4 out of 4 stars
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Rachel finds a strange note in her basement, which leads to the discovery of a secret room. The room appears to be a prison of sorts, and she finds an intriguing notebook describing the powerful allure of a strange and massive tree. She finds a tunnel and runs in, not knowing that what she finds there will change her life forever. Thomas accepts a job watching a woman on a video camera when he realizes that the woman is in danger. Wally receives unsettling messages and deliveries. Justin, a tormented and lost soul, finds the Ghost Tree. The secrets of the Ghost Tree bind these characters together as they separately, but also together journey through their lives.
In The Ghost Tree, author Brandon Faircloth creates four storylines that overlap and intersect in magical and imaginative ways. The first-person narrative alternates between the four main characters, allowing for elaborate character development. One man bears the heavy burden of resentment and seeks vengeance. Another feels trapped between worlds and contemplates his own ethics. Both are shaped by prior experiences that are weaved into the plot.
The best part of this book is the integration of timelines and storylines that fit together like a puzzle. This added momentum to the plot, and a complete understanding was not gained until the end of the book. There were tantalizing and subtle clues that left openings for what could be other books and subsequent meetings of the characters; a whisper here, a number there, and brief introductions of other characters seem to be passing through this story. The sensory descriptions also added depth to the story, as I could visualize and feel the vibrations of the sledgehammer as its heavy head hit the brick wall, and I could feel the ominous atmosphere as the tree’s “arms waved and whipped frantically as its frothing leaves heaved and tossed like waves meant more for sinking than sailing.” Brilliant!
There is nothing I disliked about the book; without hesitation, The Ghost Tree deserves 4 out of 4 stars. At first, I did have difficulty keeping up with the host of characters and the switching perspectives, but this turned out to be a strength of the book. I ended up reading the whole book twice and searching for other books by this author where some of the characters might turn up. I’m glad I read it twice because there were a few things that I missed the first time. It is professionally edited, with an attractive cover. The author, in the first few pages, invites the reader into his world with a three-line introduction that summarizes the underlying themes in the book.
This book will appeal to a wide range of readers. I recommend it specifically to those who enjoy fictional stories with a little horror, a little sci-fi, some magic, and a whole lot of action. Additionally, there is an element of psychology and a powerful theme of redemption that all people will be able to relate to. There is some profanity in the text, so younger readers who are sensitive to this and the supernatural may not enjoy it. Overall, the imagination of this author is commendable, and I really enjoyed getting lost in this masterpiece.
The Ghost Tree
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