Lydia Swane, a Bigfoot researcher who’s all but given up on finding proof of the Bigfoot’s existence, teams up with Louis Price, a writer who grew up idolizing her books, to investigate and see if the preserved museum specimen is real. Marcus Auster, the curator of the museum, refuses to allow Lydia to take DNA samples of the specimen and force her and Louis to look into the authenticity of the Bigfoot with little more than hearsay to go on. As they strive to learn the truth, though, they must face truths about themselves and each other. Louis, who is on a tight deadline for a book deal, is an angry black man who has been writing for a politically conservative but journalistically dubious Web site. He confronts racist attitudes on a daily basis and is prone to anxiety attacks. Lydia, a widow whose husband was her partner in researching the Bigfoot phenomenon, has grown cynical toward her own work and her collaborations with her husband, who likely may have been unfaithful to her. The intensity and the contentiousness of their relationship crackle and snap with vivid life, and Rau succeeds in presenting Lydia and Louis as well-rounded characters.
Rau brilliantly builds up the suspense in THE MUSEUM OF BULLSHIT as Lydia and Louis investigate reports of a Bigfoot bagged by local hunters; it could be the Bigfoot in the museum, but what they find out raises more questions than answers them; the twists and turns only make the reader more eager to learn what ultimately happens. But the story takes yet another dynamic turn when Lydia’s and Louis’s persistence leaves them to Clyde Whitethunder, a mysterious mountain man who believes in the Bigfoot and feels an ancestral connection to the creature. The trio embarks on a trek into the wilderness of the Olympic Peninsula through a fierce winter storm where they learn to deal with and respect each other . . . and face the demons of their own pasts as the weather deteriorates. And it leads to a climax that readers will never see coming.
THE MUSEUM OF BULLSHIT presents the honest truth about America through the prism of identity – the identity of race, the identity of place (in this instance, the Pacific Northwest), and the identity of a people based on their folklore and their beliefs, with the Bigfoot legend as a metaphor. The end leaves one as breathless and as content as one would feel at the end of a rollercoaster ride. For all of that, it’s a spellbindingly thrilling story.
~Steve Maginnis for IndieReader