!!! I'm displaying this review without spoiler masking primarily because some of the theories are pretty much already hinted at in the synopsis or addressed early in the narrative, even if you know nothing when you pick up the book, as I did.... but if you don't even want to know these things, don't read further...you can also read my Goodreads review with the most pertinent spoilers masked at: Dead Mountain!!
So I went in knowing almost nothing; just the synopsis for the book and a couple of very brief glances at reviews. But the honest truth is that I was rooting for a theory involving some sort of supernatural force being involved in the Dyatlov Incident and although that would have been interesting, I probably would have, at the same time, found the book easier to dismiss.
But while the ultimate theory (very convincingly) presented by Eichar may not be "supernatural" - at least in the surface, shallow way we often use the word today (the theory really could be considered supernatural in these traditional definitions of the word: "of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe" or "departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature"), the conclusion is more terrifying and compelling than any thought of aliens spotlighting the tent. Really. I'm serious.
For about the last thirty percent of the book, I was so fascinated that while reading, I drove (though I did limit myself to reading while at red lights, I did pray for those looong red lights), making dinner, and a Scrabble game which the other players insisted I join but which most certainly would've been more enjoyable and civil for them if I hadn't. Without a whole lot of detailed scientific data, Eichar still manages to convincingly debunk the primary theories about the incident, even going so far as to disregard the alien attack theory while also still explaining why the probable factual experiences by other hikers/skiiers/locals (lights in the sky) which contributed to the alien theories, weren't valid in the incident.
Those things which we still don't fully scientifically understand or, for a lay person who may know nothing whatsoever about a theory, can be just as frightening and mysterious as alien interference or KGB operative forces hunting the group in the night.
If you want to experience this book the same way I did (highly recommended, if you've the ability to completely disregard the rest of your life), I definitely admonish you not to give in to the temptation to Google stuff as you read - and don't audiobook it, if one even exists, because the photographs are easily the second best argument for reading the book. Eichar does an excellent job of making the reader care about and know the ten hikers (and look at them up there! don't they look like the awesomest friends anyone could ask for??), and an equally excellent final section of positing what their final, terrifying hours must have felt like. I, for one, am thoroughly convinced of his conclusions. And never, ever, EVER want to embark on such an expedition (because I'd also like to point out that, within this theory, we're definitely not safe now, with all of our modern times and fancy equipment, and warm gear, and scientific explanations, unless we were to follow them to the letter and NOT DO THIS expedition).
Seriously, every hike in Millcreek Canyon after dark this winter is creepy, brittle, frightening.