Witchopper: Dan Soule
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Dan Soule is an author I connected with a while back on Twitter. His novel ‘Neolithica‘ was highly recommended to me by both Ross Jeffery and Joseph Sale, but, unfortunately, with how swamped I was at the time with review requests, I didn’t get to reading it. When ‘Witchopper‘ was announced, I was immediately intrigued. Look at that cover! That is a thing of beauty. Add in the premise of a horror-folklore story and I’m hooked. I’ll be diving into ‘Neolithica‘ here now shortly, as well.
What I liked: While the premise is simple in it’s set up, trust me when I say, this book has layers. Meet Rob. Rob is a teen, struggling to fit in at school, moved away from his friend’s when his dad takes a new job. His dad is a journalist. Always up for following the story, going where it takes you. But Rob and his dad are struggling to keep some semblance of a relationship.
This relationship dynamic adds a significant amount of tension and one thing I enjoyed was it grounded the story in the here and now, especially when the curse of the Witchopper begins to wrap its talons around the story itself.
Soule crafted a fantastic take on this folklore story – truthfully, I don’t know if the Witchopper is a real being in history, I haven’t wanted to Google it all, simply because I don’t want to spoil any of the charm Soule conjured within this book.
What I didn’t like: At first, I wasn’t too keen on the Father-Son dynamic, it felt a bit rushed at the beginning, but that worked itself out shortly thereafter. The book goes full slow burn at the start, which may be tougher for some folks who don’t do well with slower beginnings, but the payoff is worth it.
Why you should buy it: Soule is a fantastic writer and ‘Witchopper‘ is a worthy addition to the growing list of folklore horror. While I haven’t seen the movie ‘Midsommer‘ which is listed on the synopsis as a comparison, I definitely see the influence of the seminal ‘The Wicker Man,’ which should be all you need to know to decide if you want to dive into this fantastic book!
All Rob wanted to do was fit in at his new school after being torn from London so his parents could fix their marriage. But when Rob’s journalist father dragged him along to investigate the legend of the Witchopper for the local paper, her curse became their reality.
She was priestess to the pagan god of the wild wood, hanged by a rabid mob for her unspeakable crimes. Now, something far worse than the hell of high school is after Rob and his dad…
In the vein of The Wickerman and Midsommar, Witchopper is an epic ordeal of a father and son relationship, where past sins echo in the present. Dan Soule delivers another of his terrifying Fright Nights, with a tale of love, lies and truth that will leave you sleeping with the light on.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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