The Beast of Barcroft gave me the heebie jeebies yet still managed to make me chuckle at times. It starts out with a public health employee who is tasked with remedying the pest control problem in Barcroft. Residents have been up in arms for quite some time over the issue, which was caused by the strange habits of one particular (recently deceased) neighbor. Even though this neighbor passed away, the problem persists because her decrepit house serves as a sanctuary for the critters. Besides the rats, other small vermin have also moved in, supposedly making the community a target for larger predators. It is the reported sighting of one of these predators that prompts the previously mentioned public health employee to investigate. What he finds ends up being unfortunate for him, and it is also what drives the plot of this unique story.
I found myself engrossed in this book for a number of reasons.
- An amusing cast of characters
- A down-on-his-luck hero you can’t help but like
- Witty dialogue
- A creepy, critter-infested house
- A bloodthirsty creature (possibly creatures) on the loose
A good portion of the story focuses on the pursuit of the creature that killed the public health employee (as well as others eventually). Is it a mountain lion? A large dog? A wolf? Without giving anything away, the answer is yes and no. And this is where the horror aspect of the story faded for me. While I loved the characters and the buildup leading to the big reveal, the identity of the creature disappointed me because I don’t understand where it came from. Even though the ending wasn’t for me, I still recommend this book to readers who enjoy horror, suspense, and paranormal elements.
Overall, The Beast of Barcroft is a good book, and I intend to read more from Schweigart.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book.