• Bella Dean Joyner

Book Review: The Haunted Forest Tour by Jeff Strand and James A. Moore

Let me first apologize for inundating you with multiple blog posts and a newsletter all in the same week. However, after reading this novel, I absolutely had to share it with all of you!

The Haunted Forest Tour is not a new release. In fact, it has been out for almost four years. I ran across it when I was looking for another title actually. The cover and the title caught my eye, so I figured "why not?".

So incredibly glad that I did!

This novel was genuine FUN!

That can't often be said about horror. It was packed with tension, suspense, cringe, gasps, surprise, and yes...laughs. The authors use such a casual conversational tone throughout the novel that completely puts the reader at ease and off guard so that when the twists do happen, they are that much more impactful.

The novel starts out with the formation of the forest, huge fifty foot trees that sprout from the earth without any perceived cause, warning, or intention. It isn't an ecologist's wet dream though; these trees impale, upend, and destroy. An entire town is obliterated, its residents massacred or forced to fee. The Haunted Forest is born.

Christopher, a worker bee in a large corporation, goes home for the weekend, fearful for his job, worked to the bone. He almost doesn't take his mother up on the surprise Halloween edition trip to the Haunted Forest Tour. But he does...

Instead of a weekend in the safety of an armored fortified tram in The Haunted Forest, something goes horribly wrong. Now Christopher and a group of less than merry survivors must battle the elements and the throngs of nightmarish creatures that converge on the disabled tram.

This novel was riveting. The action begins early, almost to the point that I wondered if I had downloaded a series of short stories instead of a full length novel. The dire circumstances that the tram riders found themselves in seemed almost impossible. There was absolutely no way that the author could have written an entire novel after this? Right?

Wrong. So so wrong.

The twists and turns throughout the novel are exquisite. Just when you think there's absolutely no hope, it comes blazing through the darkened tree tops and saves our group of heroes at just the right moment...sometimes. You'll find yourself releasing breath after breath of sweet relief. And the creatures are nothing short of genuine genius. The variety and level of detail for each unique creature is fascinating, and each one gets progressively "worse" throughout the novel.

I will only say, be wary of the mold. That part was my favorite! The humor weaved through the chaos was beautifully done, not at all cheesy or detracting from the story or the suspense. I found it to be an incredible read and really wanted to share in case any of you had not had the pleasure of experiencing The Haunted Forest Tour.

As always, I leave you with a couple of my favorite excerpts:

"Nobody said anything about giant severed heads!" Christopher shouted. "The commercials promised weird, scary stuff, but there was nothing about giant severed heads lying in the middle of the tracks! This is bullshit!"

"Dover's Point did not die without a fight, but it most definitely died."

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