Tuesday, January 8, 2013



This was my first Rick Hautala book but it won’t be my last. It is a compelling story that made my eyes water, made me gasp and put my hand on my mouth with a couple of plot twists that I didn’t see coming, and made me read faster because I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

The Wildman is classified as horror but if you’re looking for blood and gore this one isn’t for you.  If you’re looking for a story that gets you in the head of the target of a mad man then this one is for you.  Jeff has been haunted by the memory of a tragic event that took place at summer camp over 30 years ago.  When he gets the chance to reunite with friends from that camp he doesn’t have a lot of interest in going but the memory of the tragedy pulls him back in spite of his reluctance. 

The first part of the story is full of pieces to which we can all relate.  He tries to see the child in the adult faces.  Tries to see the child in the adult personalities.  He thinks about what may be between the lines of what each of his friends says and does.  Half way through the book the story takes a tragic turn. 

The author starts and ends the book with a discussion about the fact that no story really has a single starting point or ending point.  This story, for example, started 35 years ago at summer camp.  But really it started even before that when each of the boys’ lives began.  And you could continue this path indefinitely.  The tragic turn of the story is related to the childhood tragedy.  It’s a believable turn of events, which adds to the fear and anxiety created in the story.  Jeff questions what he sees, feels, hears, senses in a terrifying course of events.  He doesn’t know what’s real and what’s just in his head and since we are in his head, neither do we. 

I have only two criticisms of this page-turner.  Descriptions of Jeff’s wonderings about the minds and motives of his friends goes on a little long for my taste sometimes.  And while the last couple of chapters are very good I felt like it was a bit drawn out as well.  I believe that part of the point of that was that to the main character the events of those couple of chapters felt like an eternity although they were only a few hours of his life.  But I wanted things to move along a little more quickly than they did.

All in all I recommend this book if you enjoy suspense.  It’s a very enjoyable, entertaining read.

Book Cover Summary

From New York Times bestselling author, Rick Hautala, comes a taut suspense thriller set in the dark woods of Maine.

Jeff Cameron is going back to Camp Tapiola on Lake Onwego to meet several old friends and reminisce about their childhood experiences at camp. But not all of their childhood memories are good. For thirty-five years lingering images of their friend Jimmy Foster’s lifeless body being pulled from the lake has disturbed Jeff’s peace of mind. Was Jimmy Foster's death an accident or murder? The authorities had said Jimmy’s death was an accidental drowning, but Jeff had always believed there was more to the story. Why after all these years did his old friend arrange this reunion? And why can’t Jeff escape the feeling that his friend has a hidden agenda. What is this reunion is really about? And another question remains... who is The Wildman? 

About the Author

Under his own name, Rick Hautala has written close to thirty novels, including the million-copy bestseller Nightstone, as well as Winter Wake, The Mountain King, and Little Brothers. He has published two short story collections: Bedbugs and Occasional Demons. He has had over sixty short stories published in a variety of national and international anthologies and magazines. Writing as A. J. Matthews, his novels include the bestsellers The White Room, Looking Glass, Follow, and Unbroken.

His forthcoming books from Cemetery Dance Publications include Indian Summer, a new “Little Brothers” novella, as well as two novels, Chills and Waiting. He recently sold The Star Road, a science fiction novel co-written with Matthew Costello, to Brendan Deneen at Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s and Glimpses: The Best Short Stories of Rick Hautala, to Dark Regions Press. With Mark Steensland, he has written several short films, included the multiple award winning Peekers, based on the short story by Kealan Patrick Burke; The Ugly File, based on the short story by Ed Gorman; and Lovecraft’s Pillow, inspired by a suggestion from Stephen King.

Born and raised in Rockport, Massachusetts, Rick is a graduate of the University of Maine in Orono with a Master of Arts in English Literature. He lives in southern Maine with author Holly Newstein. In 2012, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers’ Association. For more information, check out his website www.rickhautala.com.

Published by Odium Media, an imprint of Omnium Gatherum. The Odium line specializes in publishing traditional horror fiction in print, ebook and audio formats.

To learn more about Odium and their upcoming releases please follow them on Facebook.

To learn more about Omnium Gatherum’s chief editor, Kate Jonez, please visit her website.

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