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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  47 ratings  ·  25 reviews
"Blessed is the creature that knows its purpose."

Woods surround a blighted section of a nameless city, and after dark something creeps forth into the streets, something that preys upon humans ... and may ultimately replace them.

One winter night, it begins to stalk a runaway girl.

The monster just made its first mistake.
Kindle Edition, Kindle edition, 60 pages
Published February 22nd 2012 by Uninvited Books (first published February 1st 2012)
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A tale of the unexpected written in wonderful prose. Creepy and about other things that lurk in the woods. The story flows with an eerie pace, it did not go down the route I expected and I was left a bit puzzled at the end in how it finished. The monster seems to be more intelligent that you would expect. The author has done well in NOT just creating an average story of survival where a monster maims and kills off the characters. This is not a gory horror tale but more written in a throwback hom...more
I finished this novella last night and I am still rolling it over and over again in my mind. It clearly deserves a re-read. Sometimes it makes all the difference to read the first line of a novel when you already know the last. Dunbar is one of the few novelists good enough to deserve a re-read.

All through my reading I got the feeling that Dunbar was laughing a snarky laugh as he teases the reader. I don't want to give away the numerous punchlines because I enjoyed them but just remember your fa...more
Lee Thompson
Mar 23, 2012 Lee Thompson rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to Lee by: Jesus
A very entertaining novella with various nods to classic fairy tales, it being a funny and scary fairy tale in its own right. Dunbar's prose is elegant and biting, and even though the characters (and the monster/s) are floating in this world of quiet and helpless dissatisfaction, they're also insightful, witty, and partly at peace with it and each other. I loved the contrasts, and the pace is excellent. Highly recommended.
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Jun 09, 2012 Shellie (Layers of Thought) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dark humor lovers
Recommended to Shellie (Layers of Thought) by: Robert Dunbar
Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

A metaphorical and darkly hilarious novella about an environmentally poisoned wood where a ravenous monster awakens.

About: A young ward of the state decides to leave the safety of her group home to return home to her dying grandmother. Her friend reminds her of the darkness that lurks outside of the doors; a monster is waking up slowly to a deep hunger in the dead woods. There is no food to satisfy its need, not even a starving rat. Where will it feed?...more
Peter Schwotzer
“Blessed is the beast that knows its purpose.”

Something has begun to creep in from the woods at night … something that stalks a young girl along deserted streets

An excerpt from WOOD:

Boundaries shift.

Towns and cities grow in spurts, sometimes encroaching upon places better left alone, areas that through a sort of negative geography remain neither forest nor park, neither rural nor urban. No proper designations exist. Unnamed and unclaimed, such regions appear on no map. They never have. Perhaps a...more
James Everington
Willy, by the same author, was one of my favourite reads of last year, so I was excited to read this new novella by Robert Dunbar. Whilst still horror, it's safe to say Wood is a different beast to Willy. Structurally, it's almost like a 50s b-movie: a simple people vs. monster tale. The multiple points of view (including the monster's) are very much in the monster-movie style too, I thought, as was the almost ecological nature of the creature itself.

However the writing & characterisation ar...more
I grew up in the woods, so the primordial fear of the wilderness is diminished a great deal with me. I've been with citified friends on camping trips though, and I have marveled at the abject terror that can come from something as simple as an animal ambling by the tent at night or the wind causing one tree limb to grind against another. With Robert Dunbar's novella, Wood, there is a touch of that primitive fear towards the woods. Only in this case, there's good reason.

The story revolves around...more
Colin Leslie
Robert Dunbar is easily one of the best dark fiction writers around and he just keeps getting better and better. From his fairly straight horror novels The Pines and The Shore, he moved up a gear with the fabulous Martyrs and Monsters. His last novel Willy was a tour de force of characterisation whose portrayal of disaffected youth was up there with the classics like Catcher In The Rye. Praise indeed and this presents something of a problem for Mr Dunbar, how on earth do you follow that...here i...more
Paul Jr.
Dunbar takes a modern twist on a familiar fairy tale and he gives it a thoroughly moody and tension-filled retelling that is nothing short of entertaining. But like all of Dunbar’s work I have read, he gives us layers to pull back should we so choose. In essence, Dunbar reveals to us an absolute necessity of any living being: the need to interact...the need to be exposed to others who are different than we...the need to be constantly challenged—by goodness or evil—in order to evolve and survive....more
Alex McDermott
Climate change. Global warming. Dying polar bears. Mass extinction. You can’t go anywhere without hearing about Man’s damage to the planet. We are killing the Earth. But are we really? We are destroying it. There’s no doubt about that. But killing it? Mother Nature hides her sinister grin as we chug along in our SUVs and consumer culture. Robert Dunbar’s short fiction piece Wood gives us a frightening glimpse of that rictus grin and it doesn’t come smelling like roses.

Dunbar’s descriptive writi...more
Thom (T.E.)
The concept--of the nature of the beast, and its shiftings in relationship to those within us and our world--is grand, and the set-up sections within this novella suggests that the author is going to produce something of lasting substance. But soon he sets a pattern where there isn't a likeable character anywhere in sight. The attempts to make some of them grow on the reader depend on two ploys: they're victims of cliched miserable situations, and they respond with an unceasing stream of a ruefu...more
Shedrick Pittman-Hassett
From my blog: http://serialdistractions.com

In the woods around the city, something lurks. Something dangerous. Something…hungry.

