Tom Richards is about to lose everything. In an effort to save his failing marriage and get out of crippling debt, the 45-year-old truck driver, along with his German Shepherd, Presley, takes on the dangerous job of driving across the isolated Dalton Highway through Alaska’s wilderness. Tom soon realises that there’s something strange happening on the road, but despite finding a missing person’s bulletin board and meeting an old man who warns him of powerful dark forces ahead, he refuses to turn back. A storm descends and Tom loses control of his truck in the middle of nowhere, leading to Presley running into the wilderness. In an effort to save his best friend he follows, and soon realises the old man might have been right about those dark forces.
This was an absolutely thrilling, chaotic (in a good way) read and a fantastic debut from Freddie Åhlin. Although it did take me a few chapters to get into the book, when the action started, it really started. It was tense, emotional, mind-bending and downright scary at times. Psychological horror/ thriller is the perfect description for Dalton Highway- emphasis on the psychological.
Sure ghosts, vampires, zombies, werewolves, demons and witches are scary, and while the jury is still out on whether some of these exist or not, nature is very real and it is as terrifying as it is beautiful. I can’t think of anything scarier than being lost alone in the wilderness with the calls of wild animals, no supplies, and darkness descending. Freddie Åhlin perfectly painted a picture of this terrifying beauty. His writing style and use of poetic description is excellent.
Now imagine racing against the elements and then adding a “dark force” to the mix. I use inverted commas because it doesn’t take us long to figure out that Tom is an unreliable narrator. The author puts us in the mind of Tom and we hear all of his deepest, darkest thoughts and learn a lot about him along the way. What we learn about him makes us question what is really happening and whether we have come to the right conclusions.
I enjoyed this mind-bender of an adventure a lot and I look forward to reading Freddie Åhlin’s future work. I highly recommend Dalton Highway for anyone who likes psychological horror/thriller and the excitement of an unreliable protagonist.