Top positive review
Great atmospheric tale of an old, supernatural evil!
May 13, 2019
FOREST OF THE DAMNED is Book Three in Lee Mountford's Supernatural Horror Novel Series. These books are stand-alone novels: "Separate stories. The same terrifying universe."
In Amaley, Northern Scotland, the four person crew that made up "Paranormal Encounters Limited"--Ken, Tony, James, and Roberta--hike into an area known as 'The Black Forest'. Cameras and recorders on hand, they are hopeful that this next trip will give them what it is they seek.
". . . we are hopeful that our week-long stay in this forest will provide us with . . . irrefutable proof of the supernatural . . . "
From the very beginning, Mountford sets an ominous tone that I was instantly immersed in. Even the banter of a couple of the members helps to let the reader understand that there is something . . . different . . . about this place than the others that the group had previously investigated.
". . . The Black Woods ain't somewhere you want to be going. It ain't a place for the living."
Moving forward, we learn that the place is rumored to have once held a small town somewhere in its depths. Despite the fact that nobody who had gone searching for it in recent years had ever located it, the rumors persisted.
". . . He wanted everything the Black Forest had to offer."
Mountford nails the atmosphere in every single page of this novel. Even for someone "not" expecting supernatural encounters, the tension and the feeling of being "watched" by something unseen is impossible to shake. I could picture myself in the middle of a vast forest, without any discernible things in sight besides the trees and foliage.
That isn't quite right, though.
". . . sometimes, the other side breaks through."
There is more to this forest than what the eyes can see. There is a sense of wrongness so strong that even the readers can pick up on it within a few well-worded sentences.
". . . it looked more like some kind of disease than a burn mark or anything of that nature . . . "
The characters, too, begin to change. Where most had started out happily at the prospect of potentially finding some real supernatural presences, a day into the trip, and "most" are already wishing they had never stepped into the Black Forest. Even the shadows and the wind through the trees could be used to mentally break the strongest of wills.
"The lines of existence here . . . have blurred . . . "
It's important to note that changes the characters go through are all "plausible" in the context of the story. we are shown exactly how different forces are working on each individual, and the responses to this are as unique as the characters themselves.
". . . that was the thing with unresolved grief and guilt--it could override common sense and logic . . . "
Overall, I felt that FOREST OF THE DAMNED delivered everything I was hoping for. With a 'haunting in the woods' theme, it would have been easy for Mountford to lose himself in an old, "been done before" story. However, the basis for this concept and the nature of the occurrence was unique in many ways. The scenes were painted well enough to visualize clearly in my mind, and there were some unexpected changes along the way.
". . . mission over the past ten years had been to reveal the existence of the paranormal . . . he wished he could continue on in blissful ignorance again."
I find that it's often the details we least expect that elevate a novel's status in our mind, and keep it there longer. A great testament to Mountford's skill as a writer, is that I can still vividly "see" many of the scenes in my mind, several books afterward.