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Title: Haunted Forest Tour
Author: James Moore & Jeff Strand
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
A forest grew up in one day in New Mexico, destroying a small town and killing almost all of the inhabitants. The survivors reported seeing otherworldly monsters.
The owner of the land opened up a tourist attraction where people could take a ride on armored buses through the edge of the forest to see the various creatures. He also hired cryptozoologists to study the remains of the creatures. The Haunted Forest Tour has a 100% safety rating and no one has ever gotten hurt.
For months now, crew have been laying down new track to the center of the forest. On Halloween a select group of 80 people are invited to go deeper into the forest than anyone has ever gone before. Unfortunately for them, the power goes out on the track and an accident occurs between 2 of the buses. Also, the monsters begin attacking, something they’ve never done before. The tourists split, some staying in the buses to wait for rescue and others to try to strike out and rescue themselves. Those who stay are eaten rather quickly.
The group we follow make it to an abandoned facility within the Forest. They realize they’ve gone even deeper into the forest and one of them strikes out on his own to follow the rails back to the edge of the Forest. The remainder are split up. It is revealed that the Forest is an intrusion from a demonic dimension and that the ruler has made a deal with the owner of Haunted Forest Tours. This demon needs a willing sacrifice AND a willing host to fully integrate his dimension into ours. He gets the sacrifice but is outwitted and some other humans destroy his host.
The whole forest and all of its denizens return to the their dimension and only a few people survive.
I have to admit, I was hoping for more. Part of that was me wanting answers well before the authors chose to give it. I didn’t learn that the Forest was a hell pocket until well past the 50% mark and up to that point I was trying to figure out what was going on. The deal with the devil explained almost everything but it came too late for me, as I was too distracted by my own questions up to that point.
I was also disappointed in how the military reacted. They’re shown as a bunch of lackwits and idiots. I was hoping for something a bit more in the vein of Through the Looking Glass by John Ringo.
The violence was pretty high but felt like some sort of B movie violence where it was just so splatterific that it moved into silly territory when that was NOT the intention. There was one torture scene near the end though that was just grotesque.
For a horror book, I never felt a moments dread. Horror is atmospheric, not just describing people getting killed horrifically. This had as much atmosphere as an empty elevator.
Overall, I don’t feel like my time was wasted, as I got all the splatterific I could handle but there was no nuance and the whole supernatural side of things was just shoehorned in. The ending seemed to happen in 5 pages and authorial handwavium definitely occurred. This book didn’t leave me wanting to seek out any more by either author.