Wednesday, May 31, 2017

ARARAT by Christopher Golden

Ararat is set in that always dependable horror environment:  the cold, unyielding snow. It also works as a pretty effective locked-room thriller as well, taking place almost entirely in a recently-opened cave thousands of miles high up on the side of a mountain. In it, a group of scientists and adventurers discover what they believe to be the mummified wreck of Noah's Ark. But it really starts to get freaky once they find a tomb there with a body inside. A body with horns on its head.

As I mentioned before, the location sets a great mood and Golden does a good job at maintaining the atmosphere and the isolation of being stuck in a 4,000 year old shipwreck in a never-ending snowstorm. What's pretty potent in the middle section of the book is the feeling of paranoia that begins to infect the group.

The book never really took off for me though. Golden seemed to be skirting around a lot of interesting ideas and great moments but never really nailing it the way I'd hoped. Some of the conflicts and plot twists came off as strained and artificial. It wasn't terrible but when it features such great material for a premise, and it's effective setting, I expected to be more engaged and affected than I was. Golden does some solid writing here but it feels as if a stronger writer would have taken this story and killed it! Ararat may make for a good summer read thriller for some though, along the lines of Michael Crichton, Dan Simmons, or Dan Brown.


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