Overall, Dead Five’s Pass is a decent, if not fairly predictable read. The frigid atmosphere of the Canadian Rockies provided a good setting for the bleak story line. The tension is established early and you will be set for the ride. The characterizations are somewhat wooden, but they are serviceable for the plot. The thrills really pick up when Carise and Marcel enter the cave for a second time (see below for a comment about this). The action becomes nonstop and what the couple finds deep within the cave added an extra chill to the read.
The book does have a number of gaffes that gave me pause while reading. First, Carise and Marcel engage in incredibly stupid behavior – namely going into the cave for a second time. I found myself thinking, “Oh, come on” and groaning at the too-often used horror cliché at taking a stupid course of action (at least they didn’t split up while underground). Second, the author struggles with weather continuity. At times, it is snowing, at other times it is not, then the characters are in the midst of a blizzard… and people are flying helicopters in blizzards with no visibility – in the Rockies, no less. Third, Carise and Marcel discuss a theory that the presence of adolescents in the cave has somehow awakened the creature. The young climbers are described as “kids” and teenagers. However, they are also graduate students and medical students. At the very least that would make them in their mid-twenties – young but not teens. These types of things nudged me from the narrative flow and had me wondering what the Darkfuse editors were thinking when they were reading the work.
So, overall, a good read, but not outstanding like other Darkfuse titles.