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Friday, February 20, 2009

Woodcutter's Grim by Karen Wiesner

Woodcutter's Grim by Karen Wiesner
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Horror
Heat Level: Sweet
Length: Full Anthology
Rating: 3.5 Books
Review by Snapdragon

Award-winning author Karen Wiesner is the founder of Jewels of the Quill, an award-winning group of authors in all genres banded together to promote their books. The group also does anthologies together. Woodcutter’s Grim Series—Classic Tales of Horror Retold is a compilation of the first two novellas in the series that Karen contributed to Jewels of the Quill anthologies, plus two bonus stories in the series never before published!

For the ten generations since the evil first came to Woodcutter’s Grim, the Guardians have sworn an oath to protect the town from the childhood horrors that lurk in the black woods. Without them, the town would be defenseless…and the terrors would escape to the world at large.

Karen Wiesner's anthology "Woodcutter's Grim" presents four tales based loosely on classic tales.

Make no mistake however; these are powerful, contemporary tales of the paranormal, with a sprinkle of romance mixed in.

In the first, 'Papa' guilt and sorrow twist together, to add torment to the moralistic self-judgment of Amy; her feelings threaten to end the couple's heartfelt relationship until moving too close to a certain forest threatens far more.

In the next, 'Blood of Amethyst,' the dedication, and determination of the hero, Gabe (easily the most appealing character in all the tales) are as pivotal as love.

'Dancing to the Grave' is a standout strange tale even among these; in this story, community (and the fate of the children) becomes a driving force.

Finally, 'The Amethyst Tower,' features the classic lovelorn heroine/captive in a completely unpredictable plot.

Each of these, although presented as a twist on an old tale, features a very original plot and emotional characters in evocative situations. A haunting, dark quality pervades all four, adding to the plausibility of some otherwise bizarre events (not to mention characters).

The haunting quality is often derived from recall of the past, or a specific character's reflection on the past; perhaps too much so. These retrospective moments do slow the pace of each of the story, and sometimes slow progress on the story itself. The slower times contrast sharply with the more spine-tingling times. These stories are an enjoyable read, although best perhaps NOT at bedtimes!