Top positive review
Good solid read! Well worth the money.
Reviewed in the United States on August 14, 2018
Having been a Story Analyst at Warner Brothers for years, I am not an easy reader to please, which is why I usually find myself reading mostly non-fiction books these days; however, I was attracted to the appealing setting of this story, and I was curious to see how the writer, Jeremy Bates, was going to make use of the famed Suicide Forest in Japan as the story's spine-tingling backdrop. I am happy to report that Mr. Bates made the most of the creepy atmosphere, and he did extremely well when it comes to activating all five senses while reading this well crafted effort.
That said, there were times when I found myself becoming irritated with the lead, Ethan Childs, who, developmentally, comes off a little bit too much like a child. Still, the very qualities that make him irritating are also some of the very qualities that will serve him well as the story advances. Bates does a nice job of creating characters that are actually fully dimensional and convincing, and which leads to some satisfying sexual tensions, realistic interpersonal conflicts, and even leaves one hoping for the best concerning the various members of the group here.
One of the biggest problems with horror stories like this (and without giving any of the mystery away) is that too many writers either paint themselves into a corner via the use of flimsy red herrings or they provide a conclusion which is disappointing to say the least. I am happy to say that Mr. Bates actually avoids those traps. One of the keys to see if a mystery holds up is to read the story backwards to make sure that everything fits neatly into place, and Mr. Bates did quite well. In other words, the ending does not disappoint.
Hats off to you, Mr. Bates, and to the rest of your potential readers: what are you waiting for? Buy the book and enjoy.