Books & Literature

Book Review: Deep in the Forest, by Erina Reddan

THRILLER: A gripping thriller with a shocking conclusion that will leave you spellbound, Deep in the Forest raises questions about who we trust and why.

Birth, death, mystery, corruption, betrayal: it’s got it all!

Feature image credit: Pantera Press

Do yourself a favour and check out Erina Reddan’s latest title, Deep in the Forest, her fourth book that offers more than just a story. It’s set in and around a mountain and forested area near Melbourne. Reddan’s storytelling envelopes you in a rural Australian setting. It’s eerie, captivating, and so vivid that you can almost smell the forest around you. The initial story and scene-setting give insight into the recent history of the area and Charli, the main character, which rapidly turns into a breath-holding, terrifying scenario.

Just as you think you can see where all of this is heading, you realise that Reddan is a master of deception. She hits you with an “aha moment,” and then swiftly a “wait, what?” It’s a rollercoaster, and you’re constantly thrown off, always left second-guessing what you thought you knew.

And then there’s Charli herself. Her story is one that’ll tug at your heartstrings. If you’ve ever known someone with OCD or seen how people cope with uncontrollable rituals to manage daily trauma and stress, you’ll see parts of them in Charli. Her struggle is painted so authentically, so raw, that you can’t help but empathise with her. The way she copes with her mother’s sudden death, including her runs through the forest, is haunting. Charli’s coping strategy leads to the impetus for the first and appalling discovery which leads her to further look at the Sanctuary, a closed community situated on the other side of the lake hidden deep in the forest.

This discovery is not just a plot point; it drags Charli into a mystery that’s intricately woven with recent unsettling events and a cryptic message from a Sanctuary insider. Her resolve to find the truth is compelling. You find yourself rooting for her, feeling her frustration, and craving answers just as much as she does.

Deep in the Forest isn’t your typical thriller. Sure, it has its slow-burn moments, moments where the narrative takes a breath, but these are carefully crafted. They build tension, they deepen the mystery, and they give you a moment to settle before Reddan hits you with a twist so sharp you won’t see it coming. It’s a blend of heartfelt narratives, shocking revelations, and a look into the darker sides of human nature, like corruption and betrayal. But what makes it stand out is how it explores the complexities of human relationships. The burgeoning friendships amidst chaos, the portrayal of small-town bigotry, the gut-wrenching moments of betrayal – they’re all woven intricately into the narrative.

And just when you think you’ve braced yourself for the ending, it hits you. It’s not just shocking; it’s spellbinding. It leaves you reeling, pondering over the aftermath, and questioning everything.

Moreover, the book isn’t just about thrills and chills. It’s thought-provoking. It dives into themes of loyalty, trust, drug addiction, mental health and the prejudices that lurk in small towns and minds. It challenges you to question the nature of trust – who we trust, why we trust them, and the consequences of that trust.

In essence, Deep in the Forest is a masterful blend of suspense, emotion, and introspection. Reddan doesn’t just tell you a story; she takes you on a journey, through the depths of the human psyche, the complexities of societal norms, and the haunting beauty of the Australian bush. It’s a book that stays with you, nudging you to reflect, to question, and to appreciate the intricacy of the world around us. If you’re looking for a book that offers more than just a story, but an experience, then this is it. You won’t just read it; you’ll live it.

Reviewed by Leanne Caune

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Pantera Press
Released: November 2023
RRP: $32.99

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