Written by Shannon McGrew
When it comes to horror novels, it’s become harder and harder to find qualities ones. However, every now and then you stumble upon one that absolutely blows your mind. One of the books that I was most looking forward to cracking open this year was “13 Views of the Suicide Woods” by author Bracken MacLeod, as I had heard nothing but positive accolades from those within the horror community who had read it. This anthology of short stories perfectly delves into the horror that inhabitants the darkest corners of the mind where pain, terror, and heartache reside.
When it comes to anthologies, they can be hit or miss. More often than naught, there are a few stories that don’t seem to correlate with the overall theme of what the author is trying to convey. But that is something we don’t have to worry about with “13 Views of the Suicide Woods” since Bracken MacLeod hits the nail on the coffin every single time. Each and every story is just as capable of gutting you as the last while continuing to stay true to the essential topic on hand.
The stories range from supernatural horrors, such as vampires and spirits, to man-made terrors of murder, violence, and vengeance. Each story, without exceptions, packs a punch, and considering most of the stories have to do with how vile human nature can be, it leaves you questioning humanity and even those closest to you. A part of me wondered, how was MacLeod inspired and how was he able to get in the headspace to be able to write such vividly harrowing stories.
What I liked most about “13 Views of the Suicide Woods” is that there is something for every horror fan. There are enough stories to keep the attention of the readers from the moment they first open the book to the absolute finish, while also being unique in delivering each tale. This having been my first encounter with MacLeod’s writing, I was impressed to see that not every story conveyed that it was written by the same person (even though it was) as MacLeod was able to make each narrative different from the last. Because of that, it allowed me to be fully immersed into whatever was unfolding with each new story.
I wish I could pick a favorite story out of all the ones presented in this collection, but it’s incredibly hard due to how expertly crafted each tale of terror was. However, there were a few stories that stayed with me long after. The first being “Still Day: An Ending”. What I loved so much about this short was the incredible detail to the surroundings which gave a false sense of comfort for what was to come; only to then have it shattered by the slaughter of life. The juxtaposition between the two was done perfectly and is one of the best highlights of the entire anthology.
Along with “Still Day: An Ending”, I also enjoyed “Blood Makes the Grass Grow” as the narrative stereotype is flipped on its head and proves that no one is ever as they seem. Then there was “Pure Blood and Evergreen”, a new take on vampires that strikes an eerily similar chord to Hitler’s horrific reign, specifically in regards to concentration camps. Lastly, “Mine, Not Yours”, is a harrowing tale of human depravity, the sins of the Church, and just how far a father will go to seek vengeance for his daughter. In the end, each story will leave you shaken and disturbed for days to come.
Overall, “13 Views of the Suicide Woods” is an anthology I would recommend to everyone who is looking for fresh horror material to read. The stories are impactful and raw, never holding back where other might, but never being disrespectful or over-the-top towards some of the heavier themes presented. MacLeod is a true talent and a master at weaving incredibly detailed stories from beginning to end. He has an eye for detail which helps in bringing each tale to life in all it’s horrific glory. Mark my words, “13 Tales of the Suicide Woods” is one anthology you most certainly do not want to miss out on.
For more information or to order a copy of “13 Views of the Suicide Woods” visit Braken MacLeod’s site HERE.