The Tree Man, by David Bernstein, is a modern, magical tale seeped in nature and the supernatural that has an ending you won’t see coming. This isn’t your normal fairytale conclusion that is all tied up with a bow! It’s a classic tale of good versus evil, though really it’s not classic as all as it comes undone in a creative and original way.
Bernstein’s novella starts out quick and I found myself immersed and flipping Kindle pages as fast as I could. I was just as entranced as the young boy protagonist at the scene that unfolded before him to start off the story. Further, at the chapter changes, I am overly intrigued by the mystical supernatural of old world arts. The old man is an ancient wizard and he’s almost done with his long duty of feeding the tree. OOOooooooo….right?? RIGHT!
As the novella continues, it takes on an everyday feel as the boy deals with his overwhelming emotions and hides his desire to “do the right thing even though it’s scary” from his family. He sets out with his friend to become a hero of sorts. This story becomes about every day boys fighting evil with the impulsive abandon of youth. What unfolds is an emotional wreck of good writing filled with twist and turns that remind us that every day boys and girls sometimes encounter scenarios beyond the realm of common belief.
It took me a few minutes after the book ended to grasp what had happened. I actually had to go back and read part of it to make sure I understood correctly. That wasn’t a bad thing by any means, it just means that it ended unexpectedly beyond the normal predictability. And any book that causes me to pause and think is well-written in my book.
I’d say The Tree Man was like one of my favorite ancient fairy tales by Perrault, mixed with the likes of a European legend of the forest and a pinch of mythology, that inadvertently becomes entangled into suburbia. I gave this novella 5 stars elsewhere for its pure ingenuity and surprise twists that led to an unexpected ending.
The Tree Man, Synopsis~
Women and children have been mysteriously disappearing from Evan’s town. And now Evan may know why. He was climbing a tree in the woods when he saw a decrepitold man toss a helpless woman into the mouth of a hideous tree-like creature.
Evan knows he can’t stop the man and the creature by himself, but he also knows no one will believe a kid with such a wild story. Only his best friend, Peter, can help him confront this terrifying evil. But if they aren’t careful, they will soon be missing too.
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Author David Bernstein, Biography~
David Bernstein is a dark fiction/horror writer who lives in NYC, but is originally from upstate NY and loves the countryside. His novels and novellas include The Tree Man, Damaged Souls, Amongst the Dead, Tears of NoReturn, Machines of the Dead, and the Bizarro title Fecal Terror.
He writes like a madman and this year (2104) has bookscoming from the Samhain Horror line–Witch Island and Apartment 7C, and from DarkFuse, the titles Relic of Death and Surrogate, and from SeveredPress, the third installment of the Machinesof the Dead trilogy. He loves hearing from his readers, so drop him a review, send him an email, or contact him on Facebook.
You can check out his blog and information at http://davidbernsteinauthor.blogspot.com/