Heart pounding suspense!
Revealed through the eyes and voice of Ethan, who deals with the strange and gruesome occurrences that he, and six other companions, experience in Aokigahara Jukai - the Sea of Trees, or better known in Japan as the place to go, to commit suicide.
Suicide Forest –It’s an intriguing title and it only gets better–Jeremy Bates wrote a vivid novel, and pulls the reader into the world under the trees, a woven canopy of twisted boughs and an imaginative macabre forest.
The protagonist's back story unfolds nicely with bits and pieces of his experiences as an English teacher in Japan. The tension picks up quick, and the companions roll from one ordeal to another, in a well-paced sequence of events, responding to each tribulation in creative ways. They all react with their own voice and tone, bringing an added dimension to the storyline.
Throughout the book there is a true sense of place, and of cultural backgrounds with the descriptions of the music, food and drinking customs, and boundaries in relationships–all defining our humanity. The differences between the characters, as well as their common threads, are exposed.
The cast of characters begins with Ethan and his girlfriend Melinda, both English teachers in a foreign country. Her friend John Scott, an American soldier, tags along. Also another teacher and Ethan’s co-worker Neil, and Tomo a young Psychology major–they then meet up with two new acquaintances, Ben and Nina, who are Israeli. All of them are from different backgrounds and cultures, and they each have their own personal struggles. A common theme they do share–thoughts about suicide, or at least about death, for various individual reasons. The seven companions hike into the woods following lifelines of ribbons, and set out to camp for a night. Not everyone comes out.
They deal with the situations that arise, until you are led to think there is no place to turn–or hope left. But Ethan finds a way. I don’t want to give anything away but an unexpected turn leads the reader into a shocking end...
I never saw it coming. I believe, humans are the worst monsters. You have to read the book to understand...
As a reader, I finished the story satisfied, with lingering thoughts about the situation the book presented. I am always happy read a story that makes me think and learn new things, and Jeremy Bates did an excellent job of sharing his added flavor to the story, with his own experiences in travel, and obvious research.
I strongly recommend this book for suspense seekers, you will definitely be entertained.
A lucky fan, I received an early copy, I also preordered as well, because I plan on reading it again and sharing with others. Release date Dec 14 - available for order now.