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Mark Sandoval—resolutely arrogant, covered head to foot in precise geometric scarring, and still marginally famous after Hollywood made an Oscar-winner based off his memoir years before—has been strongly advised by his lawyer to leave the country following a drunken and potentially fatal hit and run. When a woman sends Sandoval grainy footage of what appears to be a unicor Mark Sandoval—resolutely arrogant, covered head to foot in precise geometric scarring, and still marginally famous after Hollywood made an Oscar-winner based off his memoir years before—has been strongly advised by his lawyer to leave the country following a drunken and potentially fatal hit and run. When a woman sends Sandoval grainy footage of what appears to be a unicorn, he quickly hires an assistant and the two head off to the woman's farm in Hvíldarland, a tiny, remote island off the coast of Iceland. When they arrive on the island and discover that both a military base and the surrounding álagablettur, the nearby woods, are teeming with strangeness and secrets, they begin to realize that a supposed unicorn sighting is the least of their worries.


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Mark Sandoval—resolutely arrogant, covered head to foot in precise geometric scarring, and still marginally famous after Hollywood made an Oscar-winner based off his memoir years before—has been strongly advised by his lawyer to leave the country following a drunken and potentially fatal hit and run. When a woman sends Sandoval grainy footage of what appears to be a unicor Mark Sandoval—resolutely arrogant, covered head to foot in precise geometric scarring, and still marginally famous after Hollywood made an Oscar-winner based off his memoir years before—has been strongly advised by his lawyer to leave the country following a drunken and potentially fatal hit and run. When a woman sends Sandoval grainy footage of what appears to be a unicorn, he quickly hires an assistant and the two head off to the woman's farm in Hvíldarland, a tiny, remote island off the coast of Iceland. When they arrive on the island and discover that both a military base and the surrounding álagablettur, the nearby woods, are teeming with strangeness and secrets, they begin to realize that a supposed unicorn sighting is the least of their worries.

