The Pines Review
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After reading The Pines, I think I’ve found my new favorite horror author. It takes a careful blend of characterization, plot, gore, and creepiness to keep me enthralled, and in his new novel, The Pines, Robert Dunbar brings his readers all that and much more.

Deep in the woods of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey lives a creature that the locals call the Jersey Devil—a monster that prowls the pines and attacks victims who are unfortunate enough to find themselves in the woods after dark. Some believe the Jersey Devil to be nothing more than a hideously deformed man, born out of incest, which is prevalent in that area. But what if they’re wrong? What if it’s something much worse?

In response to an outbreak of gruesome deaths, the police department blames it on feral dogs that have gotten out of hand. But the locals know better, and so does Athena. Something’s out there, stalking its victims, killing with some kind of intelligence, and leaving a wake of mutilated flesh. And this thing seems to have a psychic connection to her mentally challenged son, Matty.

  
 
As the creature moves closer and closer to Athena’s isolated farmhouse in the Pine Barrens, she fights to save herself and the son she struggles to raise because of his birth defect—a defect that outsiders and locals assumed had something to do with incest, though it’s just not true.

The fact that the Jersey Devil is an actual local legend in southern New Jersey—and it’s allegedly been seen by many people—makes The Pines even more eerie, foreboding, and just plain scary. The implausible becomes plausible, sending chills down your spine, the coldness creeping into your bones as you read.

This story will scare the heck out of you. Mr. Dunbar brings The Pines to life with chilling clarity, causing you to imagine being lost in the woods with the certainty that you’re not alone in the dark—and that what’s out there is intelligent but probably not human.

While I was reading, a rock rolled down the bank nearby and hit my house, and I shrieked in fright, nearly throwing the book across the room. Few horror novels have the power to scare the dickens—let alone a reaction—out of me. But The Pines did just that. Do I believe that the Jersey Devil exists? Well, let’s just say that you won’t find me caught in the Pine Barrens after dark.

With Halloween right around the corner, I can’t think of a better read for the holiday. Get your copy of The Pines ASAP. I wouldn’t miss it for all the Halloween candy in the universe.

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