Shadows of the Woods by Duncan Thompson is a fast-paced thrilling horror novella, set in the UK.
Part One of Shadows of the Woods starts with Joe Costello going on a camping trip in the local Druid Woods for his stag do. He’s joined by his brother, Tony, and his friends Charlie and Mike. Unfortunately, things rapidly start to go wrong as an unknown danger lurks in the forest. Meanwhile, Part Two focuses on the local police force who investigate the strange goings-on.
Shadows of the Woods is an incredibly fast-paced horror novella! From the very start, you jump into the action and are left wondering what is going on in the woods. The tension rises as the friends split up and go through the woods (haven’t these guys ever seen a horror film? #1 rule: Never split up!). The monsters themselves are terrifying and scary, and while it’s not possible to have a jump scare in a book, there were a few sections in part one that shocked me and gave me a bit of a jolt!
The first part of the story is terrifying, while the second half takes place around the police team investigating what’s happened. It had a slightly different feel as the start focuses on the investigation, but I enjoyed it a lot too. Again, it’s very fast-paced, and the tension ramps up again towards the fantastic conclusion.
I think the only thing that bothered me during part 2 was that the front door is locked — they are automatic doors and the power is out, so they can’t operate. There is apparently no other way for the team to leave the building. Don’t all automatic doors have a safety unlock in case this happens? But even so, is there no back door? No way to get down from the rooftop? Health and safety regulations on public buildings are pretty strict when it comes to having multiple exits — but this was only a minor issue as it’s necessary for the story to progress!
I loved that the whole story feels very B Movie-esque. This was amplified in part 2 when we meet Officers Campbell and Raimi — a nod to Evil Dead legends Bruce Campbell and the Raimi brothers. I think that Joe’s fiancé, Linda, is also likely to be an Evil Dead reference too. There’s also a fair bit of gore and blood squirting — this book isn’t for the squeamish! Along the way, Joe has lots of one liners which I enjoyed and gave the story a more light-hearted, ‘campy’ feel. Overall, Shadows of the Woods is a fantastic, quick read — perfect for fans of more campy humour and B movies.
The blurb for Shadows of the Woods
Faceless shadows, a night that will never be the same, and a sinister force. If you go down to the woods tonight, you’re in for a sinister surprise.
When a stag party decide to camp in the woods, they soon discover that a malevolent force has them in their sights. As the unknown creeps ever closer, Joe and his friends must survive. To survive, Joe must learn to fight. If he fights, he could lose it all.
A rollercoaster ride of blood, sweat and tears, Shadows of the Woods will keep you hooked, all whilst throwing nostalgic homage to slashers of the late seventies and early eighties.
A Night Terror that you won’t be forgetting any time soon.
About the author, Duncan Thompson
Duncan has spent most of his life in a small market town in West Yorkshire — the same town in which most of his stories are set under the guise of Ravenfield. Duncan has been writing works of fiction since the age of seven. In those early days, his stories often involved himself and his friends being transported to fantasy worlds. However, as a teenager, Duncan fell in love with horror movies and his writing took a whole new direction.
Duncan still lives in West Yorkshire with his partner and their two young children. He also has slight obsession with Spider-Man and the actor Bruce Campbell, as well as having an addiction to vinyl records, coffee and Lego.