There are definitely monsters in Beasts of the Caliber Lodge, but I wouldn’t exactly call it a monster novel. There’s also a lot of espionage afoot, but I wouldn’t call it a spy novel either.
It’s a hybrid effort of course. Author L.J. Dougherty calls it “a novel of espionage horror” and he’s correct. His mashup adventure involves Nazis, Nazi hunters, bored rich elites and a secret community of Sasquatch.
Dougherty isn’t swimming in uncharted waters here. There are other writers who have dipped their toes in the espionage horror genre pool in the past. Just off the top of my head I’m reminded of the excellent Milkweed trilogy by Ian Tregillis (2010) and Kay Kenyon’s A Dark Talents series (2017).
Beasts of the Caliber Lodge takes place during the swingin’ 60s. An international organization of Nazi hunters is searching for Wilhelm Stengl, a former Colonel of the SS and a man who possesses a dossier of names and addresses of legendary Nazi high rollers. The job of these mercenaries is to capture Stengl alive and bring him to justice.
After years of dead ends and near misses, the group finally gets a worthwhile tip. Stengl (now known as Kristian Beckett) will be vacationing at the Caliber Lodge in Alaska. Through various connections, the Nazi hunters are able to send an agent named Jimmy Knotts to the super exclusive snowy resort.
This is when genres start to blend. Knotts is hoping to capture the slippery SS agent, but he finds himself in the middle of an unexpected plot twist. It turns out that the Caliber Lodge is an outpost for wealthy big game hunters looking to bag the most exclusive prey on earth: Sasquatch!
Naturally, Knotts and Stengl have a prickly relationship, but there’s additional intrigue at the lodge. One person to keep an eye on is Jonathan “Black Rhino” Turk. He’s a Kraven the Hunter-kind of guy with a shady past. And then there’s Greta Everly, the mistress of the manor, who enjoys having sex wrapped in a Sasquatch pelt.
The two genres ultimately come together for an explosive finale as the Caliber Lodge goes up in flames like the House of Frankenstein. The good guys prevail. Both the Nazi hunters and the Sasquatch earn their long-awaited rewards.
[Beasts of the Caliber Lodge / By L.J. Dougherty / First Printing: March 2021 / ISBN: 9798553886776]