The Smell of Cedar – Thoughts

I have never before publicly shared reviews of my work. I see a lot of writers do it and honestly, it feels somewhat pretentious to me. Nothing against anyone who does that sort of thing, but it’s just how I feel personally. But when I came across these two reviews of my latest novella, The Smell of Cedar, I was fascinated by the opposing reactions. Furthermore, I do not know either of these people, so for this to happen organically, makes me quite happy. I will admit, this is exactly the type of polarity I strive for as a writer.

Towards the end of this book I will be honest I had to skim read certain parts just to make sure I could sleep that night and also not throw up. I will say that this book has probably upset me more than any other book I have read. I can’t even say I recommend it and that does not often happen and I always try to find a positive with a book and give it a chance. The book was well written and does hook you in but it really was not my cup of tea and I wish to forget it as soon as possible.

Whoa! Seriously, what a ride. The author has done something great here. There is a perfect mix of slow-burn-haunting and vile-horror. So beautifully written, that it lulls you into a sense of rhythm that increases without you being aware, until your heart is pounding faster and then you realize you’re reading with your eyes wide and mouth agape. I mean, at least I did. Highly recommend.

If you are a seasonal reader, October may be the perfect month for you to read The Smell of Cedar. While I don’t consider it horror, there are some scenes that some may consider horrific. In the feedback I’ve gotten from readers, it has been described as dark, horror, extreme, psychological, and a dash of bizarro. If you want a safe, feel-good read, then this is definitely not for you. If you aren’t afraid to have your sensibilities challenged a bit, consider giving it a try.

Thank you to everyone who has already purchased a copy, your support is appreciated more than you will ever know.


  1. I think I’d be scared out of my mind. Lol… I bet it’s one of those books that leaves a lifelong impression on the reader. I’ve read a few like that and they have continued to haunt me ever since. And isn’t that what any great writer should be able to do? They should be able to leave the reader with something that they’ll never forget. I bet it’s a brilliant read, River. But I don’t think I’d better dare look. Lol.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Just goes to show that art is truly subjective and what one person loves, another will certainly hate. It gives hope that there is an audience out there for everyone. Thanks for sharing your reviews.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I’m going to be honest here, River, I know I’d be too uncomfortable, too disturbed to read a book as described in these reviews, I avoid even watching the darker psychological programs that seem to fill tv schedules, a legacy of my childhood, a lifelong unsettled imagination. So, for me these reviews have shown their value being posted here, by giving me a steer not to buy even though my instinct as a friend had been too; and by bringing you to the attention of others who can handle and enjoy a darker form of writing. And isn’t that the value, the merit, the honesty of posting reviews in your own space – to give another dimension, another perspective and insight beyond our own view of our work. It’s why I do it on my blog, folk see and say things about my writing I hadn’t seen or thought of myself. All the best, River – Eric.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You make a good point about sharing reviews. I guess it just makes me feel a bit vain. Probably my hang up. I understand what you’re saying about the book. When I wrote it, I knew it wouldn’t be for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Honestly, I want to read this because it is written by you and I love your writing… but I have not picked it up because I was afraid, due to the description and front cover, that it would lean into horror, which I don’t read. Now I’m torn, as you the author don’t describe it as horror… what to do, what to do…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Horror is so broad and subjective anymore. It’s hard to categorize it. I consider this dark fiction, and horror a sub category of dark fiction. There are some graphic, detailed scenes in the book that could make some people uneasy. I tried to push things a bit more with this story, but I don’t think the more extreme scenes are gratuitous. I tried to not make them over-shadow the story, but more to give a punch here and there. Not sure if I pulled that off, but hopefully.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I hope you don’t feel as if you need to explain yourself to anyone (least of all, me), but I DO appreciate you taking the time to describe that a bit more.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Indeed it sure is. Last year someone told me they were surprised by my own story in Static Dreams 1, which they said was horror and were surprised it came from me. I myself was surprised because, like you, I believe there’s a line which I didn’t realize I had crossed, but for them, I had. 🤷🏼‍♀️ I don’t know. I think I’m going to get your book and if it hits a point where I can’t keep reading, I’ll stop. Because I am super curious for one and for two, I want to always support you in your endeavors where I can.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Now, see, I would consider your story dark fiction. We all definitely have different thresholds. Personally, I read a lot of extreme “horror” for enjoyment. It’s the type of stuff I don’t ever see myself writing, but I love it. The sicker, the better. I appreciate that you are always supportive of me. If you check out the book, thank you. And if not, no problem, I still feel supported.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. what a review!! i like to look at mine whenever i’m feeling down about my shop or progress to remember people out there like my stuffss. Maybe you could try my scary short story contest! i think it’d be fun and i can share your work on my new blog 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  6. There is only one book that really made me squirm a little and that was more from suspense then horror really and that was Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. That first review has me thinking this one would be similar. Excuse me while I dash over to Amazon! Keep up the great work River!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m a “sensitive viewer” so it may not be for me but I think my son would love it, how different we all are! It caught my attention though and I think the reviews give a great impression of who should be reading your book, I may even give it a try. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This book is in my TBR queue, so I will read it. Gotta say, though, River, I follow you on Goodreads and as you said in a comment, some of the stuff you read definitely isn’t my cup of tea. And given these reviews, I’m a bit uneasy. But curious.

    Liked by 1 person

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