30 review for Road Seven

  1. 5 out of 5

    Well Read Beard

    4.5 Stars I review books. I review books, and I am stumped. I am not stumped on what to say about this book. What I am struggling with is how to review this book without just saying "I liked everything about it" and calling it a day. Because I did, I liked everything about it. There is so much going on here, but it really came down to the writing prowess more so than the story. You could feel the that. I am stealing this from Dianah Hughley right off the back of the book, but it felt meticulous. 4.5 Stars I review books. I review books, and I am stumped. I am not stumped on what to say about this book. What I am struggling with is how to review this book without just saying "I liked everything about it" and calling it a day. Because I did, I liked everything about it. There is so much going on here, but it really came down to the writing prowess more so than the story. You could feel the that. I am stealing this from Dianah Hughley right off the back of the book, but it felt meticulous. All of it. The vividness of the scenes and places. The dialogue. The subtle humor. The growth of the characters. The completeness, the fleshed out feeling of secondary characters. There was a lot. So yeah, I am not struggling to tell you what I liked. I am struggling to tell you what I didn't like. I want to talk about the cover. Rosson designed it and it is dynamic and grabs you for sure. And yeah, there is a unicorn and a flying saucer and a little tentacle thing. I like it, and all of that stuff is at least briefly touched on in this book, but that stuff isn't the meat. Not even close. So look, they have told us over and over not to judge a book, yada yada, but we all do. The cover screams this absurd, maybe even bizarro story. It's not, it's a bit dark and offbeat, it is definitely genre-blurring( I stole some of that from the back cover synopsis, credit where it's due), but it's not as absurd as the cover might lead you to believe. I read for two things, maybe everybody does this, but I read for story and then for the writing. By the writing, I really mean just beautiful passages, turns of phrase, things like that. I use sticky notes to mark that stuff, sometimes I can read through an entire novel and not need them and really just focus on the story. Sometimes, the writing style ( back to prowess ) is so overwhelming that I am marking stuff on every other page. That's how this one was. So many passages grabbed me on their own, outside the story. I don't want to give a ton about the plot. Mark Sandoval is this mysterious, globe trotting, cryptozoologist. He has reasons to get out of the States, so when he gets a video email that appears to show a living unicorn on an island off the coast of Iceland, he jumps at the chance. Brian is really our main character and he has his own reasons to leave his current life behind for a while. He joins on as Mark's assistant. They take off for the remote island. So that's it. We are hunting unicorns. I know, you don't think you are going to like that. Trust me, damn, I am using every ounce of leverage that I have here. Trust me, you are wrong. That's really just a small, small piece. Shady locals, quirky local legends, a mysterious American military compound, haunted forests, little girls' bicycles ( what? ), run-ins with thugs. The action is thick and when it lulls, you are hit right in the face with Rosson's writing. Frankly, there are so many pretty passages in here. I have to mention the part where they find what appears to be unicorn shit. I will stay mum on the authenticity of said shit, but I have to mention the hilarity of the scene. Mark is a believer, Brian is not. Mark is trying to analyze what he has found, Brian is trying to explain it away and all the while the two little kids ( live on the farm where alleged unicorn sighting happened ) are running around the yard singing about magical poop. So really, it was originality. Back to Dianah, because I can't say it better. The story is quirky and heartfelt, the talent is staggering, the craft is meticulous" - yeah - that's exactly how it made me feel. I do want to share one passage. When Brian is answering written questions to apply to be Mark's assistant. He answers the question "Why does cryptozoology interest you?" with: Blessed with the casual honesty afforded those who didn't really give much of a shit one way or the other, he typed, "Because I want to believe in the unknown. In the idea of something beyond, something atypical. Even if I know there is nothing out there in the dark, nothing under the bed, I still wish the possibility was there." This passage struck me, because I think it basically puts a name to why I so often turn to dark fiction. Just great writing: Comparing Brian's trembling legs to a "newborn foal flung hard into the world and trying to get its shit together fast." "He stepped out of the hospital unfixed, terrified, woefully damaged, and strangely exultant." Thinking at night, getting stuck in memories, snared in them. "Peeling back years of his life like a kid lifting rotten logs, looking for the dark, scurrying life hidden underneath it." This stuff was throughout. For me? The story was great, the style was even better.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    "Okay, so. Sure. A unicorn. A unicorn on a pumpkin farm. A unicorn on a pumpkin farm in a small, beleaguered, mostly forgotten island in the Atlantic. It was like a shitty Mad Lib." Hello! I'm not sure what I've been reading the last couple of weeks. I mean, I've been reading this book, of course, but having finished I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. I'm not even sure if I mean that positively or negatively. On the surface it's a story about an anthroplogy dropout called Brian, taking a job "Okay, so. Sure. A unicorn. A unicorn on a pumpkin farm. A unicorn on a pumpkin farm in a small, beleaguered, mostly forgotten island in the Atlantic. It was like a shitty Mad Lib." Hello! I'm not sure what I've been reading the last couple of weeks. I mean, I've been reading this book, of course, but having finished I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. I'm not even sure if I mean that positively or negatively. On the surface it's a story about an anthroplogy dropout called Brian, taking a job to accompany a celebrity ufologist and xenobiologist to an island off Iceland, where someone has supposedly filmed a living and breathing unicorn. And there is that story. There are also the stories of Brian's family, and of the xenobiologist's life before he meets Brian. And I'm just wondering how it all ties together. Everything seems to have the same weight, the same sense of importance within the narrative. The story does sort of go nuts towards the end, which I certainly appreciate. In fact, I'd have welcomed more insanity, if anything Two important points: the book is beautifully written, with countless wonderful turns of phrase ("Sandoval’s guilt was like a nameless shape writhing in a canvas bag", "My head was a tuning fork for pain. I felt it in my teeth, my fingertips", "Here was our family’s love—somewhere between a caress and an elbow to the throat"). Secondly, the book is very funny. I laughed regularly, and I'm a tough customer regarding humour. 3.5 stars? 4 stars? Now, while I dazedly strip naked and drift off into the woods, I leave you with this .. "Remember how fragile the world is." (Kindly received an ARC from Meerkat Press through NetGalley)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    In you are in the market for a story about a pair of Northwest PhD candidates searching the hinterlands of Iceland for signs of the fabled unicorn 🦄, then this is your book. If you want to read about drug trips in tiny Greyhound stations and beatings administered in the streets of Portland, this is your story. Like Rosson’s Smoke City (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...), Road Seven is very difficult to pin to one category. It’s the kind of book where you think it’s about one thing, but it In you are in the market for a story about a pair of Northwest PhD candidates searching the hinterlands of Iceland for signs of the fabled unicorn 🦄, then this is your book. If you want to read about drug trips in tiny Greyhound stations and beatings administered in the streets of Portland, this is your story. Like Rosson’s Smoke City (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...), Road Seven is very difficult to pin to one category. It’s the kind of book where you think it’s about one thing, but it’s really about something else. Like Lennon said, life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans. In this case, you might open the book, thinking its about “magical realism” and find there’s very little about prancing unicorns, space aliens, warlocks, and the like. It’s more about two bumbling guys who are at the ends of their ropes, ready to throw it all away on a whim. Forget the dissertation you’ve pondered for seven years and your crazy sister and all, send your resume in and become assistant to the newest mad scientist. Forget the life you’ve made and pissed away in Seattle. It’s as long gone as the money you owe and the hoodlums think they are going to scare you into turning over. You ain’t got it. You got nothing but a pocketful of change that’ll take you on a bus ride to hell, left to rot in the middle of nowhere. You are not really wanted in Iceland, but why not explore the phenomenon while you can still breathe. Not exactly a buddy novel about hitchhiking on Route 66. But sure not exactly a fantasy novel either.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Keith Rosson

    Possibly the greatest novel about a unicorn sighting that, uh, I've ever written.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    This book was a ridiculous amount of fun. Two men, burdened with their own strange secrets, travel together to a tiny little coastal town out near Iceland to hunt an elusive unicorn and wind up uncovering a conspiracy deeper and darker than anything they could have imagined. You guys, this book is so well written, and is a delicious mishmosh of sci-fi, magical realism, and cosmic fiction. Keith has a wonderful sense of people and place and his pacing is spot-on. I almost hated to put it down and This book was a ridiculous amount of fun. Two men, burdened with their own strange secrets, travel together to a tiny little coastal town out near Iceland to hunt an elusive unicorn and wind up uncovering a conspiracy deeper and darker than anything they could have imagined. You guys, this book is so well written, and is a delicious mishmosh of sci-fi, magical realism, and cosmic fiction. Keith has a wonderful sense of people and place and his pacing is spot-on. I almost hated to put it down and stayed up late into the night to finish it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Seb

    Really enjoyed Keith Rosson's latest novel, "Road Seven" about a doomed expedition to find a unicorn on a small island off the coast of Iceland. Mixing various genres, such as psychological, folk and cosmic horror, this story also explores the complex and labyrinthine structures of relationships, whether professional, familial or, yes, even, academic. Grotesquely funny at times, bluntly violent at others, it is nonetheless a very pleasant ride into the depths of unknown horrors, human or otherwi Really enjoyed Keith Rosson's latest novel, "Road Seven" about a doomed expedition to find a unicorn on a small island off the coast of Iceland. Mixing various genres, such as psychological, folk and cosmic horror, this story also explores the complex and labyrinthine structures of relationships, whether professional, familial or, yes, even, academic. Grotesquely funny at times, bluntly violent at others, it is nonetheless a very pleasant ride into the depths of unknown horrors, human or otherwise.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Sund

