Friday, August 14, 2015

Silent Woods

Ofelia Gränd
Beaten Track Publishing
Reviewed by Nancy
5 out of 5 stars


Daniel is married to an amazing man—a nature-loving man—and when that man suggests the family goes camping Daniel can’t say no. But even before they’ve left their home Daniel has a feeling that something is wrong.

He almost succeeds in convincing himself everything is as it should be, but then their five-year-old son, Axel, goes missing.

A search party arrives, and the two fathers encounter something far more sinister than either could ever have dreamed of. Will they find their son before it’s too late?

My Review

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read this story, as I am really pleased so far with the offerings from Beaten Track Publishing.

This lovely, haunting, and tense story kept me riveted and wormed its way into my dreams.

Anders and Daniel are parents to two adopted children, Maya and Axel, who are biological siblings from Argentina. Though they have been together for thirteen years and have a very loving relationship, the two men are like night and day in many ways. Daniel loves the comfort and convenience of urban life, while Anders is an active, adventurous nature lover. Despite Daniel’s dislike of bugs, creepy wildlife, and the eerie solitude of the forest, he agrees to a two-day camping trip with his husband and children in their home of Sweden rather than visiting a foreign country, as Daniel would have preferred. Anders is knowledgeable about the forest, its plants and inhabitants, and its mythical landscape and also wants his children to love and respect nature. His confidence in their adventure reassures Daniel.

What starts out being a peaceful exploration of their new surroundings and quality family time gradually turns into a nightmare. Daniel and Anders are uneasy about the lack of forest sounds – no leaves moving, no chirping birds, and the unsettling feeling of being watched. They keep their anxiety to themselves, not wanting to worry Axel and Maya. In spite of their vigilance, a parent’s worst nightmare comes true and Axel goes missing.

The police come to investigate, and it is obvious to Anders and Daniel that important information is being withheld from them, like details about past drowning incidents. The tension continues to build up as the two men cope with their guilt, fear, and frustration at the lack of resolution in their case. Daniel’s and Anders’ fear, emotional intensity, and desperation are palpable and made me break out into a sweat.

As the inspector in charge becomes more forthcoming about the drowning incidents, the men learn there is some truth in folklore. I loved the mystery, the tension, the creepy ending, and the very believable portrayal of a loving family that shies away from excess sentimentality.

Ofelia Gränd is a new author to me, but you can bet I’ll be on the lookout for more of her stories.

Special Guest Post - Jason Parent interview by Paul Nelson

Welcome to the blog Jason.

Happy to be here! Thanks for having me. I absolutely love the background images and enjoy reading your reviews.

(You are the man)

I really enjoyed both your novels Seeing Evil & What Hides Within, Let’s talk about your first novel. One scene that sticks in my mind was the surgeon stepping back and hearing the crack of porcelain being pulverized underfoot and stammering “where’s the skull piece”. What was your favourite scene and the one you had second thoughts about?

Yeah, people either seem to really like the doctor scenes or find them really stupid. I do… kind of, maybe, perhaps… treat doctors as bumbling idiots in that book, though I do not think my portrayal of their bedside manners is that far from the truth (in my experience). But yeah, I enjoyed writing those scenes most—lots of tongue in cheek humor, which I plan on revisiting soon.

I had second thoughts about some of the actual people I reference anecdotally, not only because it could date the book, but also because I’m not out to piss anyone off. And I am not talking about Hannah Montana – she’s so bad, I consider her fair game.

Do you plan follow-ups to either of these stories? (Hoping for more spiders)



Oh, you want more? Well, I’m putting the final touches on a story the pre-dates Seeing Evil but also features Detective Reilly. That story has a somewhat personal touch, and it has been a long time in the works. I don’t intend this or any other story with the Detective to be a sequel, prequel, etc., but rather a stand-alone book – sort of like separate case files.

As for What Hides Within, I have an outline for a second work. For obvious reasons, though, a sequel would feature an entirely new cast, save for those that survive my final chapter.

There’s a completely different edge to your two novels, one had me in stitches with the sarcastic humour and the other a much more emotional journey. How did writing the two stories differ from a personal point of view?

Well, I hope WHW showed I can write horror, mystery and dark humor. Seeing Evil, I hope, shows I can write a fast-paced thriller, with characters that may not be stereotypical heroes but that the reader can thoroughly connect with – relatable, human, empathetic. I want to grow as a writer. I don’t think one form is better than the other, but instead let my characters and their personalities dictate the tone of the story. Clive Menard was a clueless dolt, which allowed for some humor. The characters in Seeing Evil have been through more than their fair share of suffering that laughing at them just didn’t feel right.

Seeing Evil deals with some topics close to a lot of people hearts, did you draw on experience or did it all come from the mind?

Personal experience, controversial topics over the past years in American news (bullying, gun violence in schools, etc.) and my sordid imagination.

Favourite scene from Seeing Evil & the one you deliberated over the most? (spoiler tags can be applied)

Chapter 3, the chapter that really sets things in motion. I tried to nail several emotions in a truly horrific scene that is all-too-real. And not just from Michael’s perspective, but from everyone else’s in the scene. I would think it would be hard not to feel for Michael after that scene, and hopefully that feeling carries forward.

Have you struggled to get inside any of the characters you’ve written about and are you prone to masses of research?

