Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Book Review – The Devil’s Woods by Brian Moreland

After reading The Devil’s Woods the first thing that came to my mind was “why aren’t more horror stories written set In this area?”  Brian Moreland transports us to the Canadian wilderness where the environment can be as much of a threat as the things living there.  The official blurb for the book is as follows:

Fear wears many skins.

Deep within the Canadian wilderness, people have been disappearing for over a century. There is a place the locals call “the Devil’s Woods”, but to speak of it will only bring the devil to your door. It is a place so evil that even animals avoid it.

When their father’s expedition team goes missing, Kyle Elkheart and his brother and sister return to the abandoned Cree Indian reservation where they were born. Kyle can see ghosts that haunt the woods surrounding the village—and they seem to be trying to warn him. The search for their father will lead Kyle and his siblings to the dark heart of the legendary forest, where their mission will quickly become a fight for survival.

Moreland paints an incredibly vivid picture of this part of the world.  He shows us both a breathtaking landscape that anyone should desire to see in their lifetime.  Simultaneously, he shows us a place where true horror can hide without fear of discovery and where mysteries can hide with few questions asked.  Moreland creates clear pictures in our mind and is extremely effective in utilizing the setting of his story to intensify the mood of the novel.  Moreland also taps into another too seldom used wealth of story in modern horror, Native American mythology and legend.

Once before, in his novel Dead of Winter, Moreland tapped into Native American mythology to present a seldom wrote about terror.  He does the same in this latest novel.  Moreland has obviously done extensive research before writing his book as he provides all the pieces of both the mythology and the traditions that appear in the novel.  Without giving anything away, his creatures will leave you checking the dark for things that might be lurking and praying that it really is just mythology and not based on fact.

Another area in which Moreland does an astonishing job is in creating realistic, believable characters that we care about shortly after meeting them.  There are no stereotypes or cookie cutter characters in Moreland’s novel.  Each major character is presented as a living, breathing person with thoughts, dreams, strengths, and weaknesses.  Even when characters make choices that make you want to yell at them for not making what seems like the best decisions, there actions are clearly based on their character.  Even the worst of the characters’ action are fitting with their personality, morals, and beliefs (or lack thereof).

Overall, Moreland does a fantastic job of drawing you right in and keeping you engaged as the action plays out.  There are a few minor points in the story where things seem to drag a little bit, but everything is vital to the story as a whole.  In the end, the payoff is well worth the patience during these minor slow parts, which are few and far between.  If you are going to read one new horror novel this year, you owe it to yourself to make it Brian Moreland’s The Devil’s Woods.

So, let’s take a look at the Rage Circus breakdown:

Story Concept - 5/5
Story Execution - 5/5
Story Flow - 4/5
Character Development (give-a-damn factor) - 5/5
Gripping visuals/details - 5/5
Entertainment Value/Story Engagement - 5/5
Editing (including grammar and spelling) - 5/5

Overall – 4.85/5 – READ THIS BOOK NOW!!!!

The Devil’s Woods by Brian Moreland is available through many retailers including direct from the publisher, Samhain Publishing at:

It is also available on Amazon at:

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