The Forest

Perpetual Motion Machine. Oct. 2021. 244p. ISBN 9781943720620. pap. $16.95. HORROR
DEBUTIn the book’s anxious opening, Faye is desperately attempting to disappear, with her infant son, through the forest. Quigley then pulls back to introduce Edgewood, a town like no other, where everyone is completely safe as long as they never leave, because of the oversight of generations of Stewards and the townsfolks’ annual fall offerings to the surrounding forest. Faye, poised to become the next Steward, learns the dark truth behind Edgewood’s veil of perfection and decides she can no longer be complicit. Quigley tells the story with an engrossing back-and-forth of chapters set in “Present” and “Before the Forest.” Readers are kept on the edge of their seats following the urgent chase and held in suspense as the town’s nefarious foundations are laid bare. Quigley’s debut is folk horror with excellent worldbuilding and believable terror, but it is also a cautionary and thought-provoking tale about unearned privilege, a story that will cause readers to question the costs of both safety and blind acceptance of the status quo.
VERDICT Quigley, cohost of the award-winning Ladies of the Fright podcast, is well-versed in active contemplation of the horror genre itself, and it shows here with a story line that could be described as a 21st-century update to Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” Fans of Hex, by Thomas Olde Huevelt, and The Twisted Ones, by T. Kingfisher, will find a kindred spirit in Quigley’s debut.
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