Wilderness Legends

Fiction - Anthology
261 Pages
Reviewed on 05/16/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Carmen Tenorio for Readers' Favorite

Wilderness Legends by Kerry ONeal is a collection of original stories about the mysterious, confusing, and unexplained, all of which share a connection with or influence from the outdoors or wilderness like the primeval forest or barren desert or wastelands. Topics cover hearing strange voices from an unknown source (Voice), a professor who determines that his realistic vision of a distraught WWII soldier in the desert was just a mirage (The Mirage), the earth’s inevitable extinction due to the collision with an asteroid (Frigid World), a mental condition that can be interestingly explained by the concept of reincarnation (Anamnesis Analysis), the life and sightings of an ape-like human called Sasquatch (And A Twig Snapped), the author’s take on what happened to the captain, companions, and crew of the mysterious ship, the Marie Celeste (Forever Lost), and a bonus story about a school locker and the curse behind it (Secrets of the Locker).

It’s quite refreshing to find an author with a natural ability to write inventive stories that involve everyday elements and relatable events and turn them into something dreadful, unpredictable, anxiety-ridden, or just outright scary. This also goes for his characters who are all too familiar at first, yet later evolve into someone or something more complex, multi-layered, and baffling. The pacing of the stories ranges from moderate to fast, maintaining the needed tension and action to keep the reader’s interest. Various themes touch on desperation, survival, uncertainty, the unexplained, death, suicide, altered states, unidentified phenomena, and philosophical beliefs to name a few. There’s never a dull moment in this anthology because of the author’s ability to make the reader eagerly anticipate what the next story or scene will be like. Some of the stories involve terrifying scenes and bits of gore, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that the author is a prolific and entertaining storyteller. Kudos also go to his young grandson’s contribution as a bonus story in an enthralling collection of weird, bone-chilling, and creepy tales. Wilderness Legends by Kerry ONeal is highly recommended for readers who love reading about anything horrific, unknown or that keeps one on edge.