“On a hot summer day in Central Florida, a young man discovers a bloodied body in a field behind the repair shop where he works. Grizzly and twisted, the body leaves few clues as to the offender, some questioning if such a horrible end could actually come at the hands of another. The young, struggling writer with the crummy landscaping job who found the body never expected what his find would lead to, nor the friendship he would develop with the fellow writer and crypto-zoologist interested in the case and pressing for answers. Together, neither of them could have guessed the incredible gift they would receive in their budding friendship, the invigoration to their writing, or the heart-stopping experience they would ultimately share.” (description from Goodreads)
*This review is for an ARC copy I received from the author.
Ratliff comes through with another pleasing read. It seems like the novella is the perfect place for Ratliff to dwell as a writer. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t want to read a full length novel from him….I would very much enjoy that. But his work in this shorter form works wonders for the stories he comes up with.
What I liked most about Just Past The Trees is the element of horror without being a straight up horror story. The reader only gets a hint of it. I was left wondering just where the story would go because of it. And while this is happening, the main character and his new friend discuss their life, their craft, and develop a bond many aspiring writers long to find.
This story is as much about a grizzly murder and the mystery of what’s in the forest as it is about finding that one thing in life to keep your passion alive and to pursue your dreams no matter the effort it’ll take to make them happen.
Even though I stated that I feel this was the proper length and format for the story, I still feel that I could use more. I mean this in a good way. I would read a follow-up short story or novella with the main character in it. It’d be interesting to see what panned out after Just Past The Trees. Maybe Ratliff will surprise us one day. Even without that, this novella was complete in itself, enjoyable to read, and has kept me a ran of the author’s work.
Troy Aaron Ratliff has two other novellas and two short stories out as well. This novella, Just Past The Trees will be released tomorrow (Friday August 24th). If you feel like it, be sure to grab your copy. While you wait, you may want to check out Ratliff’s other work (all of which I have reviewed).
Troy can be found here: