The Dark Between the Trees

Solaris. Oct. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781786187130. $26.99. HORROR
DEBUT In 1643, a troop of soldiers are ambushed in Northern England and flee into Moresby Wood, a decision that is filled with fear and dread amidst tales of local superstition. In the present, a group of five women led by historian Dr. Alice Christopher enters those same woods to settle the mystery of what really happened to the soldiers and why the historical record shows only two survived. What they find is unbelievable: vanishing trees, a broken compass, shifting woods while one sleeps, and eyes flashing behind branches. Alternating chapters between the women and the soldiers showcase the parallels and perpendiculars of their experiences in Moresby Wood as Barnett spins out clever and creepy juxtapositions between fear and folklore. This is horror at its best: predictably set in a deep, dark wood with a likely cast of characters, yet unexpectedly immediately spooky and jaw-dropping.
VERDICT Barnett’s debut is uniquely captivating as a series of ghost stories told within a time-jumping mystery. For fans of thrillers and gothic-meets-modern horror, recommend this to readers of Andrew Michael Hurley, Megan Shepherd, Sarah Waters, and EV Knight.
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