    The ending is so good, every bit as good as Smoke City. I feel like this book was written for me and my husband. I too have a complicated relationship with academia, and we have an entire folklore section to our home library. We nicknamed our cat Chupacabra and would love to name a scruffy dog Wendigo. Neither of us believes in anything supernatural, but we both would love to live in a world that's even just a little bit magical. Road Seven is about that constant ache.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lizp

    This read is a rollicking, wild ride. It is very well written. It’s witty and it’s funny. Brian is 30 and is working (not very effectively) on his PhD thesis. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Thanks to his roommate, he sees a help wanted advert from a “monster hunter”. To evade the reality of his messy and stagnant life he applies to see what it entails. A renowned oddball, Mark, is heading off on an expedition to an Icelandic island where he’s heard a unicorn has been spotted. The help wanted advert This read is a rollicking, wild ride. It is very well written. It’s witty and it’s funny. Brian is 30 and is working (not very effectively) on his PhD thesis. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Thanks to his roommate, he sees a help wanted advert from a “monster hunter”. To evade the reality of his messy and stagnant life he applies to see what it entails. A renowned oddball, Mark, is heading off on an expedition to an Icelandic island where he’s heard a unicorn has been spotted. The help wanted advert is his, as he wants an assistant to help him on this bizarre trip. Brian thinks it’s a ludicrous idea, but as this represents an escape for him from his dull reality he goes for it. When the two men arrive on the island, no one is cooperative. Conspiracy theories abound. There’s a top secret US military base in the woods, which hampers their search for the unicorn. There are a lot of twists and turns in the fast moving story, as there are references to Icelandic folklore, the appearance of ghostly figures, etc. Whilst there is a fair bit of tension in this absorbing and engrossing tale, there are also some downright zany, comic moments. I really enjoyed reading this novel. I recommend it to others. Thank you to Booksirens and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joelle Egan

    Small presses can provide unexpected pleasures for those who are willing to take a chance on them. Road Seven by Keith Rosson is a well-written gem that provides delicious snippets of lyrical prose, colorful character development and immersive descriptions to a plot that is compelling and unconventional. Brian is a “long-term” PhD. anthropology student wracked with indecision about his future and facing a scary medical diagnosis. Desperately seeking an exit from his stagnation and immobilizing f Small presses can provide unexpected pleasures for those who are willing to take a chance on them. Road Seven by Keith Rosson is a well-written gem that provides delicious snippets of lyrical prose, colorful character development and immersive descriptions to a plot that is compelling and unconventional. Brian is a “long-term” PhD. anthropology student wracked with indecision about his future and facing a scary medical diagnosis. Desperately seeking an exit from his stagnation and immobilizing fear, he jumps at the chance to apply for a job as an assistant to a famous “monster hunter.” Mark Sandoval has become a cultural icon by writing about his personal abduction experience and subsequent investigations into legends from all over the world. This time, he is on a mission to document the existence of a mythical creature on a remote island off the coast of Iceland. Brian signs on to accompany Sandoval on this venture, despite his lack of belief and a strong suspicion that his employer is seriously unhinged. Rosson creates eccentric and well-drawn characters; cleverly describes violent but strangely comedic encounters; and melds menacing conspiracies with enviable skill. Both main characters are deeply flawed men—each dealing with issues of cowardice and a woeful lack of self-awareness. Brian evokes empathy as a first-person narrator dragged unwillingly into events that he is unequipped to comprehend or control. Sandoval is the more damaged of the two, with a complicated life story that is revealed in flashbacks as the story unfolds. Road Seven taps into themes of haunting personal demons; tragic life choices and their resulting consequences; self-delusion and the power of faith over reason. It illustrates peoples’ willingness to accept wild theories when faced with the unexplainable, and the ease with which they can therefore be misled and exploited. Both true believers and stalwart skeptics would enjoy this strange and unique novel, as would anyone who simply appreciates remarkable and entertaining writing. Thanks to the author, Meerkat Press and Library Thing for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    Road Seven is my first experience with Rosson's writing, and it's an excellent introduction. With the collection of elements involved in this story, in other hands it could have been a strange mash up, but Rosson's skilled writing binds it together seamlessly. Our grounding character, Brian, is relateable and self aware enough to be likeable. The settings, circumstances and other characters serve to pull the reader along swiftly, hitting on cryptids, folklore, alien abduction, and anthropology. Road Seven is my first experience with Rosson's writing, and it's an excellent introduction. With the collection of elements involved in this story, in other hands it could have been a strange mash up, but Rosson's skilled writing binds it together seamlessly. Our grounding character, Brian, is relateable and self aware enough to be likeable. The settings, circumstances and other characters serve to pull the reader along swiftly, hitting on cryptids, folklore, alien abduction, and anthropology. I could not have remotely predicted the ending at any point, but it was completely earned, and incredibly compelling. Strongly recommend.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eugen Bacon

    There’s strength in dialogue, so riveting, it pulses with momentum and edge. Tomes of character, pockets of dry humour filtering through the pages. In Keith Rosson you might have found yourself a new favourite.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alison C

