Two childhood best friends, Jody and Jack, are busy raising hell in Hammond, Louisiana. They have developed a reputation for their infamous mischief making. They don’t have a care in the world. Jody and Jack go about their business–exploring the woods and blowing up mailboxes. You know, the typical adolescent behavior of the 80s and 90s, especially in the South. But their antics are about to catch up with them.
While exploring the woods near their homes, the two boys find a camper with two slaughtered calves inside. They’d been there far some time. I could literally smell the stench wafting from the pages. Jack and Jody had stumbled upon the site of an old satanic ritual. They took off on their bicycles and headed home to tell their parents. Someone was in the woods with them. The two adolescents soon forget their experience in the woods. That is when things get even darker.
There are three bad people in Hammond that are looking to sacrifice animals and children. One of those individuals knows what the Jody and Jack look like. He was in the woods by the camper when the two boys strolled up. He had come back to the camper to retrieve a knife he had left there. Those two boys stayed on his mind ever since. The man snorted cocaine more often. He stayed high. He stayed drunk and hungover. He was off the rails. He would stop at nothing to keep the boys quiet. But how?
BLOOD IN THE WOODS is a coming of age story filled with love, loss, and tragedy. It is chock-full of nostalgia and teen angst. J.P. Willie does a great job setting the tone of the book. Even though the author writes about Hammond, he indirectly touches on the satanic panic of the 80s and 90s in Louisiana by using the local news station. I thought this was a great way to give the reader a sense of space. I feel like I could make my way around Hammond with ease. The tension is taut when it needs to be.
The characters are complex. They have depth and as the story progresses, you get to see them grow. The baddie is gross and repulsive man who tries to hunt down Jack and Jody on numerous occasions. One close encounter after another leads the story into its final stage, setting up an epic showdown that you will not soon forget. The scenes jump from the page. You’ll be screaming at the book, trying to get the characters out of harm’s way. BLOOD IN THE WOODS is filled with blood and guts. The latter third of the book is disturbing and grotesque. Jack and Jody had to grow up too fast. They received more hell than they gave.
BLOOD IN THE WOODS is about growing up. It’s about the friendships you create and the unforgettable experiences you have with those friends during your childhood. Friendships come and go. People grow up and move away. Childhood friends may never speak to each other again, but they will forever be connected by the events of their childhood. That’s what makes this book so good. I look forward to reading J.P. Willie’s other work.
For Jody, growing up in the late eighties and early nineties in the small Louisiana town of Hammond with his best friend Jack was filled with wonderful childhood memories.
Time spent playing in the woods, shooting pellet guns, blowing up mailboxes, fighting at school and upon the dawning of interest in the fairer sex, their carefree lives typical of children with few responsibilities and no worries beyond the next pop-quiz or getting to second base.
As they grow older together and experience the joys and pains of life, love, family and friendship, they uncover a grim secret that their home town has kept, and through little more than an innocent, idle curiosity, Jody and Jack stumble upon something horrific in the woods and their lives quickly take a most sinister and dangerous turn as they find themselves hunted by an unspeakable evil…