Published by Ghillinnein Books on August 30 2015
Genres: Horror, cultural, Japan
Source: Purchased Book
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Just outside of Tokyo lies Aokigahara, a vast forest and one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in Japan...and also the most infamous spot to commit suicide in the world. Legend has it that the spirits of those many suicides are still roaming, haunting deep in the ancient woods.
When bad weather prevents a group of friends from climbing neighboring Mt. Fuji, they decide to spend the night camping in Aokigahara. But they get more than they bargained for when one of them is found hanged in the morning—and they realize there might be some truth to the legends after all.
Woah, well okay. Suicide Forest has a speed and a rhythm and that is to scare you shitless with its atmosphere and its tension. So, Japan has always intrigued me and it’s one of my places to visit when the pandemic is over. It’s all so enchanting but also has an air of ominous both with its culture and its history. One that has always stirred my imagination is that of Aokigahara (the suicide forest). You don’t want to examine the why’s of the forest for too long – it could plunge your psyche into a dark place.
It’s a very real-life place and it’s not for the light-hearted or for a hike, not unless, of course, you are into macabre tourism. A group of friends aim to hike up Mt Fuji, but bad weather makes it impossible, just as they are squabbling amongst them what to do, they run into two strangers, Israeli’s Ben, and Nina. They are heading to Aokigahara (The Suicide Forest) and invite them along for the ride…it’s a ride that they might soon regret taking!
The author has done a fantastic job of analysing the consequences of human decisions. Why, even with most of the facts in front of you do you make extremely risky choices? Why, given the fact that your Japanese driver has warned you off entering the Suicide Forest, do you think that it’s still a great idea? If it had been me, you wouldn’t have seen me for dust! The mind is a mysterious and times a stupid organ!
I was enthralled with the descriptive narrative as they entered the forest. The interaction with the hikers coming out. The foreboding nature of the signage, the densely populated trees that neither let much light in nor allowed a wind to break through. I truly saw it through Ethan, our protagonists, eyes. I was frightened and I was on edge. I saw everything and yet I didn’t see everything, and that initial vista would become distorted with the fall of darkness. The forest doesn’t want to be disturbed…it wants its secrets to stay just that…a secret.
What should have been an enjoyable camping trip amongst friends quickly turns into a nightmarish episode. We have John Scott’s obsession with finding a corpse, Ben and Nina’s strange behaviour and friction between Ethan and Mel. There’s some horrendously scary scenes from there night in the Suicide Forest, and there was points that I was sitting on the edge of my seat.
However, the flashbacks to Ethan’s past became boring and dragged on too long. Instead of providing the reader with a solid backstory it just seemed to be filling the wordcount. The ending was also highly disappointing and not what I was expecting at all. I won’t say what it was but for me it was rushed and not true to the character development we had witnessed so far. It was still a good, creepy read and was just what I needed on the runup to Halloween.
ABOUT JEREMY BATES
USA TODAY and #1 AMAZON overall bestselling author Jeremy Bates has published more than twenty novels and novellas, which have been translated into several languages, optioned for film and TV, and downloaded more than one million times. Midwest Book Review compares his work to “Stephen King, Joe Lansdale, and other masters of the art.” He has won both an Australian Shadows Award and a Canadian Arthur Ellis Award. He was also a finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards, the only major book awards decided by readers. The novels in the “World’s Scariest Places” series are set in real locations and include Suicide Forest in Japan, The Catacombs in Paris, Helltown in Ohio, Island of the Dolls in Mexico, Mountain of the Dead in Russia, and Hotel Chelsea in New York City. The novels in the “World’s Scariest Legends” series are based on real legends and include Mosquito Man, The Sleep Experiment, and The Man From Taured. You can check out any of these places or legends on the web.