    Brian is in a rut: 30 years old, working on his PhD thesis which seems to be endless, and living with roommates in a grungy part of Portland, Oregon. When one of his roommates sends him a link to a help wanted ad from a monster hunter, he’s at first amused and then decides, “what the hell?” and applies. Turns out a well-known crank, Mark Sandoval, is raring to run off on a wild goose chase to a small island off Iceland, where reports of unicorns have reached his ears, and he needs an assistant t Brian is in a rut: 30 years old, working on his PhD thesis which seems to be endless, and living with roommates in a grungy part of Portland, Oregon. When one of his roommates sends him a link to a help wanted ad from a monster hunter, he’s at first amused and then decides, “what the hell?” and applies. Turns out a well-known crank, Mark Sandoval, is raring to run off on a wild goose chase to a small island off Iceland, where reports of unicorns have reached his ears, and he needs an assistant to help him in his quest. Brian is not a believer, but thinks it could be the change he needs in his life; he has yet to learn that there are many kinds of monsters, and some are hunting him…. I had previously read a novel by Keith Rosson (“Smoke City”) which I liked a lot, and so when Meerkat Press sent this book to the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing, I jumped at the chance. I’m glad I did, as Mr. Rosson’s prose remains as vibrant and poetic as I remember. The story has elements of old-fashioned adventure, horror and even medical trauma, all while keeping the characters human and believable. I’m not sure when “Roadseven” will be released, but if this review intrigues you, it’s well worth searching out; recommended!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hepworth

    I’d loved Keith’s first two novels, The Mercy of the Tide and Smoke City, both of which were 5* reads for me. Although I was eagerly anticipating reading Road Seven, I did find myself wondering if he could possibly engage and delight me as much with his third. However, after reading just the first few pages and immediately becoming immersed in the compelling nature of his story-telling, I felt totally confident that he could. Yet again he’s demonstrated his remarkable capacity for writing a stor I’d loved Keith’s first two novels, The Mercy of the Tide and Smoke City, both of which were 5* reads for me. Although I was eagerly anticipating reading Road Seven, I did find myself wondering if he could possibly engage and delight me as much with his third. However, after reading just the first few pages and immediately becoming immersed in the compelling nature of his story-telling, I felt totally confident that he could. Yet again he’s demonstrated his remarkable capacity for writing a story which makes the weird, the wonderful, the fantastic and the slightly crazy feel not only believable but also remarkably relevant to the world in which we live. For very different reasons both Brian and Mark are using the expedition to Hvíldarland, to investigate the sighting of a unicorn, as a means to escape the messy reality of their real lives and to avoid taking responsibility, either for their actions or for what they need to do to put things right. Initially I felt so irritated with each of them, especially when they appeared unable to learn from their mistakes, that I found it almost impossible to feel any sympathy for either of them. Instead I was often left feeling exasperated by their moral cowardice and weakness, their aimless drifting. However, as the story progressed, and as the author gradually revealed their back-stories, I could begin to understand the background to their self-destructive behaviour and my tolerance and empathy increased. I’m sure that this ability to make me come to care about them comes down to the myriad ways in which Keith uses his brilliant insights into human behaviour, as well as his acute powers of observation, to create entirely credible and recognisable characters. It is an ever-present thread in his writing and is something I appreciate in his story-telling. In fact, each and every one of the characters in this story felt recognisable, something which added a rich dimension to the story. When the two men arrive on Hvíldarland it soon becomes clear that their presence isn’t welcome and that, for reasons which are only gradually revealed, not only are they unlikely to get much help from local people, but they’re likely to meet violent opposition. Without giving away too much plot-spoiling detail, the developing story includes conspiracy theories, body parts, ghostly apparitions, a top-secret American military base hidden in the woods and Icelandic folklore, elements which make their search for the elusive unicorn a much more dangerous quest than they could ever have anticipated. As I found it almost impossible to predict the next twist or turn in the developing story, a very tangible “edge-of-the-seat” tension was added to my reading experience. Yet I felt happy to go on this roller-coaster of an adventure, confident that the author would guide me through safely, no matter how dark and dangerous it became! However, there is lots of fun in this story too, with some wonderfully comic moments. Just one example is when the two men are forced to ride children’s bicycles in order to reach the pumpkin farm – you’ll have to read the book to discover why no other transport was available! The image of Sandoval, wearing his four-hundred-dollar jeans, riding a rainbow coloured one – “pedalling furiously with his elbows jutting straight out” – is one which remains vivid in my mind and is still having the power to make me smile as I write this review. Although the there are elements of magical realism, science-fiction, horror, fantasy in this novel, Keith has used his vivid imagination and literary writing style to meld these into a genre-defying story. It’s a story which, at its heart, is about people – their fears and anxieties, how they negotiate life’s challenges, how they relate to others, what they believe in, the dreams they follow, their search for love and acceptance – in fact all those things which make us human. Some of his metaphorical descriptions, his wonderful similes and his poetic phrasing were so powerful that there were many times when I just had to stop and re-read them, to marvel anew at their acuity. This ability to combine all these elements in such a smooth, coherent way is what makes Keith’s novels not only thought-provoking but also such a joy to read. Reaching the end of each of his books I’ve felt a strong sense that, whilst not blind to people’s foibles and shortcomings, nor to all that’s wrong in our world, he retains a sense of optimism that we’re all capable of achieving better things – and of finding the magic that surrounds us if we’re prepared to open our hearts and minds to it. Once I started Road Seven I found it so captivating that I could hardly bear to put it down so, if you haven’t read it, I hope my enthusiasm will encourage you to do so soon! Before finishing I need to say how much I love the striking cover of this book. In addition to his skills as a writer, Keith is a talented illustrator and the graphics, as on all his covers, are his. I was immediately attracted by the design but it wasn’t until I’d finished reading the book that I realised just how many nods to the content of the story are incorporated into it – delightful! With many thanks to Tricia at Meerkat Press for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for my reflections … and to Keith for yet another gem.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jo Quenell

