Suicide Forest by Jeremy Bates

Suicide Forest

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Jeremy Bates has written a spellbinding horror story that steadily heightens in suspense until the tension of individuals in desperate straits reaches epic proportions, resulting in an explosive climax followed by a nerve-racking scene in the epilogue.

An eclectic group of seven people make a spur-of-the-moment decision to go camping in Japan’s Aokigahara Jukai, a dense forest located at the base of Mount Fuji. The group believes it will be an adventure and ignores the ominous warnings to stay out of the forest. Aokigahara Jukai is also known by the name of Suicide Forest, and it is viewed as being haunted by the ghosts of the people who have committed suicide.

The deeper into the forest the group hikes, the more anxious and unsettled each person becomes. The forest is deathly quiet, and little sunlight is able to penetrate the thick canopies of trees. When the group comes upon two oddly shaped fused trees with arrows pointing in two different directions, they decide to split up and do some exploring. Lives are changed forever from that moment.

Grisly discoveries of gravesites, swinging crosses with the absence of wind, partially decayed bodies hanging from trees, ghostly figures, a haunting phone call, lost with little hope of being rescued, and running out of food and water all contribute to turning a fun escapade into a horrible nightmare.

Suicide Forest is told through the eyes of twenty-six-year-old Ethan Childs. Ethan’s reminisces of past memories are an integral part of helping readers gain insight into the reactions of Ethan and the other members of the group in their struggles to deal with unanticipated and harrowing circumstances. Because of the predicament of the individuals, they are faced with making difficult decisions where the difference between what is morally right and wrong can become blurred. Although the group bonds together in a life and death fight for survival, at times personal feelings get in the way; this leads to intergroup altercations and cracks in the bond.

The excellent use of imagery enables readers to become intimately involved in the story vicariously experiencing the abject terror, misery, and despair faced by each person. The hair-raising story keeps you on the edge-of-your-seat wondering if anyone will make it out of the macabre forest alive. Each chapter ends with a hook that entices readers to turn the page and continue reading until they have reached the end of the book.

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Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines 16 CFR Part 255

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