Featured Official Review: The Phantom of Witch's Tree by Mark Lunde

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Featured Official Review: The Phantom of Witch's Tree by Mark Lunde

Post by Washboard »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Phantom of Witch's Tree" by Mark Lunde.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Matt Hargreaves, a sharpshooter deputy with an addiction to alcohol, makes a mistake while hungover on duty, leading to the death of a young girl and her father. Matt’s duty partner, Norbert, convinces him to burn the evidence and flee the scene. Despite burning down the house, their crime is discovered by Corporal Justin Augustus, a spectral being bound to this earth to redeem his soul by bringing justice to other wrongdoers. Can Matt escape judgment long enough to bring down the so-called Phantom of Witch’s Tree, avenge the deaths of his friends, and redeem himself?

The characters from the many intertwining storylines in Mark Lunde’s The Phantom of Witch’s Tree are some of the best I have ever read. They are relatable, have depth and development, and the perspective changes between chapters allow the reader to understand their thought processes. It was sometimes difficult to tell who was a “good guy” and who was a “bad guy” throughout the story, which I think is an example of the author’s skill in writing a good crime novel.

One of the most memorable characters, Jody Simms, is one of the few that is identifiable as a pure antagonist. The constant chaos surrounding him, created by his impulsive but calculating personality, was beautifully written, showing both his deplorable behavior and his charisma that allowed him to not be held accountable for his actions. He serves as the perfect foil for the flawed hero in Matt Hargreaves.

My only critique is this book could use a bit more editing. A handful of errors made it through the proofreading process, though most do not interrupt the flow of the story, nor would they be noticed by readers who are not actively looking for them. This is the only small blemish on otherwise perfect work.

Even though there are a few errors, I could not give this book anything less than a perfect score of 4 out of 4 stars. The complex characters and storyline, laced with the perfect amount of mystery and creepy occurrences, make for an entertaining read that I hope will be enjoyed by many.

As a historical fiction piece told from the perspectives of predominantly white male characters, there is racist, sexist, and otherwise bigoted language and ideology that is accurate for the time and political climate. Accompanied by crude language and moderate levels of sexually explicit content, including sexual violence, this book is best suited for mature readers. The 'Wild West' setting and mysterious storyline will appeal to lovers of historical fiction and crime novels, and even has a touch of supernatural occurrences for fantasy enthusiasts.

******
The Phantom of Witch's Tree
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“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” ― George Orwell, 1984.

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Post by adamgreenrock »

I haven't read that many 'Wild west' themed books but this has intrigued me from your summary. This might be a read for me. Thanks for your review!

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Post by Washboard »

adamgreenrock wrote:
27 Jan 2020, 10:26
I haven't read that many 'Wild west' themed books but this has intrigued me from your summary. This might be a read for me. Thanks for your review!
Honestly, I hadn't either, but this one was quite enjoyable. It certainly was not what I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” ― George Orwell, 1984.

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Post by Alyssa »

I love confusion over who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy. This sounds right up my alley, thanks for your review.

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Post by Washboard »

Alyssa wrote:
27 Jan 2020, 18:16
I love confusion over who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy. This sounds right up my alley, thanks for your review.
I definitely had several moments of surprise while reading this one. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did!
“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” ― George Orwell, 1984.

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Post by AvidBibliophile »

Ooh you had me at "creepy occurrences" in a Wild West setting! I'd been wondering about this one, so I'm glad to hear it was just as entertaining and complex as predicted. Thanks for the helpful review!

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Post by Washboard »

AvidBibliophile wrote:
28 Jan 2020, 22:22
Ooh you had me at "creepy occurrences" in a Wild West setting! I'd been wondering about this one, so I'm glad to hear it was just as entertaining and complex as predicted. Thanks for the helpful review!
It was an interesting cross-over, but it worked really well! I enjoyed it immensely. I hope you like it too!
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Post by Kathleen Wolfe »

It was the cover of this book that sort of drew me in. It definitely looks and sounds creepy so I think I would enjoy reading this book. Iv'e never read anything with a "Wild West" theme before but I think I'll still give it a go. Thanks for the review!

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Post by Washboard »

Kathleen Wolfe wrote:
04 Feb 2020, 01:23
It was the cover of this book that sort of drew me in. It definitely looks and sounds creepy so I think I would enjoy reading this book. Iv'e never read anything with a "Wild West" theme before but I think I'll still give it a go. Thanks for the review!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I think it was the perfect level of "creepy"!
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Post by Nisha Ward »

You know, the Wild West is kind of the perfect setting for a ghost story, yet few authors take advantage of that. Just reading the summary evoked a level of creepy I wasn't prepared for, and now I can't stop wondering just how far the author takes it.
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Post by Washboard »

Nisha Ward wrote:
12 Feb 2020, 17:17
You know, the Wild West is kind of the perfect setting for a ghost story, yet few authors take advantage of that. Just reading the summary evoked a level of creepy I wasn't prepared for, and now I can't stop wondering just how far the author takes it.
I agree that the Wild West is underutilized as a ghost story setting! It worked really well for this book.
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Post by Janetgg »

I think this book is really good, I really like the suspense this book has and I think that this just opens readers out to be able to read more books like this. :)

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Post by Washboard »

Janetgg wrote:
14 Feb 2020, 16:25
I think this book is really good, I really like the suspense this book has and I think that this just opens readers out to be able to read more books like this. :)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it as well! It had a lot of suspense for sure. I think the amount of creepiness it has will keep some people away, but those who enjoy creepy books will love it. Thanks for commenting!
“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” ― George Orwell, 1984.

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