The characters in Benjamin Percy’s new collection, Suicide Woods are built around landscape the way roses build themselves around a trellis. They are twisted and thorny and beautiful ... A small masterpiece ... emotionally riveting ... will leave you with a deep sensation of panic and dread.
Each mesmerizing story in Benjamin Percy’s latest collection is rooted in the uncanny, where the familiar is freaky and the impossible 'a white smear rising out of the darkness.' But even in Percy’s eeriest tales, compassion and wry humor infuse the narratives. Suicide Woods is more Stranger Things than Twilight Zone, closer to King than Kafka, and it’s as entertaining as whatever chilling show you’re bingeing on Netflix right now ... In each one of Percy’s stories, the settings are alive ... You’ve been warned.
Benjamin Percy’s writing is immaculate. Each word seems so carefully chosen the reader cannot imagine a synonym that would better suit. This slender volume is not a fast read. With such craft, a reader must slowly savor the nine stories and the single novella in Percy’s third collection. All are relentlessly dark, but the darkness springs from a variety of sources and tropes ... There is great beauty in all this darkness and, somehow, a glimpse of how we can overcome it.
... a total nightmare—in the best way possible ... This merging of reality and dream states has a powerfully unsettling effect, implying that much of what we accept as normal is, in fact, more than slightly Kafkaesque and underscoring a central theme of the collection: that the real nightmare is the one we create for ourselves by attempting to constrain or conquer nature—both human and environmental ... All of this might sound irredeemably bleak and misanthropic, but Percy nestles shimmers of hope in the dark forest, as it were ... Above all, the language throughout is remarkable: sharp and stinging, yet replete with desolate, hypnagogic beauty. Settings are imbued with distinct personalities ... This precision of language and metaphor is most affecting when it immerses us in the characters’ peculiar worlds ... Poignant, caustic, empathetic, and extremely relevant to our contemporary social climate, the narratives in Suicide Woods linger like a not-unpleasant, post-migraine aura, framing perceptions of what we accept as normal in our surroundings—and in ourselves—long after their sometimes-inconclusive conclusions.
... an addictive mix of gritty crime fiction and otherworldly horror ... Percy's prose is exacting, finely tuning the atmospherics that give the collection such an eerie overall feeling ... Percy adeptly switches between the tropes of horror and the trickier narrative structures of neo-noir. Several of the stories are grimly fascinating crime reads ... a testament to Percy's skill as a writer. He takes no shortcuts in eliciting thrills. The collection is by turns provocative and terrifying.
...a collection abounding with bizarre moments ... several stories within the collection...operate under a kind of dream logic laced with gritty horror ... a...blend of folktales and realism ... Not all of the stories click ... Percy has a penchant for pulpy thrills and kinetic plots ... Suicide Woods has its own ebbs and flows, and its own high and low points. But when this book hums along, it does so to powerful effect. And it’s a fine reminder of what happens when a writer taps into their penchant for the outright fantastical, and the unsettling stories that can arise as a result.
Percy’s stories tend largely toward domestic realism with a generous dosage of bleakness and violence ... his tales have become deeply Gothic, too ... Suicide Woods is Percy at his most joyful and carefree; he seems to be having a great deal of fun ... It’s always lots of fun to read, if not across the board successful—like rooting through a trick-or-treat bag, searching for the choicest bites ... we see the denizens of these stories, too, grasping after a humanity they can never achieve—or one that was never available to them in the first place. Suicide Woods leads us through a gleefully nightmarish gallery of our worst existential fears.
Benjamin Percy is a writer who understands that, in the twenty-first century, the scariest thing to many readers is not the supernatural or threats from beyond the grave, but something altogether closer to home: real estate ... Percy’s strength as a writer rests in his ideas. Each of the pieces in Suicide Woods boasts at least one suggestion that lingers in the reader’s subconscious.
... slim but entertaining ... Percy’s stories are atmospheric, concise, and at times terrifying, and he leads readers into unexpected revelations and visceral violence ... Readers who are drawn to dark and unexpected twists will enjoy Percy’s musings on life, identity, and the powerful effects of nature on the human condition.
... beauty redeems the vision of darkness that [Percy] offers—held out before us, these words suggest that there is still something worth saving in our broken human existence ... Like modern Grimm fairy tales, the stories in this volume are cautionary and haunting.
... a book to buy and keep, for readers of dark adventure and for fans of tightly crafted tales ... One of the traits of Percy’s work, and it is on display in this collection, is the attention to the details of various professions ... The stories in this collection are largely plot driven, with characters that will be less remembered than the tales they peopled, apart from the bear. You will remember him.
Percy’s haunting, well-crafted prose frequently elevates the mundanity and isolation of being human into something otherworldly in his genre-bending collection ... This gripping, often unnerving collection showcases Percy’s talent as a skilled, versatile storyteller.