    I fell in love with Keith Rosson's writing through his former zine, AVOW, when I was younger. It's been an absolute treat to now watch him thrive as a weird fiction writer. He grows bolder with each novel, and Road Seven is his wildest yet. A bleak comedy about monster hunters, government conspiracies, unicorns, and the all-too-familiar feeling of escapism. There's also a recurring mention of a television show starring a horny sentient lasagna. Plot-wise, Road Seven shows Rosson at the top of hi I fell in love with Keith Rosson's writing through his former zine, AVOW, when I was younger. It's been an absolute treat to now watch him thrive as a weird fiction writer. He grows bolder with each novel, and Road Seven is his wildest yet. A bleak comedy about monster hunters, government conspiracies, unicorns, and the all-too-familiar feeling of escapism. There's also a recurring mention of a television show starring a horny sentient lasagna. Plot-wise, Road Seven shows Rosson at the top of his game. There are a few critiques I have of this book. One thing I would love to see in Rosson's work moving forward is a differentiation in character tropes. Like his two previous novels, The Mercy of the Tide and Smoke City, much of this book centers around alcoholic men trying to escape the misfortunes they have created. I would love to see Rosson move past this trope--while his writing is so engaging and strong, this constant recurring theme makes his catalog as a whole feel a tad repetitive. The other thing, which is a personal pet-peeve of mine, is the switch from third person to first person perspective about 3/4ths of the way through the book, and then back to 3rd person for the very end. This back-and-forth shift felt clunky and unnecessary to me, and only really served to pull me out of the story. The book, as a whole, would have worked better if it stayed consistently third-person. It sucks to be critical of these factors, because ultimately I had so much fun with this book, and am so excited to see Keith Rosson rise as a strong, original voice in one of my favorite genres. I can't wait to see the daring steps he takes with his future releases--he's going to be a name to remember.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jill Elizabeth

    What a deliriously dark, trippy, head-case of a story this was - I LOVED IT! Keith Rosson has created a cast of characters that is all too believable, not too likeable, and particularly relatable in their apathy, egotism, fears and neuroses. Then he takes those characters on a series of adventures that play out like horror/sci-fi/#AdultingIsHard mini stories that together comprise a novel that is original, interesting, and head-shake-producing in equal measures. It was a helluva ride and one I t What a deliriously dark, trippy, head-case of a story this was - I LOVED IT! Keith Rosson has created a cast of characters that is all too believable, not too likeable, and particularly relatable in their apathy, egotism, fears and neuroses. Then he takes those characters on a series of adventures that play out like horror/sci-fi/#AdultingIsHard mini stories that together comprise a novel that is original, interesting, and head-shake-producing in equal measures. It was a helluva ride and one I thoroughly enjoyed - primarily because it was so quirky and unusual, but also because of the way sneaky little red herrings, twists, and life lessons were snuck in throughout. I was never entirely sure what was going on or coming next. Often that irks me. I tend to prefer stories to be pretty linear. I read to escape *real* life - as such, I don't want to work too hard to follow things or figure out what end is up. Every now and then though, I stumble on a title that twists back on itself in a way that resonates and just works for me. This was one of those. The foibles and weaknesses of the main characters could have been irritating - instead, through Rosson's careful plotting and revelations of back- and forward-going story for each, I found myself curious as to what the next train wreck would look like, and how they'd navigate it, rather than annoyed that the inevitable (i.e., bad choices lead to bad outcomes) was happening yet again... I don't know why it worked, but it did - beautifully. I was thoroughly engaged from the opening salvo and the last pages felt like they tied everything together without being handy or sunshine-blowing. It was a fine line to walk and Rosson managed it magnificently. I tried one of his earlier titles, but struggled to get into it - based on this read, I'm thinking I owe it, and him, another look! Thanks once again to the good folks at Meerkat Pressfor my obligation-free review copy. If you aren't familiar with their catalog, you really should be - they have a remarkable collection of authors/books that are unusual, entertaining, and definitely worth a look!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Henri Moreaux

