Suicide Forest

Jeremy Bates
Ghillinnein Books (2014)
ISBN 9780993764622
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (02/15)

“Suicide Forest” is a supernatural suspense horror novel by Jeremy Bates.  Aokigahara is a forest that sits near the foot of Mt. Fuji. It is also known as Suicide Forest. When a group of friends, planning on climbing Mt. Fuji, finds their plans put on hold due to an impending storm, they have to come up with alternative plans for their adventure. Meeting another couple, the group discusses camping out in this forest that is reputed to be haunted. Intrigued by the possibility of finding a suicide victim, they gather their camping gear and begin their journey. As soon as they are in the parking lot, they discover a vehicle that has been abandoned. Seeing this brings them closer to the idea that this place is for real - so do the signs warning people against committing suicide. As the party continues on into the forest, they decide to go off the trail and wander through an area that has signs posted against trespassing. Along the way, they find old, weather beaten belongings, and ribbons. There are also long strings that seem to make their own path. Knowing that these were probably brought here by people who never left, the group follows these strings in search of both a place to camp and a chance to see a hanging body.

As they proceed, the group discovers that the area itself is dangerous. There are hidden caves, left over from a volcanic eruption that one can easily fall into. Still they continue on. After they set up camp and darkness sets in, they find what they have been looking for all day.  From that moment on, things go awry. One member becomes deathly ill and another appears to have committed suicide. Their means of communication also disappears. Becoming lost, they worry when their food and water supplies become low. It appears that the spirit of the forest is angry and out to get them. As time passes and they are subjected to more horrors, they discover the truth. The question remains, will they be able to escape with the knowledge that they have acquired? You have to read this to find out!

"Suicide Forest” by Jeremy Bates covers over 400 pages. Do not let the size of this book intimidate you, because I read it in two nights. It probably would have been better if I hadn’t read it before falling asleep. It definitely haunted my dreams. The name Aokigahara also piqued my curiosity, I did some further investigating and discovered that this place really does exist and over 100 people commit suicide there annually. The writer perfectly describes the forest as it is shown in pictures and videos. The reality of this place made the tale more terrifying. The characters were also very real, and the author takes us into the psyches so we get a better understanding about what drives them. Like a roller coaster ride, this story has a twist that will totally throw the reader off guard. This makes the ride more fun, and more horrifying. I highly recommend “Suicide Forest” to readers looking for a horror novel that is very unique.

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