6

This was something I picked up at my local library in the early 90s (pre-1994). I'd been voraciously devouring other novels at the time, so my memories here are incredibly vague.

Here's what I remember:

  • It was a big enough release to get on the "new releases" table. A mass-market paperback. Probably an American author. Not Koontz, not King.

  • It involved either Inuit or Native American mythology.

  • It was set in a cold climate, I want to say Alaska, but maybe the Northwest Territories or even the Pacific Northwest (but that's a stretch).

  • It's a rural or small-town setting.

  • The main character was a man, but there was a female lead as well. One or both of them may have been scientists.

  • There was a dig or some other kind of archaeological site (or similar) where there was a hole/cave/mountain that had some kind of evil radiating out of it. There was some sort of monster or presence associated with it. The town nearby (where our heroes are staying) was affected. There was probably a decent body count, but I have no memory of the creature.

  • There is an excellent chance it was named "THE [SOMETHING]" or just "[SOMETHING]". It was not a long title. Bear in mind half the horror novels of the period were also named "THE [SOMETHING]".

  • The title may have had some kind of allusion to Hell or the underworld.

  • The only passage I can recall is something about the main character admiring the female lead's figure even through some heavy arctic gear (?!) when they meet for the first time.

That's all I can remember. The irony here is that it is clearly forgettable, but I still want to read it again.

UPDATE: It is not Midnight's Lair by Richard Laymon, unfortunately.

UPDATE: It is also not The Abyss, by Jere Cunningham, though the setup is similar.

  • 1
    Your last dotpoint made me think it might be something by Richard Laymon. – Moriarty Jun 27 '17 at 23:41
  • 1
    That is a good suggestion. Got a partial match on Midnight's Lair by Laymon thanks to your tip. I'll know more once I can hunt a copy down and read the first few chapters. – 8bitartist Jul 6 '17 at 19:55
  • Tomska? ;) (Just kidding) – Jack Jul 14 '17 at 13:08
  • @Jack At this point, I should just mark that the accepted answer. :) – 8bitartist Jul 17 '17 at 16:08
7

This is a real longshot but there are some similarities to the 1983 Dean Koontz novel Phantoms. While there are some items that don't match at all, perhaps you could be mixing in some of the other novels you mentioned reading?

As a point by point:

This was something I picked up at my local library in the early 90s (pre-1994).

Match. Published 1983.

Here's what I remember:

•It was a big enough release to get on the "new releases" table. A mass-market paperback. Probably an American author.

Match. Written by Dean Koontz

•It involved either Inuit or Native American mythology.

Partial Match. In this case some of the mass disappearances described are in early colonial North America such as Roanoke Island which you may be thinking of as related to Native American mythology.

•It was set in a cold climate, I want to say Alaska, but maybe the Northwest Territories or even the Pacific Northwest (but that's a stretch).

Partial Match. it is set in a ski town in CA, so mountains, snow, etc.

•It's a rural or small-town setting.

Match. See above on small ski town.

•The main character was a man, but there was a female lead as well. One or both of them may have been scientists.

Match. There is an adult female protagonist as well as male protagonist police officers and military biological investigation unit (scientists)

•There was a dig or some other kind of archaeological site (or similar) where there was a hole/cave/mountain that had some kind of evil radiating out of it. There was some sort of monster or presence associated with it. The town nearby (where our heroes are staying) was affected. There was probably a decent body count, but I have no memory of the creature.

Partial match. In this case without too many spoilers the monster does reside in an underground site/location. Just not any type of archaeological dig. Too, the 'monster' actually does not make a full appearance for quite some time so it could explain why you don't remember it in as much detail. Again without too many spoilers, the nature of the actual 'monster' might also contribute to why you don't have a clear picture of it.

•There is an excellent chance it was named "THE [SOMETHING]" or just "[SOMETHING]". It was not a long title. Bear in mind half the horror novels of the period were also named "THE [SOMETHING]".

Match. Phantoms.

•The title may have had some kind of allusion to Hell or the underworld.

No Match.

•The only passage I can recall is something about the main character admiring the female lead's figure even through some heavy arctic gear (?!) when they meet for the first time.

Match. The female protagonist is very attractive even in the winter clothing she is wearing.

Good luck.

  • This is an excellent and well-thought out answer. It's not Phantoms, unfortunately, although I did read Phantoms (and a ton of Koontz, in general) in the same era, and I never noticed before how many similarities there were to my description. I think there is a very good chance that I'm conflating several elements from disparate books, like you suggested, – 8bitartist Jul 6 '17 at 18:53

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