By Forces Unseen

The Man Who Loved Trees and Other Stories

Fiction - Anthology
282 Pages
Reviewed on 01/21/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

By Forces Unseen: The Man Who Loved Trees and Other Stories is a work of fiction penned by author Richard Masters in the paranormal, occult, and science fiction subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience. Each story in this varied and interesting collection is a portal to the extraordinary, where the boundaries between the natural and the preternatural blur. From haunted houses to enchanted springs, to abused children with wishes, to the consequences of a town's violence against a nature-loving recluse, the narratives are rich in both suspense and contemplation. The stories not only entertain but also prompt reflection on the consequences of human actions and the unpredictable forces that shape our lives.

Author Richard Masters weaves tales that tap into our deeply-rooted fascination with the unknown, and also our worst fears about what might be out there, lingering just beyond the realms of our comprehension. I enjoyed the blend of genres and how the tales flow freely across horror, fantasy, and speculative fiction, keeping their core strength in the tense, harrowing actions of human beings caught up in terrifying events. For me, The Gambler was a particular favorite, showcasing a dangerous game with slick narration and a wickedly dry sense of tables being turned. But each narrative has its own unique flavor that will catch the eye of different readers, providing a diverse range of experiences within the overarching theme of forces unseen. The storytelling is always personal to the characters and highly immersive, inviting readers to embrace the mysteries and unexpected turns that life often presents us with. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend By Forces Unseen to fans of accomplished paranormal short stories everywhere.

Carmen Tenorio

By Forces Unseen by Richard Masters is an anthology of seven stories whose themes are elements of the supernatural and the unexplained such as a house seemingly haunted by spirits who not only want it restored to its former glory but are also intolerant of anything depraved or evil inhabiting it; or an abused child who discovers a magical spring that could be his only escape from the harsh reality of life. The Man Who Loves Trees is the titular story and shows how human beings and nature can share a strong bond and sense of oneness stemming from a relationship based on mutual respect, nurturance, and self-preservation lasting until the end and after one's earthly life. Richard Masters is a skillful storyteller with well-crafted and engrossing tales that are poignant, highly figurative, insightful, and even occasionally lighthearted and humorous. His wonderfully descriptive, emotional, and imaginative writing style easily transports the reader into another time or gripping scenario in his particularly captivating, page-turning, and satisfying storylines.

What drives the plots in each of the stories and makes them interesting is how human behavior reacts to the inexplicable. It’s a remarkable look at the dark and glorious sides of human nature and how both combine to shape traits that can influence one’s chosen decision or action. Such acts of volition lead a story character to either victoriously conquer and taste success, fulfillment, justice, or freedom, or be lured into making mistakes, or be a moral degenerate as they react and grapple not only with the other characters but most especially with elements of the unknown or unexplainable in whatever space and time they’re in. Richard Masters’ well-written anthology, By Forces Unseen, is a treat for fans who are into mystery, horror, and the supernatural. These stories amuse, entertain, or give a little shock to their readers, but also give a message or teach a lesson to those who dare to delve into the pages.

Luwi Nyakansaila

By Forces Unseen is a collection of thought-provoking stories by Richard Masters. The book features seven unique tales that delve into man's dark nature and explore existential topics such as the meaning of life, justice, and whether it is right to take revenge into your own hands. The stories are realistic but have a supernatural and magical element that blends perfectly into the plot. Each tale introduces a new cast of characters and tackles social issues such as class divisions, single motherhood, domestic abuse, and false accusations that affect many people in our communities. In this collection, readers are introduced to a family with secrets moving into a haunted house, a successful man who yearns for adventure, and an aspiring actor who gets involved in a missing person case, among others. If you are looking for an engaging read that will keep you hooked from start to finish, then By Forces Unseen is the book for you.

I enjoyed reading By Forces Unseen because it features unpredictable stories with shocking plot twists. The book covers a wide range of genres, including mystery, paranormal, science fiction, time travel, and more. I found the characters relatable as they experience transformative situations, making me wonder how I would react if I were in their shoes. Each story is memorable, touching on topics such as child abuse and neglect, police brutality, and nature conservation. Richard Masters vividly depicts different periods and communities, immersing readers in the narratives and allowing them to empathize with the characters' internal and external conflicts. I highly recommend this collection because everyone is sure to find something that resonates with them.