In WHW and Seeing Evil, the characters came naturally, even where their experiences don’t match mine. Human emotion is something we all feel, know well its many intricacies (minus you sociopaths out there – call me, I need to do some research!). Tapping into it isn’t hard, as simple as stepping into the character’s shoes. When my characters go well beyond my experiences, things get tricky. That’s when I become a research fanatic.

It’s my view that a good author needs to be an exceptional study of people, do you notice things others don’t or does it all come from the imagination?

I agree 100%. I am a prolific people watcher (Jessica Alba called it stalking – so overdramatic that one), which is strange since I can’t stand reality television. Oh yeah, probably ’cause that ain’t reality. Like I said above, we’ve all felt every emotion at one point or another. All a writer need do is tap into it, relive his own pain, love, longing, sorrow, etc. through the character on the page.

(That kind of stalking is fine LOL)

If you were stuck on a desert island and could choose 2 books as companions. 1 to read again and again, and one, page by page to wipe your backside with. Which books would you choose?

Ha! My favorite book is The Stand. Plus, it’s a long read, so it will occupy me for a while. I can’t read any book over and over again, but that one I’ve read three times. I am sure I will give it another go in the next 10 years.

My least favorite book is On Walden Pond, also read three retched times. But I’d run out of paper more quickly than if I brought say, War and Peace, so… Does the Encyclopaedia Britannica count as one book?

(soft pages is a must)

Who are your favourite characters both from what you’ve written and what you’ve read? (Clive was brilliant).

From my own work, Chester and Victoria from WHW, Samantha and Michael from Seeing Evil, and Dakota and Merwin from an upcoming work (sort of the good, the bad and the ugly there). And, of course, the monsters!

From the works of others, Pennywise from It, Karl Ruger from The Pine Deep Trilogy, Hannibal Lecter, Dexter, from Silence of the Lambs et al., Marv from Sin City, and Rorschach from The Watchmen (sort of the bad, the worse, and the ugly).

What’s the funniest thing that's ever happened to you? (The more embarrassing the better)

I had an accident in my pants at a very young age, and I don’t know if it was to embarrass me or it was all they had that would fit, but I had to wear woman’s underwear. Scarred for life.

(Haven't we all, had accidents in our pants I mean)

Is there a particular book that made you want to be a writer?

Not so much a book, but an author: Edgar Allen Poe. His short stories were what got me excited about reading and how words could be used to entertain in ways that provoked imagination. I laugh every time I read “A Tell-Tale Heart” as the narrator describes the victim’s vulture eye and why he had to kill him. I sweat beneath the pendulum, behind the meticulously laid wall, or within the maelstrom, becoming his protagonists or better yet, his antagonists.

What’s next in the pipeline and can you give us some inside information? Just between me and you of course ;)

I have two novels (horror, science fiction) out for consideration and a third in its final round of editing pre-submission. I also have several novelettes and short stories in the pipeline. But I am fairly certain the next thing you will see from me will be this September, when Adam Light, Evans Light, Edward Lorn, Gregor Xane and I release Bad Apples 2. I’ve already read a couple of the stories, and I think people are going to love them.

(cool loved the first one)

Know any good jokes?

Two guys walk into a bar. The third guy ducks. Oh , you said “good” jokes.

When you’re not slaving over the books, what do you like to do?

Travel, kayak, watch movies, play poker… long walks on the beach, dinner by candlelight, a hot bath filled with rose petals, and snuggling up in front of a warm fireplace. Oh, this isn’t a site for singles? The first four then, and I also try to jump out of a plane every now and then.

I notice the one line story is becoming more and more popular, and is in itself a powerful storytelling method, can you give it a go for us?

They hid beneath the man’s fine crop of pubic hair whilst pinching with the claws and stabbing with needle tipped toes as they waited for their time to spread.

(brilliant, simple as)

Any issues close to you heart you’d like to share?

Yes. I do not have crabs.

LOL Great stuff, Thanks for dropping by Jason and I'm looking forward to all the new stuff that's on its way.

A little bit more about Jason Parent

When you do a search for Jay on the net, there are a few pictures that come up. I know that this one is definitely him, luckily he has a great sense of humor.

And here's another I assume this is before he started writing. The world needs more DJ's.

Wait is that him can't be sure now.

In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.

In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it’s harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he’s back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that’s another story.

When he’s not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in a knot or takes somebody’s head off – he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes.

You can learn more about Jason, his upcoming works and his appearances here, on 

or on Twitter

and the website 

His latest novel, Seeing Evil, was published on August 4, 2015 from Red Adept Publishing. Below is the synopsis and cover image:

Seeing Evil

Fate in plain sight.

Major Crimes Detective Samantha Reilly prefers to work alone—she’s seen as a maverick, and she still struggles privately with the death of her partner. The only person who ever sees her softer side is Michael Turcotte, a teenager she’s known since she rescued him eleven years ago from the aftermath of his parents’ murder-suicide.

In foster care since his parents’ death, Michael is a loner who tries to fly under the bullies’ radar, but a violent assault triggers a disturbing ability to view people’s dark futures. No one believes his first vision means anything, though—not even Sam Reilly. When reality mimics his prediction, however, Sam isn’t the only one to take notice. A strange girl named Tessa Masterson asks Michael about her future, and what he sees sends him back to Sam—is Tessa victim or perpetrator?

Tessa’s tangled secrets draw Michael and Sam inexorably into a deadly conflict. Sam relies on Michael, but his only advantage is the visions he never asked for. As they track a cold and calculating killer, one misstep could turn the hunters into prey.

Buy it here