    I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher for review purposes. This is a book is a difficult one to pin into a particular genre, it begins looking like one thing, but as the story unfolds further layers are revealed making for an even more interesting story than anticipated. Interested in a book about two failed PhD post graduate students searching for cryptozoological species? - here's your book. Interested in a book about mystery about strange goings on as outside forces try to thwart a I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher for review purposes. This is a book is a difficult one to pin into a particular genre, it begins looking like one thing, but as the story unfolds further layers are revealed making for an even more interesting story than anticipated. Interested in a book about two failed PhD post graduate students searching for cryptozoological species? - here's your book. Interested in a book about mystery about strange goings on as outside forces try to thwart an investigation? - here you go. Interested in a book that contains a young mans bizarre bad drug trip and the life changing inspiration it gave him? - oh yeah that's here too. Interested in a book that has a paranormal aspect? - look no further. Overall, once the ground work was laid and the story commenced I found it to be quite riveting and kept just needing to read a few more pages before putting it down, as a result I read this in a single day and have no complaints about the story telling. I found the way the true aspects of the story were slowly peeled back also made the narrative even more enjoyable as you found yourself wondering what next was going to be revealed as real, false or misdirection. Would recommend.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    I enjoyed this book for quite a while, it went off on a tangent I'm not sure I cared for and then came back and finished fairly strong. The book has a lot of different feels to it, a lot of Blair Witch Project, a little Stranger Things, I suppose a little Close Encounters for lack of a better analogy. I would really give it 3 and a half stars. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Keith Rosson’s new genre-crossing novel, Road Seven, electrifies as an emotionally layered, Lovecraftian, travel-adventure, noir, that you will read with anticipation late into the night. The plot, though unique, reads seemlessly straightforward. Two men, with similar scientific backgrounds and a mutual desire to escape their lives, embark on a strange journey. They are headed to a small island off the coast of Iceland to chase down the most superstitious of claims: a unicorn sighting. Our first Keith Rosson’s new genre-crossing novel, Road Seven, electrifies as an emotionally layered, Lovecraftian, travel-adventure, noir, that you will read with anticipation late into the night. The plot, though unique, reads seemlessly straightforward. Two men, with similar scientific backgrounds and a mutual desire to escape their lives, embark on a strange journey. They are headed to a small island off the coast of Iceland to chase down the most superstitious of claims: a unicorn sighting. Our first protagonist is Brian Schutt. He is a self-loathing, anxiety-ridden Ph.D. student of the anthropological sciences, who suffers from painful migraines and a visceral dread of his predictable future. Despite his scientific background, Brian throws caution to the wind and ditches his humdrum life to assist the famous writer and pseudo-scientist Mark Sandoval on a hunt founded on nothing more than a dubious photograph. Both men are haunted by different, but equally painful secrets that continuously shadow them, as their expedition unfolds into a tale far stranger than the pursuit of a fabled horned creature. Road Seven will have you questioning everything—what’s real, what’s make believe, and what’s next! It pulls the reader heart-poundingly along between the blurry lines of faith and reason and will keep you second-guessing throughout the entire trip. What’s more, the contrasts in Road Seven are so very satisfying. It’s dark—yet humorous, strange—yet reassuringly believable, page-turning—yet lyrically rich. By page three I was all in, when reading why Brian, a rationally-minded man, would desire to go on such a seemingly ridiculous quest to begin with: “Because I want to believe in the unknown. In the idea of something beyond, something atypical. Even if I know there’s nothing out there in the dark, nothing under the bed, I still wish the possibility was there.” Cheers to that Brian. And cheers to Keith Rosson, who has that freakishly rare gift to weave and balance a story with that magical cocktail blend of poetic beauty, existential musings, and fantastical page-turning excitement. Just read Road Seven already! It’s a real kiss to the fingertips.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Brian is a loser -- a thirty-something failing Phd candidate with no girlfriend and an annoying flatmate. He's had debilitating headaches for years that he can't be bothered doing anything about, and is a disappointment to everyone in his life. Mark Sandoval is an enigma. A best-selling author notorious for his conspiracy theory-laden output, he has mysterious glyphs scarred all over his body, supposedly given to him during an alien abduction. When Sandoval hires Brian to travel with him to a far Brian is a loser -- a thirty-something failing Phd candidate with no girlfriend and an annoying flatmate. He's had debilitating headaches for years that he can't be bothered doing anything about, and is a disappointment to everyone in his life. Mark Sandoval is an enigma. A best-selling author notorious for his conspiracy theory-laden output, he has mysterious glyphs scarred all over his body, supposedly given to him during an alien abduction. When Sandoval hires Brian to travel with him to a far-flung corner of the world to investigate an alleged unicorn sighting, that's when things start to get interesting. The main action is set in Hvíldarland, a fictional country that's a lot like a miniature version of Iceland. The locals are tough and don't take kindly to strangers, and there's definitely something fishy going on. Not only is there an American military base hidden in the woods, but the area Sandoval wants to investigate is reputed to be an Álagablettur, a sacred place of power haunted by spirits. Is the unicorn real? What's really going on at the military base? And can Brian and Sandoval go even one day without being beaten up? I enjoyed Road Seven very much. It had a barbed wit reminiscent of Chuck Palahniuk and subject matter worthy of The X Files which made it intriguing and readable. I'm also fascinated by all things Icelandic at the moment, so knowing it was set within that culture made it even more interesting. My only criticism is that it takes a long time to get to the action -- the protagonists only arrive in Hvíldarland about a third of the way into the book. Once it gets going though, I was completely absorbed in the story. At the end, some of the ends were tied up tight, and some were left hanging loose. Sometimes I find loose ends annoying, but in this book, I found that the right ones were handled in the right way. Would I read more from this author? Definitely! Please note: this book was provided for me to read and review by LibraryThing's Early Reviewer programme. You can rest assured however, that this is (as always) an honest review!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I don't get a chance to read much magical realism so call me pleasantly surprised at this extremely odd head rush of a story about two intelligent men who fall short of expectations and are heading nowhere in their lives until...a unicorn. Brian is an eternal student on the cusp of completing his dissertation and drops out of university to help an infamous cryptozoologist (yeah, I had to look that one up, too) investigate a unicorn sighting near Iceland. He's a non-believer, but ready for a chang I don't get a chance to read much magical realism so call me pleasantly surprised at this extremely odd head rush of a story about two intelligent men who fall short of expectations and are heading nowhere in their lives until...a unicorn. Brian is an eternal student on the cusp of completing his dissertation and drops out of university to help an infamous cryptozoologist (yeah, I had to look that one up, too) investigate a unicorn sighting near Iceland. He's a non-believer, but ready for a change. Mark is a wealthy man who has lost his way and is desperate to redeem himself by finding a story on the remote island of Hvíldarland. The threats from the locals only excite him even more.  What are they hiding? This novel is like nothing I've ever read.  It's like going down an inexplicable rabbit hole with bedazzled horse turds, grown men riding children's bicycles, eerie forests, secretive military bases, and quirky characters. But don't let that scare you away. The writing is incredible. Rosson's sarcastically witty and intelligent dialogue is so refreshing and thought-provoking as well as beautifully bizarre. He knows how to take a simple thought and make it into a fascinating and poetic piece of prose.  Unicorns be damned, this man can wield a pen. I can't recommend this book enough! Thank you to Mr. Rosson for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Diane Hernandez

