Book Title:
The Tangled Woods
Book Author:
Emily Raboteau
Book Series:
Dark Corners, #5
Page Count:
Publishing Date:
September 27th, 2018
Amazon Original Stories
Date Read:
February 28th, 2021
Kindle Edition
Prime Reading


He went on the road expecting the worst of America, but what if the worst of America was also in him? This is the unsettling story of a man in a midlife crisis and his unexpected awakening, by award-winning writer Emily Raboteau.

Poison-tongued film critic Reginald Wright is known for his creative insults and intolerance for the garbage culture, insufferable rudeness, and thoughtless racism of predictably common people. Now, against his better judgment, and with a marriage in crisis, he’s attempting a getaway in the Poconos that quickly fulfills his every low expectation. In fact, it’s becoming a nightmare. And that’s just what Reginald needs to wake up.

Emily Raboteau’s The Tangled Woods is part of Dark Corners, a collection of seven heart-stopping short stories by bestselling authors who give you so many new reasons to be afraid. Each story can be read in a single sitting. Or, if you have the nerve, you can listen all by yourself in the dark.

My Review

Here we are at number five of the Dark Corners series, The Tangled Woods, written by Emily Raboteau. The cover of this was kind of creepy so I was pretty excited to dive into this. The synopsis also sounded interesting – I was excited about seeing how the story and the main character would mesh to create something thrilling. However, this one fell a bit short for me, and while I finished it, I had a difficult time with it.

The Tangled Woods starts us off with a family of three driving to a resort in the Poconos. They are going on a much needed vacation. The father and husband, Reginald, is driving, with his wife and son. Reginald is miserable as can be, not wanting to go to this resort or be with his family at all. As a film critic, Reginald is not just critical of films, but rather all things in his life – even his family.

After an encounter with the police (which both Reginald and his wife thought would go wrong due to their skin color), they finally arrive at the resort, and Reginald could not be more unhappy about being there. When checking in, he returns a call to his TA, who has called him multiple times (which his wife, obviously, is not thrilled about). He receives some interesting news. After that, it is time to start the vacation.

Reginald is forced into the family activities that deep down, he honestly wants no part of. He has to go to the pool with his wife and son, and then there is the special wizard game that the resort is famous for – the game that his son is incredibly excited for, but one that he would rather do anything else than partake in. Nevertheless, he does the game with his son.

After not being able to figure out the mystery, he returns to his room for the night, where things start to get a little strange. After a bewildering encounter with the guest directly above them, the story only gets more strange from there – strange, and in fact, very dark.

To be honest, after finishing The Tangled Woods, I still find myself kind of unsure of what the ending was supposed to me. How was I supposed to feel while reading it? More so, how was I supposed to feel while reading the entire story? I was really disturbed during reading this, if I can be honest – there were so many parts of it that I just found…maybe a bit too dark for my taste.

Not to mention the main character – I just…not only could I not connect with him, but I just had a strong dislike for him. I won’t get into detail as to why I didn’t like him, because I don’t want to ruin it, but to be honest, he was just…ugh.

The plot itself wasn’t all that bad. I kind of liked some parts of it, like the wizarding game that the families at the resort were playing. I’m not sure if this is based of an actual game in a resort in the Poconos or something, but it sounded pretty neat.

I might want to read something else by this author, however, because I did like the overall writing style. But this just didn’t have the thriller vibe that I was expecting, and instead was more of a political drama.

2 stars
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