I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A small village becomes the battleground between a family, townspeople with a deadly secret, and a ruthless landowner as a local legend comes to bloody life in author Stephanie Ellis’s “The Woodcutter”.
A tragic accident, shrouded in mystery, leads to a family reunion in the hidden village of Little Hatchet, located in the smothering shadow of GodBeGone Wood, the home of the mythical Woodcutter and Grandma. Alec Eades rediscovers his bond with GodBeGone Wood and the future his father agreed to years ago as nefarious landowner Oliver Hayward schemes to raise money for the village by re-enacting part of the Woodcutter legend. Old wounds are re-opened and ties of blood and friendship are tested to the extreme when the Woodcutter is summoned and Grandma returns.
I loved this story. The author did an incredible job of capturing the small town/village horror trope that showcases a local legend, a dark town secret, and the outsider caught in the middle. The tension and atmosphere the author was able to capture really honed in on the chilling nature of the townspeople and their secrets, as well as the mystery and haunting heart of the woods and the local legends that impact their surroundings.
To me, the heart of this narrative was in the pacing of the mystery and the twisted character development that starts early on. I felt a twinge of nostalgia at the beginning of the story, as a mystery caller in the middle of a stormy night for protagonist Alec made the story feel like an old 1920s Hollywood Horror film from Universal Studios. The twisted family dynamics that are at play thanks to these legends and the path that the mystery brings Alec on as each page is lifted and the shocking truth behind the Woodcutter is revealed kept me invested in this story.
Memorable, terrifying, and entertaining, author Stephanie Ellis’s “The Woodcutter” is a must-read horror novel to read this summer. The upcoming supernatural thriller will not only chill readers with the twists and turns the story takes but will have them shocked as the final fate of these characters is revealed in all its bloody glory. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copy today or grab your copy on August 1st, 2023.
About the Author
Stephanie Ellis writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her longer work includes the novels, The Five Turns of the Wheel and Reborn, and the novellas, Paused and Bottled. Her new folk horror novel, The Woodcutter is due out soon!
She is an active member of the HWA and can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on twitter at @el_stevie.