Orlin Wood by Jeremy K. Tyler

WOOD

Orlin Wood by Jeremy K. Tyler
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (85 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

One place. One family. One mystery. Orlin Wood.

In 1788, Zechariah Orlin stumbled out of the forest and collapsed in front of a hunting party. That moment marked the beginning of a cursed family, and the legend of Orlin Wood. From phantom voices and mysterious apparitions, to unexplained disappearances and unearthly scenes that cause the bravest of men to question their courage, Orlin Wood is a place that will haunt you.

That is, should you dare to enter.

“It’s not always obvious when you are in the middle of a full on ghost story,” warns Jeremy K. Tyler and he’s correct. Orlin Wood definitely is haunted but figuring out why and by whom is what makes this book worth reading.

Talking about an event without knowing why it happened takes practice. In many cases it’s never entirely clear what actually happened to some of the Orlin family members. Did they actually encounter supernatural events? Could some of their experiences be explained away through alcohol use, hallucinations or coincidences? In real life not everything can be explained logically. Sometimes records are lost or never created in the first place and what is common knowledge of local lore in one generation is forgotten in the next.

It was gratifying to learn one possible explanation for why these woods are haunted. I would have preferred to be given more details about what happened and whether the spirits in the woods are benevolent but this information is not strictly necessary. A case could be made for several different theories and even though I’m intensely curious to know how Mr. Tyler interprets the clues there is a satisfaction that accompanies the freedom to make up one’s own mind about these things. My only complaint is that we were not given this information earlier on in the plot as not having it was a distraction for this reader.

Technically Orlin Wood is a collection of short stories but the characters are so closely intertwined by virtue of being a member of the Orlin clan and spending time on the family property that it reads more like a traditional novel. Each tale is enriched by the ones that come before and after it. There were times when I didn’t fully understand the meaning of a symbol or conversation until something similar happened to another Orlin generations later.

If you’re in the mood for ghost stories that are as subtle as they are chilling Orlin Wood is a great choice. Sometimes the true horror of certain experiences take time to register but patient readers will be rewarded with a wealth of spine-tingling scenes.

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