It’s easy to overlook something supernatural if it’s nestled into completely ordinary surroundings. No one takes a walk in the woods expecting to see anything other than trees, flowers, and the occasional animal. That is, until now.
Evan is a likeable and completely believable thirteen year old boy whose frightening experience in the woods one afternoon made me eager to follow him deeper into what is really happening in his community. Despite his young age this is definitely not a young adult novel. There are some truly disturbing scenes in this book, and while Evan’s response to them was well worth my time, the material is too dark for readers his age.
I was caught off guard by all but one of the plot twists in this novella. While the one I figured out was slightly too easy to anticipate in advance, it was exciting to be surprised by such an unexpected ending that fit into the themes and atmosphere of earlier scenes so well. This is a great choice for anyone who loves truly original science fiction.
The metaphors in this story are also quite memorable. My favourite one compares a certain character’s presence to a “cockroach creeping across a freshly made coconut cream pie.” The author saves his most vivid imagery for special occasions, but I eagerly anticipated discovering each new one as the plot progresses.
The Tree Man is a must-read for anyone who loves the horror or science fiction genres. Its exceptional storytelling is overshadowed only by the thrilling plot twists that made it impossible for me to put this book down.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.