Untcigahunk: The Complete Little Brothers

Untcigahunk: The Complete Little Brothers - Rick Hautala I always read these reviews before I buy a book so I discuss as little of the actual plot as possible. Some people put in more detail, but that is just my preference.

I really enjoyed this book for several reasons. I have two pet peeves with horror writers: (1) lack of characterization, and (2) a tacked on anticlimactic ending that lasts only about 10 pages and makes me want to throw the book across the room. UNTCIGAHUNK steers completely clear of these shortcomings.

First off, before I get started, UNTCIGAHUNK is actually a novel and a series of short stories all on the same subject----a very nasty breed of creatures based on ancient Micmac Indian legends. The novel is entitled The Little Brothers and tells the story of a family and their encounters with these awful little monsters. But rather than just unleash the creatures to tear up the scenery, Hautala takes his time. This is not some 200 page quick read that you finish in an afternoon. You can settle in and really get to know these characters (two teen-aged boys and their father---their mother was killed by the Untcigahunk five years before this story begins) and how the loss of their mother has damaged the family and their relationships with each other. The sibling rivalry is very believable as is the family dynamic as a whole. Of course that makes what happens all the more tense since you care about these people. It is also a coming of age story for the younger brother which I found to be very satisfying. Actually I thought several times while I was reading that I would have read the book even without the monsters because the story of the family and the other sub-plots, particularly that of a teen-aged psychopath that menaces the whole town, were that interesting by themselves. That being said, this is a story about the Untcigahunk, and they do not disappoint. They would rip apart pretty much any monster you might care to mention and they deliver the scares.

And there is a really big bonus in that you not only get The Little Brothers, but UNTCIGAHUNK also contains several Micmac indian legends about the Untcigahunk and a really good novella/short story collection (The Chrysalis) also. I was thinking as I read the additional materials that if I was recommending the book to a friend that I might suggest reading the Micmac legends first, then read The Little Brothers, then finish it off with The Chrysalis. Don't skip the Chrysalis stories---there are a few in there that pack a huge punch---especially the one about the birch whistle which was my personal favorite.