Title: The Branding Ax
Author: Justin Fulkerson
Release date: August 13th, 2022
One thing I’ve always worked hard to do, is try and give some support to those who are looking to get some reviews and get some eyes on their work. Now, I’m not saying I’m anybody to anyone, I’m admitted a small fish in a massive, massive, massive pond – BUT – if I read and review one book and somebody sees that and buys that book – that’s a win and I’ve accomplished my goal.
Since officially re-opening to review requests for novels and novellas, I’ve had a few come through, but when Justin Fulkerson reached out and asked if I’d like to review any of his books, I read their synopsis and of all of them, the one that I was really intrigued by was ‘The Branding Ax.’ It ticked those three boxes I need ticked – an evil, forests and survival. I mean, come on, how could you not be intrigued by a book that includes all of those things!
What I liked: The story follows a grandpa and grandson as they go into the woods to camp. The grandpa, Earl, is in the early-ish stages of dementia, which is used well when things hit the fan. Seeking vengeance on a company logging the forest, Earl sets off some explosives to destroy their operation.
It’s from here the we see the grandson, Dominic, encounter two of the overnight loggers as he flees from an evil that has infected his grandpa. Survival becomes their only option as they try and remain one step ahead of their attacker, but also remain hidden from the evil itself in the forest.
I enjoyed how we get some of the back story and how things came to be and how Earl ultimately became the Earl at the start of the story. The flashbacks were well done and didn’t interrupt the flow of the story telling at all.
The ending was well done and gave us a fitting and logical conclusion. I like when stories like this end in this way because it makes it a solid ending and one that gives the readers what they want.
What I didn’t like: I wasn’t overly keen on the two secondary characters from the logging site. Their backstory didn’t add much other than an odd tension that I personally didn’t think flowed with the story. As well, after they see the transformed Earl chasing them, they still appeared to not completely believe Dominic’s story and treated him oddly.
Why you should buy this: If those three box ticks also tick your boxes for a book, then definitely get on this. This one hums along and gives us another fun entry with mythological elements in the ‘survive-in-the-woods’ story list!