The Wood (King of the Wood, pt 2) is the follow up to 2019’s King of the Wood-a book that made my top ten of the year. This one may make my top ten for this year!
We return to the small town setting where a man is wondering why his back yard suddenly surges in growth. His oak tree seems to be having a growth spurt as do all the flowers and vegetables in his garden. Before he knows it this stunning growth spurt starts spreading out to the town itself. A young woman across the town and new to it, can’t help but notice the burgeoning greenery and the fact that she responds to it in a visceral way. We meet a teen with the mind of a child, waking from a long, long sleep and a cult leader bent on the destruction of everyone and everything that stands in his way. Lastly, we have the King of the Wood who has watched on silently as the wood disappeared, decimated by logging, by civilization, by humanity. When all of these characters come together, there is a grand final showdown. Who will be the victor? You will have to read this to find out!
For me, what makes these books shine are its characters. You can’t help but love or hate them and a few of them change from one to the other by the denouement. The chapters here are short and they fly by, all the while the tension is building and building. When will this guy meet that woman? When will they discover what the King is up to? What in the name of the Lord is going on in that cult meeting? There are many questions that need answering and the reader cannot help but be pulled along by the rapid pace.
Amongst all this beauty and greenery, make no mistake, brutality and violence are standard in this town. Orgies and murders that defy description abound. All of this put me in mind of the late 70’s- early 80’s horror novels that attracted me to dark fiction in the first place. This book has the added benefit of relating a message that is important and relevant to modern day life. A life that will be changing drastically over the next few decades as climate changes continue to evolve.
Have no worries, you need not be a tree hugger to appreciate the great fun waiting to be discovered in these pages. Horror fans, rejoice! In this town, the final showdown is coming and finally, everyone will know who is really in charge.
*Thank you to the author for the paperback ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*
**Just look at that gorgeous cover!!**