Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 10th, 2014
Book: Bigfoot Cop
Author: Kevin Shamel
Published by: Eraserhead Press
Review by: Gabino Iglesias
Up until now, Bigfoot fanatics had only three genres to choose from when looking for literature about or featuring cryptozoology’s best known cryptid: nonfiction of varying degrees of quality, monster erotica, or horror stories. With Bigfoot Cop, bizarro author Kevin Shamel offers a new kind of Bigfoot literature, something that’s fun to read and that places the world’s most famous apelike creature in the spotlight without turning him into a sex object or a rampaging killer. It was about time something like this came along.
Bigfoot was saved from certain death at the hands of poachers when he was a kid and, instead of the serene existence he would’ve had among his kind, he grew up among humans, learned to communicate using ASL, joined the police force, and went on to become a detective. Unfortunately, despite years of media attention, tests, and exhibitions, life is still not easy for him, and the fact that he can destroy half a city block and tends to accidentally kill most of he criminals he apprehends by ripping off their arms doesn’t make things easier. As a result of his “accidents,” the police chief transfers him to Missing Persons and assigns him a new partner he doesn’t want, Lyle Straits, a boring, by-the-book detective who is allergic to animal dander and has to be home early every day for dinner or his wife gets mad and stops cooking for a week. Bigfoot and Lyle start investigating the rising number of local disappearances, most of whom are redheaded kids. But what starts as a routine investigation and then becomes personal when a friend of Bigfoot disappears quickly turns into the biggest case the world has ever seen.
There are a few elements that make Bigfoot Cop a very enjoyable read. For starters, Shamel knowledge of both Bigfoot lore and nature shine though with beautiful descriptions of wooded areas, precious stones, and rivers. Instead of a monster, Bigfoot is portrayed as a caring, incredibly smart being who cares about people and wants to do the right thing. Also, the author obviously did his research and presents Bigfoot theories throughout the story. Some he makes accurate, like the fact that Bigfoot can talk to animals, and some he debunks or makes fun of, like when a crazy lady claims his son was abducted by a Bigfoot that came down in a flying saucer.
Ultimately, the best thing about Bigfoot Cop is that Shamel uses him as a vehicle to explore the relationship between humans and nature and humans and each other, and humans come out looking like awful, destructive, judgmental beings, which is painfully accurate. Also, this book is funny, weird, and packed with more action than most “serious” thrillers. In fact, the first five pages of the book have as much action as a Hollywood action movie.
If you like Bigfoot, you need to read this. Shamel has taken the most popular hairy hominid out of every other genre and placed him beautifully in the world of bizarro fiction. I hope it stays there for at least a few more books.
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.