Review of Spiritwood by G.J. Wise

December 1, 2014

When I accepted to review this book, I didn’t know what I would have found or read and neither what style of writing I would have met during the reading. After reading the book, I found an exceptional work of horror and fantasy. I am speaking about Spiritwood, the first novel of the American author G.J.Wise. The full name of the author is George. He has always been a writer of short horror stories released both in printed and digital magazines. Today, George J.Wise shows the his skills as a novelist by publishing with Damnation Books his first novel titled Spiritwood. Buy here.
This novel is the story of a mysterious town in the North of Wisconsin: Spiritwood. The name of the town comes from an ancient legend according to which the bodies of Indian shamans would be burned under the trees to protect the wood of the town. Ever since, the spirits of these shamans would live in this wood. This is only a legend or at least it should be, but soon the inhabitants of Spiritwood discover that it is not only a legend but also an awful reality. The first character to see the faces of these spirits in the wood is Jed, a talented sculptor capable to carve from the trunks so wonderful sculptures to seem true.

These spirits are also seen by BJ, the son of Janet and Bruce, the latter is a drunker and abusive man who beats his wife every day. The dark legend of Spiritwood is also known by Henry, an old Indian and son of a shaman just lived in Spiritwood. Henry confesses the legend to his long life friend, the Bishop, who lives together with his mother Claire. The development of the story is highly attractive and compelling, as well as the style of writing that is surrounded by a modern sequence of idioms made of well written English and well chosen American slang.

They are just the dialogues among the various characters of the book to create a growing emotional strain and a creepy atmosphere. In the early stages of the book the presence of spirits is only far away and impalpable, later, by continuing the reading this work, evil becomes more and more tangible. In Spiritwood, the real peril is called Red Eagle, the spirit of a shaman banned from his community since he practiced occultism, evocation of demons and sorcery. Red Eagle is now the evil in Spiritwood, hidden in the woods and ready to escape and possess the people around town. The plot of this book is well engineered and intertwined with moments of deep feeling and commotion that make us think this volume embraces also other genres, such as romance and fiction.

Readers will notice this when Bruce beats Janet and when two policemen helps the woman to leave her husband and when Bruce and his henchmen assault and beat Henry violently. In Spiritwood, evil is shown in two sides: supernatural and human, even though, at the end of the book, the supernatural one possesses the already malevolent Bruce and other people during a fair in the town. People seem mad, while a maniac nurse attempts to kill Henry, who lies in the hospital after the assault of Bruce.

Despite having endured a coma and a terminal cancer, Henry and his friend Bishop will make everything to save Spiritwood from evil and imprison Red Eagle again in the wood. At last, after a great reading rich of surprises which will make you forget even other famous horror novels, you realize to have found a great book written by an excellent author, namely G.J.Wise.

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