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Friday, 6 March 2015

Silent Woods
by Ofelia Gränd
M/M Contemporary/Paranormal/Established Relationship
Wayward Ink Publishing
Novella Length
5 Stars

Blurb:

When Daniel’s husband Anders takes the family camping in the woods, Daniel can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right.

He almost dismisses his fears as nothing more than his dislike of the great outdoors, but when the couple’s five-year-old son Axel goes missing, his worst fears are confirmed.

A search party reveals something more sinister than either man could ever have dreamed of encountering in the woods. Can they find Axel and save him before it’s too late?

Review:

Daniel is city born and bred, he doesn't like nature or the countryside. He's very protective of their two adopted children and worries, even when they are safe in their walled garden.

His husband Anders is the nature lover and he wants the children to experience the countryside on a camping trip, like he used to do as a child. Reluctantly Daniel agrees to a camping trip of only two nights away in a nearby forest.

But Daniel is constantly worried - what do they do if they meet cows, do cows attack or bite? (This line amused me because I remember traipsing through a field in New Zealand filled with sheep, and I panicked - "They're looking at me!" Needless to say, we weren't attacked by the sheep!)

Anders tries to play down his husband's fears, as he doesn't want his nervousness to rub off on the children. They spend some time hiking and exploring, with Anders and Daniel finding some alone time once the children are asleep, a sweet love scene that shows you how much these two men love each other, more than mere words could say.

Daniel thinks the woods are odd, more so than he expected. There is no noise: no birdsong, no rustling of leaves in the wind, in fact there is no wind at all. And where are all the animals and insects? The forest feels deserted except for them.

But it's the second day when they face a parent's worse nightmare: their son Axel goes missing in the middle of the woods. And when the police come, the detective informs them there have been some unexplained drownings in a lake formed from an old quarry. Something in the lake wants Axel but Daniel and Anders won't give him up without a fight.

This was a short, but intense book, starting off very simply as a slice of family life but then the tension starts to ratchet up. You just have to keep reading.

I felt closest to Daniel, as if I had children I would be a nervous wreck and never want to let them out of my sight too, but I liked Anders too. The children are just adorable and I loved how Maja kept mispronouncing her brother's name as Askel.

We get into a bit of Swedish folklore/mythology, and I love stories with a bit of folklore, it must be my Irish genes.

Although shorter than a full-length novel, nothing feels skimped on - there is a good plot, good characterisation and a story that keeps you guessing until the very end.

The ending chilled me but I won't spoil it here. You just have to read it for yourself.



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