Beauford E. Averette’s novel, The Adralack Crack on Mt. Baker, delivers a thriller with a paranormal twist.
In the story, four university professors attempt a winter climb of Mount Baker. After getting caught in an avalanche, the four friends decide to seek shelter in a nearby cave. However, when the first climber, Larry, starts to enter the cave, he appears to disintegrate in some kind of force field.
The party’s remaining members, Arthur, Delbert and Adrian, fashion a snow igloo in which to spend the night. When they descend the next day, they tell the authorities and Larry’s wife that Larry was lost in the avalanche. The professors return to the fateful cave in the two succeeding summers to try to learn what happened to Larry.
Between these trips, Adrian works on a teleporting device, and Delbert and Arthur polish their latent telepathic abilities. Two of the professors also have affairs, and they are all visited by an alien who must mate with a human in order to procreate. The alien is mysteriously connected to the cave on Mount Baker, and the professors must strive to resist her powerful influence.
The best writing here occurs during the action scenes. Averette’s descriptions of the avalanche, a tunnel cave-in, and the story’s climatic denouement are taut and suspenseful. The author is less adept, however, with character development and dialogue. His portrayal of characters’ inner landscapes is much too sketchy to bring them to life. Also, he uses a large portion of the dialogue for exposition rather than having it spring from the personalities of the characters. Hence, the dialogue tends to be flat and unnatural.
These flaws would not be hard to correct, and with some revision, this novel might appeal to suspense novel fans who like science fiction salted into the narrative. As it stands, the book is likely to be enjoyed by only the hardiest of suspense enthusiasts who read solely for the action.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.