It takes a special type of person to live in an isolated village where the elements are your closest and most dangerous enemy. The beauty of the surrounding nature is simultaneously also the siren song of the dangers hidden beneath the perfect exterior.
Salinger is traumatized by a helicopter crash on the mountain. The event itself caused emotional turmoil and also hallucinatory events, which leads him to think he is connected with the mountain. The mountain becomes a living breathing entity in his mind. The beast claims its victims without discrimination. It swallows them whole and only spits them out of its icy interior now and again.
D’Andrea describes the mentality of the small village or town environment with great skill. Unless you were born and raised there you will always be the outsider, especially if you are different in any way shape or form. You can live there for decades and still be the foreigner, the intruder or the person they are least likely to trust with secrets from the inner sanctum.
This secrecy is part of the problem when it comes to this small population, because they will do anything to ensure the safety of their fellow inhabitants. This is probably the reason the Bletterbach murders have remained unsolved for so many decades, despite the viciousness of the attack, the possibility of one of them being a killer is a thought they would rather not contemplate.
It’s an intriguing combination of existential fears, post-traumatic stress and a calculated killer. There was an element of the story I found a wee bit out there though, and perhaps detrimental to the story, mainly because it made it veer into the beyond belief spectrum.
Aside from that it is a well-thought out crime with a surprisingly savage killer and a captivating environment. I wonder if D’Andrea will be revisiting Salinger again.