First published in two parts within the 22nd December 2010 and 29th December 2010 issues of Countrymans Weekly, Guy N Smith’s short story ‘Devil Of The Dark Forest’ was later republished in Polish in the anthology ‘11 Ciec’ (2011) and  further reprinted in English within the ‘Hangman’s Hotel And Other Stories’ (2014) collection.

DLS Synopsis:
James George Reeder had travelled all of the way to Germany in the bitterly cold run-up to Christmas in order to go hunting for wild boar at an isolated retreat owned and organised by a Mr Dieter.  However, upon arriving at the remote bungalow, Reeder is faced with a small rundown bungalow and a rusty old combination gun which has been provided for the hunting.  This is a far cry from what he imagined would be on offer.  But promising himself that he would make the most of the Christmas hunting trip, Reeder accepts the ancient Drilling gun from the weary old German man, and takes to hunting the local wild boar early the very next day.

Dieter promises that Reeder will get the chance to hunt and kill one particularly large and ferocious wild boar that prowls around the dark depths of the forest.  The boar has been dubbed Der Teufel by the local people – simply meaning ‘The Devil’.  Now on Christmas Eve, Reeder will go out into the snow-covered dark forest and wait for the return of this massive wild boar that has become a local legend…

DLS Review:
In a similar ‘hunting’ vein to Smith’s novels ‘Caracal’ (1980) and indeed ‘Maneater’ (2009), ‘Devil Of The Dark Forest’ utilises the author’s knowledge and passion for hunting, to produce a tale of escalating suspense and almost palpable tension.  The setting for the tale is masterfully laid down for the reader, with a vivid backdrop of snow and rural isolation creating an atmospheric setting for the big hunt to take place within.

Indeed, the waiting for the beast to arrive whilst perched high at the top of a wooden hunting seat, draws back instant memories of Gordon Hall’s patient waiting to kill the big cat within Smith’s earlier novel ‘Maneater’ (2009).  The similarities in the tension and excitement between the two tales are numerous, with the most noticeable difference being the supernatural element added to this short tale.

The story finishes with a quick but somewhat satisfying wrap-up, with a brief explanation for the existence of the wild boar detailed before the author finishes off the tale.  For a short two pager (although the pages are A3 in size), this is certainly an excellent example of the literary skills that this longstanding and prolific horror author is capable of.  The atmosphere is creepy and perfectly befitting for the storyline, the brief characterisation is developed just to the right level, and the pace is a good, solid tension building one that escalates to a final finale with ease.  All in all this is a superb little short, with plenty of punch for the Christmas period.

© DLS Reviews

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W XYZ VARIOUS NON-FICTION

 

Make a free website with Yola