Into the Mist by Lee Murray
I picked this up as it was on the Stoker preliminary ballot and I’m not disappointed. Reading like a mix of Congo, Predator and Valley of the Gawnji set in New Zealand, Murray provides a white-knuckle ride from page one. Throw in a hefty mix of Maori mysticism and you have a unique monster tale.
A geological survey team with a military escort is sent into Te Urewera, an area of mostly forested, sparsely populated, rugged hill country in the North Island of New Zealand . The escort is there to investigate some disappearances, including a previous military expedition.
Murray excels at action and the novel has many thrilling page-turning moments. There is a large cast of characters and mostly I was able to keep them straight but occasionally the fast pace made me think ‘who was that again?’ The landscape is evocatively crafted, although, having been to NZ perhaps my memory provided some of the backgrounds. The mists visibly swirled throughout the pages and the unique New Zealand fauna breathed in the margins.
I would definitely read another of Murray’s books and this one gets a recommendation from me, If you like monster movies or military SF you should check it out.