    “It was a help wanted ad from a monster hunter.” Who doesn’t sometimes dream of dropping their real life on its head and scooting off to parts unknown? Brian, the perpetual and soon-to-be ex-Ph.D. candidate who lives with vicious headaches and writer’s block, sees it as a chance to escape his sad boring little life in Road Seven. As with all of the author’s books, Road Seven is non-genre’d. I can’t imagine where it will be shelved in a library. Best to stick with the generic “fiction” but it real “It was a help wanted ad from a monster hunter.” Who doesn’t sometimes dream of dropping their real life on its head and scooting off to parts unknown? Brian, the perpetual and soon-to-be ex-Ph.D. candidate who lives with vicious headaches and writer’s block, sees it as a chance to escape his sad boring little life in Road Seven. As with all of the author’s books, Road Seven is non-genre’d. I can’t imagine where it will be shelved in a library. Best to stick with the generic “fiction” but it really encompasses all genres. You just have to start it and go with the witty and downright absurd situations. I guarantee that you have never read anything like it. The closest I can come to describe it is to picture Tim Dorsey’s Serge Storms and Lula from the Stephanie Plum series dating while on PCP AND bath salts. If all the domestic thrillers (or whatever you read) are beginning to look familar, use Road Seven as your palate cleanser between the usual tropes of bestselling authors. It’s the pineapple sorbet of books and highly recommended. 5 stars! Thanks to Meerkat Press and Edelweiss+ for a copy in exchange for my honest review. I also loved the author’s previous 5-star book, Smoke City, which is a Pythonesque fantasy tale.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Barton

    While Road Seven by Keith Rosson starts out a little slow, it quickly gains momentum and sucks you in. Brian Schutt, a teaching assistant in his final year of grad school, finds himself questioning his path in life. After receiving a link advertising for an assistant to one of his heroes, Brian applies, and heads out for some drinks with friends. As the night unfolds and Brian receives some startling news, he is surprised to see that his application has caught the attention of the man who posted While Road Seven by Keith Rosson starts out a little slow, it quickly gains momentum and sucks you in. Brian Schutt, a teaching assistant in his final year of grad school, finds himself questioning his path in life. After receiving a link advertising for an assistant to one of his heroes, Brian applies, and heads out for some drinks with friends. As the night unfolds and Brian receives some startling news, he is surprised to see that his application has caught the attention of the man who posted it. Swept up into the world of cryptzoology and his idol, Brian is quickly pulled into a mystery which may not end happily for all involved. I really enjoyed this novel. There were twists and turns and mysteries around every corner, and you didn't always know which way was up. It was easy to identify with Brian, who was handed a lot in a very short time and is struggling to keep it all in hand. This novel would often creep into my thoughts when I was unable to read it; which, in my opinion, says a lot about a story. Thank you for the advanced copy! It was a pleasure to read!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nóinín

    Don’t miss out on this one! I’m not sure I even applied for this ARC, at least it does not show on my list – so anyway, Meerkat Press, thanks a bunch for anticipating my preferences and sending me this fun read! “It was a help wanted ad from a monster hunter.” And so it goes. The story is as weird, strange and absurd as advertised. Brian, a sad sack of a protagonist, is well-characterized and instantly relatable, and I simply loved his deadpan snarker big sister. Mark, the self-proclaimed monster Don’t miss out on this one! I’m not sure I even applied for this ARC, at least it does not show on my list – so anyway, Meerkat Press, thanks a bunch for anticipating my preferences and sending me this fun read! “It was a help wanted ad from a monster hunter.” And so it goes. The story is as weird, strange and absurd as advertised. Brian, a sad sack of a protagonist, is well-characterized and instantly relatable, and I simply loved his deadpan snarker big sister. Mark, the self-proclaimed monster hunter is so obviously a crank – still, I found him rather personable and couldn’t help asking myself: “Does he actually believe his own stories?” Anyway, there’s a reason for his actions, however, not having read the blurb, it was not what I thought it was – in fact the story held a fair number of surprises for me (view spoiler)[among which not the least was Brian’s runaway and, consequently, shunned-by-all father’s immediately springing into action in order to support him, that one I found rather touching (hide spoiler)] . A fast-paced, entertaining read all round. I especially adored the cranky details thrown in, e.g. the crummy TV show with the sentient, sleazy lasagna (I wonder, is there actually such a show in existence?) Mind you, the parts including actual Icelandic vocabulary might do with some editing to get rid of typos and suchlike, particularly “the Hauksdóttirs” being employed in lieu of a surname like, say, “the Millers”. It is no such thing, it is a patronym, which could only apply to Karla Hauksdóttir and her sisters (if any). But these were minor concerns and did not at all take away from my reading pleasure.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bakertyl

    I liked everything except the "Big Reveal". I don't know how I feel about it. Like, I like the story. Loser Everyman gets a chance to travel the world with a celebrity monster hunter, and everything falls apart immediately. I'm already giving this story the benefit of the doubt, just based on that. Add good writing, realistic characters, believable action, I'm all in. But the Reveal... I dunno. I'm reminded of the movie Signs... the entire movie aliens have been invading the Earth, and one of the I liked everything except the "Big Reveal". I don't know how I feel about it. Like, I like the story. Loser Everyman gets a chance to travel the world with a celebrity monster hunter, and everything falls apart immediately. I'm already giving this story the benefit of the doubt, just based on that. Add good writing, realistic characters, believable action, I'm all in. But the Reveal... I dunno. I'm reminded of the movie Signs... the entire movie aliens have been invading the Earth, and one of the last scenes, we get to see an alien in person, in detail... and its underwhelming. THAT?!? That's it?!? This little lanky, skinny head ass, shiny ass mofo is laying waste to the entire planet? The movie did amazing NOT showing the alien, playing on characters and emotion to show the effects of the aliens while not actually showing anything. I think Road Seven has the same problem. I loved the story, but the actual Reveal was just underwhelming. Also, why the actual fuck did that character even show the Reveal??? Like, I don't know the motivation. But spoilers, whatever. I still recommend it, its funny and different, in a good way. ** I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Venerussi

