It’s been a while since I have read a horror book, but with Halloween galloping closer, I was excited to be invited to the blog tour for The Nightmare Tree by Paul O’Neill. With a tag line ‘ Somewhere between Iain Banks and Stephen King’, I had high expectations. Scroll down to see if it exceeded them.
Book Review: The Nightmare Tree by Paul O’Neill
Title: The Nightmare Tree
Author: Paul O’Neill
Genre: Horror, short stories
Release Date: 10th September 2021
‘Somewhere between Iain Banks and Stephen King’
The debut short story collection from a fresh new voice. Thirteen tales of horror and suspense. In the forgotten places of Scotland, terror awaits.
‘Intriguing and heartfelt’
Contains the chilling stories: The Great Slime Kings – Three’s a Crowd – The Summer Bullet – The Only Emperor – Down Below is Silence and Darkness – Guardians – In a Jar of Spiders – We the Dark Deniers – Blocks – Nightmare Soup – The Dumps – Once Upon a Flame – The Nightmare Tree (novella).
Dare you stand before the Nightmare Tree and make your wish?
‘Oh my God!’
I’m very glad this was a collection of short stories and not a full length novel – I do not think my nerves will have coped. Whoever quoted the tagline was not lying; while I haven’t read any Iain Banks novels this collection was very classic Stephen King-esque without the excess waffle. These compact stories make every word count and were on the edge of being too horrifying for me which is an excellent sign for horror writing especially when this wasn’t because of over the top violence or goriness.
The power of these stories is the ability to tap into the reader’s imagination and allow it to fill in the gaps of the unsaid. I found myself trapped in the scenarios and nightmares on the page. Paul O’Neill has the ability to transform the ordinary into something disturbing and horrifying. From his descriptions of the swamp in The Great Slime Kings, snow drifts in The Only Emperor, and the leaves slamming on the window panes in The Nightmare Tree, the effects of these stories will linger and unnerve me for a long time to come. Especially on damp nights when I have to venture outside to bring Nigel, our Jack Russell, in when he finds a toad.
Would I recommend?
If you love horror, give it ago but be warned, it made me sleep with the light one and despite immersing myself into festive books, my nerves haven’t recovered. They hit the spot in tension, fear and lingering chills.
Paul is a short story writer from Scotland.
He is a PR / Internal Communications professional who tries not to let the horror of corporate-speak seep into his stories. |
His stories have appeared in Scare Street’s Night Terrors series, Purple Wall Stories, and Fae Corps Press’ Nightmare Whispers anthology, with an upcoming story in Eerie River Publishing’s It Calls from the Doors anthology.
You can find him sharing his love of short stories on twitter @PaulOn1984.
Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.
What are your favourite horror books? Let me know in the comments below.