If "Claw Heart Mountain" were a recipe, the ingredients would be equal parts the 1993 book-turned-into-a-movie "A Simple Plan," the 2005 horror flick "The Descent" and elements from any hired-killer-on-the-hunt plot. In other words, this isn't gourmet fare, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Minnesota Book Award nominee David Oppegaard's sixth novel is a solid if predictable entertainment about college friends who find $15 million on a getaway to a remote mountain cabin. Where there's money there's trouble, and poetry-writing Nova, the "dudes" — Landon, Wyatt and Isaac — and rich girl Mackenna run up against plenty as they vote on whether to keep the loot discovered in an armored truck that's been run off the road. Strangely, there's no sign of an injured driver or passengers. Where could they have gone in the middle of nowhere?
The monstrous truth is revealed when the supernatural makes itself known, but in the meantime, a shadowy group called the Organization sends a man — the kind who says things like "I work alone. You know this" — to find out why the cash delivery was never made. Added to the mix are assorted locals and law enforcement whose main reason for existing, it seems, is to die.
So, yes, the recipe includes a generous pinch of the grisly, which might make it difficult to swallow, but the need to know how this is all going to come together will keep you sampling.
Maren Longbella is a Star Tribune copy editor.
Claw Heart Mountain
By: David Oppegaard.
Publisher: CamCat Books, 320 pages, $25.99.