    I loved Keith Rosson’s style of writing; he writes in such a way that you feel like the character says exactly what you would think in the same situation. And so although I have never been a worn down academic with a dysfunctional family who finds himself on a trip to an Icelandic island chasing unicorns, I found the main character so relatable that I was drawn into the story and found myself unable to put the book down. I would have liked to see a bit more about the interesting twist at the end I loved Keith Rosson’s style of writing; he writes in such a way that you feel like the character says exactly what you would think in the same situation. And so although I have never been a worn down academic with a dysfunctional family who finds himself on a trip to an Icelandic island chasing unicorns, I found the main character so relatable that I was drawn into the story and found myself unable to put the book down. I would have liked to see a bit more about the interesting twist at the end-I felt that was dangled in front of the reader but not explored enough-and I felt like the end was slightly unsatisfying, so only 4 stars for this one, but overall this was a skillfully written, original and interesting read. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sabetha | Aconite Cafe

    This book is drool worthy. I am once again book drunk thanks to Keith Rosson. I'll admit, I doubted him being able to top Smoke City. Which is an amazing mind fuck of a book. But Road Seven delivers. I'm a sucker for fiction books about books/writers/libraries/anything literary so one of the main characters being a washed up writer was swoon worthy for me in reading the blurb. Disaster characters are my favorite characters. The complexity of the plot and every single character in the story is gre This book is drool worthy. I am once again book drunk thanks to Keith Rosson. I'll admit, I doubted him being able to top Smoke City. Which is an amazing mind fuck of a book. But Road Seven delivers. I'm a sucker for fiction books about books/writers/libraries/anything literary so one of the main characters being a washed up writer was swoon worthy for me in reading the blurb. Disaster characters are my favorite characters. The complexity of the plot and every single character in the story is great, it's better than great, it's relatable. Every. single. person. in this book could be your neighbor, your friend, that weird guy in your city. The story has so many moving parts, as you read it's hard to see how they will ever fit together, or who might be hallucinating but they magically piece together in a terrifying yet mystifying way. By the end you're left wondering if you're living your best life, if you've made the right choices, and what you can do to start doing so. If you love books that are deep yet fantastical, light but heavy- you're going to want to pick up Road Seven. This book will take you to places in your mind you probably avoid and make you ponder your mortality. It was hard to put down, and left me puzzled in all the right ways. I received this book via NetGalley.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Allow me to attempt to describe this book: "So, this guy who is plagued by inertia signs on to be the personal assistant to a famous alien abduction survivor/cryptozoologist/author (who also happens to have some major substance abuse issues), and together they travel to a pumpkin farm on a remote island off the coast of Iceland to search for a unicorn, but they stumble across something far more sinister." I mean, it sounds weird, and it is, but Keith Rosson does weird so well. I'll continue to r Allow me to attempt to describe this book: "So, this guy who is plagued by inertia signs on to be the personal assistant to a famous alien abduction survivor/cryptozoologist/author (who also happens to have some major substance abuse issues), and together they travel to a pumpkin farm on a remote island off the coast of Iceland to search for a unicorn, but they stumble across something far more sinister." I mean, it sounds weird, and it is, but Keith Rosson does weird so well. I'll continue to read everything he writes.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heather Gadd

    Rarely will I compare a book to another work because I want to make sure an author gets full credit for their originality, but I felt this so much that in this case I will make an exception. There is a very strong “Stranger Things” vibe going on throughout this book, but trust me, it is still wildly unique and has plenty of its own flavor to bring to the table. From the first few pages I was laughing hysterically and this humor continued right through until the very end. Rosson’s way of writing Rarely will I compare a book to another work because I want to make sure an author gets full credit for their originality, but I felt this so much that in this case I will make an exception. There is a very strong “Stranger Things” vibe going on throughout this book, but trust me, it is still wildly unique and has plenty of its own flavor to bring to the table. From the first few pages I was laughing hysterically and this humor continued right through until the very end. Rosson’s way of writing moves along at an easy and steady pace that is so entertaining. I especially loved that much of the story was based out of the Pacific Northwest since that’s where I’m located. Barring the tiny bit of strange and prophetic mentions of specific places that have been in the news recently, such as Capitol Hill and Cal Anderson Park. Even the obscure mentions of my local grocery store gave me a little thrill. It’s such an untraditional monster story that really gives you no clue as to how it’s going to end, but you don’t even really care, because the journey is a riot. Thank you, Meerkat Press, for my copy for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Justin Hall

    Think modern day HP Lovecraft. That's all kept drifting to. I don't read very many books about monster hunting and this book was kind of thrilling in a way that I have not experienced in a long time. The two main characters are not quite likeable but the have a sense of humanity to them that you can find commonality with. I want this made into a series or A24 movie like right now. Rosson delivers a good book here. Thanks to MeerKat Press for this book. I am so happy I could read and review yet a Think modern day HP Lovecraft. That's all kept drifting to. I don't read very many books about monster hunting and this book was kind of thrilling in a way that I have not experienced in a long time. The two main characters are not quite likeable but the have a sense of humanity to them that you can find commonality with. I want this made into a series or A24 movie like right now. Rosson delivers a good book here. Thanks to MeerKat Press for this book. I am so happy I could read and review yet another great book by Keith Rosson.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Part buddy story, part fantasy, part cautionary tale, and part question mark. Rosson spins a mixed story that you’re never sure where it’ll take you next. It took a bit to get into but once it got me, I was hooked. I thought I knew where the story was going until 30 pages before the end when it spun off in a totally different direction. Overall an interesting read. Note: received from BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

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