On the streets in the outskirts of the city, and on the outskirts of society, a teenager escapes from the cloying control of her caretakers to find her Nana.

The hungry creature is evolving, changing. Moving into the city.

A lonely man, self-exiled and distant, finds a spark of humanity even as he wonders if he is a monster.

The real monster slithers and scratches on rutte...more
Wood . . . the forest near the park; fall leaves on the ground; the hedgerow boardering your house. It's all alive.

Rose finally gets out of the facility and returns home to see Nana, but what she finds there is not happiness. The man following her becomes her friend, sort of, and the monster they fight is growing and developing. It will return.

Well written and extremely descriptive, Wood by Robert Dunbar is an enjoyable short read, for the most part. The characters have full backgrounds and easi...more
Matthew Hunter
"Blessed is the creature that knows its purpose" - the anti-Beatitude linked to the malevolent creature in Wood. What's the monster's purpose? To devour every being it encounters, a task seldom considered blessed. But why not blessedness? This dire purpose springs from a creature of human design. It's our hate and mindless destruction of the natural world that makes the monster in the wood possible. The creature represents our proverbial chickens coming home to roost. We're doomed it seems!

Jamie O'Connell
Positives: Dunbar is an incredibly descriptive writer! It’s all in the details. A broken brick here, blowing garbage there… the things we all see, but don’t notice. I really liked his shifting perspectives throughout the story. We saw the “edge of town” from various points of view, giving it a vivid life of its own. His characters are classic Dunbar… outsiders, different, loners, and misfits. Their voices are the forgotten elements of society, and I for one appreciate hearing them.

Negatives: Ric...more
William Holloway
I just finished Wood, and I've gotta say- Robert Dunbar has me intrigued. The story is mainly told through the internal dialogue of the two principal characters, and the monster. All of them are evolving, all of them finding or gaining or regaining the desire to live, or to do more than just live. I don't know if this is really horror even though the author managed to paint a picture of entire urban neighborhoods sucked dry of life without anyone noticing or caring. Even if it's not horror per s...more
Heidi Ward
Immediate reactions: I really liked the characters (I found Dick and his isolation especially well-written) and the dialogue crackled. The menace was suitably creepy, as well as timely. Found the ending to be a bit abrupt, though -- what a cliffhanger! I want to know more about the very interesting situation Mr. Dunbar has left his characters in . . .

Will try to post a more thoughtful review soon.
A Parable-like horror tale. As in much of Robert Dunbar’s dark fiction, it is those on the margins of society who are the most vulnerable to nature’s deadly aberrations; and among them it’s those possessed of a strong sense of self who are able to gather their powers to fight for their survival. This is a very good, riveting, and quite entertaining tale which you’ll have gulped down before you know it.
Robert Dunbar keeps you wondering exactly how things are going to turn out in this suspenseful story. The young protagonist is trying to get to her Nana's house. The streets are practically deserted and their is a weird feeling all around.
Lucas Mangum
This was a really fun novella. Quick and to the point, it wastes no time introducing the elements and building to its satisfying conclusion.
Jim Williams
Creepy, atmospheric short story about things that go bump in the places we avoid...including places inside ourselves.
Uninvited Books
The initial critical responses to WOOD have been wonderful.

“Mesmerizing … poetic … unnerving.”
~ Literary Mayhem

“Honest-to-God terrifying and emotionally wrenching.”
~ Horror World

“Leaves an indelible impression on the reader’s heart and mind.”
~ Southern Rose Productions

“If you have not yet read anything by Robert Dunbar, you are doing yourself a disservice. WOOD is his latest dark literary masterpiece.”
~ Famous Monsters of Filmland

“Another excellent work from an extremely powerful writer.”
Randolph Carter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Well, now. I didn't like this, even though the writing was pretty good. Parts of it. The dialogue was stilted and the characters oddly developed, but there were some very nice bursts of prose. Then again, I don't really understand what happened, or even what was supposed to happen. A teen girl runs away from a shelter in an undefined city apparently being menaced by some sort of plant-based monster. Sort of. She runs into a weird older guy and together they beat up the monster and make it get in...more
Jay marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2014
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Jody Rose marked it as to-read
Jul 08, 2014
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Joseph Chasen marked it as to-read
Jul 03, 2014
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Michael Kelly marked it as to-read
Jun 24, 2014
Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas marked it as to-read
Jun 13, 2014
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Supernatural Fict...: WOOD by Robert Dunbar 1 10 Jun 01, 2012 07:59AM  
Robert Dunbar is the author of the supernatural thrillers THE PINES and THE SHORE, both of which garnered extremely postive reviews. He is also the author of MARTYRS & MONSTERS, a collection of his short fiction, the dark literary novel WILLY, and the nonfiction book VORTEX. He has been called "the catalyst for the new literary movement in horror" and "one of the saviors of contemporary dark f...more
More about Robert Dunbar...
The Pines Willy The Shore Martyrs and Monsters Shadows: Supernatural Tales by Masters of Modern Literature

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