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The Red Tree - Caitlín R. Kiernan After managing to overcome my extreme distaste for the cover (possibly the worst horror cover I've ever encountered) I plunged into the novel not knowing what to expect but trusting the judgement of the person who recommended it to me.

This story managed to maintain a healthy respect for the traditions and writers of classic weird horror whilst not being overly derivative. It felt very modern. Many great authors and works were referenced, both within the narrative itself, and in the acknowledgements. Caitlín is obviously a fan of the genre herself. The horror itself was most gradually introduced, its insidious nature remaining subtly felt throughout and its precise nature ambiguous to the end.

To what extent could the experiences of the protagonist be attributed to guilt ridden unconscious self torture, her recently diagnosed neurological disorder or her proximity to a mysterious, malevolent force of nature? On the other hand, how much was invented or distorted by the self confessed unreliable narrator?

The sassy, cynical, swearing, lesbian protagonist places this story firming in a contemporary setting. Several fairly graphic sex scenes are definitely aimed at people with modern sensibilities. However, the gradual erosion of a cynic's scepticism, the abandonment of her rational world, view was convincingly portrayed and not too readily given up.

A talented writer so don't let the cover put you off if you are new to her writing.