Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Review: Forest of Shadows

Forest of Shadows, by Hunter Shea, is good read. If you like a creepy ghost story with wonderful character development, atmosphere and a healthy dose of good old fashioned horror, then you should check out this book.

Let me say up front that you might consider me a bit biased. I happen to co-host a horror/paranormal themed video podcast with the author called Monster Men. So yes, I am prone to say nice things about my friend. But on the other hand, if you watch the show, you know I am a pretty seasoned horror fan... so I also know what I am talking about when it comes to spooky subject matter. So take my review with as many grains of salt as you'd like. I just know that I really enjoyed this book.

One thing that impressed me about this book was the relationship between the father, John Backman and his daughter, Jessica. Among all of the supernatural chaos and madness lie a lot of emotions, fear and unconditional love that is the foundation of the entire story. Also, the cultural differences between the locals and the outsiders, and that inherent mistrust of outsiders, give the story some interesting texture and grit.

But of course, I liked this book mostly because it's a great horror novel. The beginning of the book punches you in the gut. It sets the tone and immediately hooks you.

After winning the lottery, John Backman suffers a personal tragedy that forever changes his life. We pick up a few years later, where John has dedicated his life to investigating the paranormal. This brings him to Shida, Alaska... a town that would give Twin Peaks the creeps. Something horrible is stirring in the woods and people are starting to die.

The story builds steadily, with plenty of paranormal scares and equally disturbing townies. All the attention to detail helps make the horror parts that much more scary, because we have gotten to know the characters and we care about them.

The last few chapters of the book are where it all pays off for the horror fan. Like a good roller coaster, this book as plenty of ups and downs but saves the big thrills for the last act. Let's just say that the horror fan in me simply loved the climax of this book. And we all know how many books fall flat at the end. Not this time.

I really enjoyed Forest of Shadows and I look forward to Hunter's next book, Evil Eternal. And I would love to see a sequel to this book someday.

You can catch Monster Men here at Back in Jack or at Hunter's blog:

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