The Devil’s Colony by Bill Schweigart

July 21, 2017

Please note, The Devil’s Colony is the final part of the Fatal Folklore Trilogy. It is entirely possible if you haven’t read books one and two then this review could contain some minor spoilery type elements and stuff. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Ben McKelvie had a good job, a nice house, a beautiful fiancée . . . until a bloodthirsty shapeshifter took everything away. Ever since, he’s been chasing supernatural phenomena all across the country, aided by dedicated zoologist Lindsay Clark and wealthy cryptozoologist Richard Severance.

Now they face their deadliest challenge yet. In the New Jersey Pine Barrens, a man named Henry Drexler operates a private compound called Välkommen, which is Swedish for “welcome.” Indeed, Drexler welcomes all visitors—so long as they’re racists, neo-Nazis, or otherwise in cahoots with the alt-right. But Drexler is no mere Hitler wannabe. Once he was Severance’s mentor, and his research may well have summoned a monster to the Pine Barrens.

To find out the truth, Ben and Lindsay must enter the camp incognito. There, under the watchful eyes of Drexler’s bodyguards and sociopathic son, they will learn that the most dangerous beasts lurk in the human heart.

Back at the tail end of 2015, I read The Beast of Barcroft by Bill Schweigart. It’s a great folklore/monster mash-up with some fun characters and entertaining plot.  In 2016 Northwoods, the sequel, appeared and the monstrous mayhem continued. Once again, I was impressed with the author and his ability to create a self-contained story that also managed to expand the universe he had already created. In The Devil’s Colony, Bill Schweigart has upped the ante once again. What’s worse than facing off against hordes of brutal, bloodthirsty monsters? How about facing off against hordes of brutal, bloodthirsty monsters and some nasty small minded, bigoted Nazis.

One of the things I like most about this book and its predecessors, are the characters. As the stakes of each plot have continued to grow, Bill Schweigart has done an admirable job of letting his characters evolve along with them. It’s not just Ben McKelvie and Lindsay Clark who have been changed by the extraordinary situations they have found themselves in. Their colleagues Richard, Alex and Davis have also all been changed. The evolution of each character continues in The Devil’s Colony. The harrowing experiences of the past have left marks both physical and mental on each of them. Discovering that the creatures of folklore are real has been a shock to them. The team’s latest investigation may just be that one step too far. The truth is finally set to be revealed, and I’ve got to admit, I was not expecting things to turn out the way they did. I like it when an author throws me a curve like that.

I’ve been thinking about the best way to describe The Devil’s Colony, and the most appropriate comparison I can come up with is this; think of a book that is made up of the following component parts – The X Files (the monster specific episodes not the alien ones), Supernatural (the monster specific episodes not the angelic ones) and The Night Stalker (realistically pretty much all of it). Mix them all together and you’re pretty much there.

I’m always a little sad when a series of books I’ve enjoyed comes to an end. The Devil’s Colony is a fitting end to a trilogy that has been hugely entertaining. If you haven’t experienced The Beast of Barcroft, Northwoods and The Devil’s Colony I suggest you give them a try. Nothing better than a bit of monster mayhem with characters that feel genuine and well crafted.

My musical recommendation to accompany The Devil’s Colony, and in fact all of the books in this series, is the soundtrack to the independent movie Monsters. Jon Hopkins music is the ideal companion to Bill Schweigart’s fiction.

The Devil’s Colony is published by Random House and available now

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