Okay now that the Beta Readers have Chasing Lady Midnight I have bit of a writing break so I decided to post a review of one of my favorite scary stories. It is October after all.
A disclaimer. The fact that it is Fall and the creepy trees are shedding their obnoxious leaves all over my yard, which I must clean up, have nothing to do with this post. True, the objects of the focus of the vile villainy in The Willows are trees, but that is pure coincidence.
Anyway, back to The Willows which I really enjoyed. Unlike the creepy trees that are shedding their obnoxious leaves as I write.
Not that I'm bitter. Much.
Now this story was published in 1907 so you're not going to gore or gross. What you are going to get is a good story that you probably won't completely understand, but in this case that's good. Especially when you have author who knows what they're doing.
Algernon Blackwood knew what he was doing.
The plot in brief:
Two men are taking a canoeing trip on the Danube River. Of course they ignore the warnings of the superstitious locals that this is a really bad idea. Of course, you never listen to anyone who actually lives in the place. Oh no, the sophisticated tourist always knows best. These guys have obviously never heard a scary story or they would know better. Anyway, bad weather and a rising river forces the unlucky (really unlucky) duo onto a small island, which is getting smaller all the time with the water getting higher. Strange, then dangerous, then terrifying things begin to happen. It soon becomes clear that a malevolent force within The Willows means them harm and does not intend to let them escape alive. Their only hope? That whatever it is cannot find them or that it finds someone else first.
Oh it's scary. Even if you don't have a tree phobia.
The story is short and should only take a couple of hours to read. What makes it scary is the author's talent, and it's awesome, of building the sense of dread and danger. Better, the revelation of the “monster” is satisfying because you don’t quite understand what it is. But that’s good because the force behind The Willows is not meant to be understood by mere humans, only to be avoided altogether (remember, always listen to the superstitious locals!) or maybe, if you're really lucky (which you probably won't be) escaped.
I love it when when an author makes me scare myself more than the story does!
The fact that Mr. Blackwood shares my distrust of trees has nothing to do with the positive review. Hey when a guy's right, he's right.
Mystery writer C.L. Ragsdale is the author of The Reboot Files a Christian Cozy Mystery Series, and a superhero story called Chasing Lady Midnight. A California native, she loves to "surf" the web to research plot details for her fun, quirky stories. She has a degree in Theatre Arts which greatly influenced her writing style. Working in various fields as a secretary has allowed her to both master her writing skills and acquire valuable technical knowledge which she uses liberally in her plots. Although that is where she got her idea for The Secretary, she is not an evil mastermind. Although some of her former employers might disagree. These days she contents herself with knitting while contemplating her next diabolical plot. Story plot that is.
THE REBOOT FILES: The Mystery of Hurtleberry House, The Island of Living Trees, The Harbinger of Retribution, and The Wrong Ghost.