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It Calls From The Forest: An Anthology of Terrifying Tales from the Woods Volume 1 Paperback – Illustrated, March 26, 2020
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Before I start babbling about how this is one of the best short story collections I've ever read, a quick disclaimer: there were one or two short stories where the writing wasn't quite up to par. One had a dialogue tag problem; every single line was followed by "[character name] said" and by the fourth page, it was driving me up the wall. But I enjoyed the story (a nasty little grindhouse fable) so much that I was never tempted to stop reading. There was another story that shuffled between verb tenses in a super confusing and distracting way. But again, the story was entertaining, and, based on some of the other writing choices, I couldn't tell for sure if the inconsistent verb tenses were intentional or not. So as long you go into the collection not expecting twenty-four masterpieces, you'll enjoy every second of It Calls From the Forest."
Goodreads Five Star Review:
From hunters who become the hunted to the story Carhaze, a creepy fairy tale, (my personal fave) The Twins of the Wassailing and Pumpkinface. The baby cries in the haunted Neumack Woods and a most frightening Forest Man... where nothing is as it seems and the only thing they all have in common is the forest...
About the Author
After a 30-year hiatus, Mark recently gave up a lucrative career in sales to pursue his dream of being a writer. His passion and belief have resulted in pieces in many prestigious magazines, including Flash Fiction Magazine, Raconteur, Books N' Pieces, Artpost, Colp, Antipodean SF, Page & Spine, Twenty-Two Twenty-Eight, and Montreal Writes. His work has also appeared twice on The No Sleep Podcast and also on The Grey Rooms. Nine anthologies to date include his stories, two of which are on the 2019 Horror Writers Association recommended list, and a further eight anthologies set for imminent release in 2020 also contain his work. Mark resides in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children.
D. R. Smith lives in Livonia, NY with his wife and two children. He is a special education teacher in the Canandaigua City School District in Upstate New York. Ever since he was a boy, his haunted dreams have spurred him to write about the macabre. He loves a good horror story, especially ones that leave you wondering what horrors even the author was afraid to write. His favorite authors include Stephen King, Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury, and Neil Gaiman. He's published numerous short stories in Ezines and local magazines. He is the author of over a dozen books for teens and young readers, both horror and fantasy, and three writing guides for people of all ages. Check out his work at his website http: //www.davidrsmithbooks.com or visit him on twitter @DavidRSmith20.
- Publisher : Eerie River Publishing; Illustrated edition (March 26, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1777041074
- ISBN-13 : 978-1777041076
- Item Weight : 14.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.96 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,469,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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My favorites include:
Knotwork Hill by C.W. Blackwell was one of the creepiest stories in the book and had an intriguing mystery at its center. While satisfying, its ending leaves as many questions as answers, and I would love to see this expanded into a longer work. The mythology at its center was intriguing, and the featured creature was wondrously strange and frightening.
Forest Man by Holley Cornetto was the longest story in the book and thus felt the most well rounded. A man reunites with some childhood friends in an effort to discover what really happened their last summer together. This was another one with an intriguing premise and interesting mystery at its core.
The Lady in the Woods by Michael D. Nadeau features Irish mythology. Though it's brief, I really liked the uniqueness of Nadeu's story, and the titular lady was fascinating.
Fairies in the Forest by Jason Holden was undoubtedly the most original story in the collection, and I thought the idea of a band of angry fairies was pretty entertaining, although Holden's take on the wendigo seemed a bit odd. Still the gleeful mashing of mischievous fairy and dangerous fairy tropes was delightful.
Evan M. Elgin's The Von Brunner Woods was the only other legitimately creepy story in the collection, but I might have enjoyed it more if it hadn't had a gruesome dog death. Other that my personal preference for avoiding animal death, I did enjoy this solid, scary tale.
I definitely enjoyed this collection and will be seeking out other collections from Eerie River publishers soon.
Review originally published on Goodreads.
As with all themed anthologies, certain story elements tend to crop up. Druids, clearings, old legends and kids testing boundaries appear several times. Perhaps 24 stories on the same theme is a bit much. Like binge-watching a Netflix series, you can quickly find yourself getting ahead of the author.
Among the better woodsy yarns were:
"Knotwork Hill" by C.W. Blackwell
"Lazarus' Respite" by Michael Subjack
"Forest Man" by Holley Cornetto
"Rouse Them Not" by Tim Mendees
"13" by Craig Crawford
"Getting Away From It All" by Greg Hunter
"Hollow Woods" by Brian Duncan.
My favorite pair were Jason Holden's "Fairies in the Forest," in which a father and son learn that crazy old grandpa knew his cryptids. Also "Automatic Contamination" by M.A. Smith in which what's old is new and inclined to eat and run. I especially enjoyed some of the imagery, as in passages such as the "hard ratchet of the crows" and "the spiraling trill of summer robins."
Overall, fine reading for the horror aficionado, lovers of short fiction, and fans of timberland terror.
I am glad I read the whole thing.
By A. Petti on September 1, 2020
Liked it so much I bought the second one the minute I finished. Sadly the second was a bit of a letdown. But, I cant recommend this enough.
Top reviews from other countries
There are 24 stories in total each based on a forest and I read a couple a night. One story follows a group of boys who find a strange rock in the woods but odd things begin to happen when they take it home and this one was my favourite but I enjoyed them all.
Well worth a read.
It’s such a great collections of stories, and so wonderful to see the works of different minds all coalescing their take on the theme. Forests, in general, are spooky! Now, they’re infinitely more spooky! Can’t wait to finish!
Great job to everyone who injected a little creepy snippet of their heart on here! 🙌🏽