faced Bear, but before they can take down the powerful magician, they must learn to say goodbye to their fathers and conquer their inner demons.
Indeed, this is a ‘man’s book’ all the way through. The primary characters possess extraordinary survival and hunting skills, are extremely intelligent and dead-on marksmen. (If you want to learn a thing or two about firearms and effective ammunition, this is the book for you!) They work hard, play harder, enjoy a few beers at the bar at the end of a long day… and do not shirk away from a good brawl when the mood hits them. These are the underdogs you root for in the movies. They always win.
You can see pieces of an author in every story they write. Hobbies, morals and beliefs, memories… every creation is an unintended tribute to its creator. Some say a ‘muse’ helps bring the characters to life, but I soundly believe that experience is what makes the characters in a story so convincing. McCoy’s book is a perfect example. Everything about it, from locations to occupations, is written with a depth of knowledge and detail that only someone with first hand experience could provide. And it is this prime example of an author ‘writing what they know’ that makes the novel such a smooth and steady read.
The White Faced Bear is a strong addition to Belfire Press’ growing list of stellar titles. Flawless editing, fantastic artwork, and an impressive story make this book a must read for anyone that appreciates the great outdoors… and horror with a bite.
Reviewed by Jezzy Wolfe