Jackson, Rob – The Woodsman
Is this the longest book that Rob has done? At 88 pages (according to his website anyway; he doesn’t number his pages and it’s not like I’m going to count them) it has to be close. This is the story of an aspiring writer who goes out to a secluded cabin in the woods to try and find some inspiration. Yes, I’ve seen stories start with this premise before, but believe you me, none of them came close to going the places that this one did. Anyway! Our hero (Bill) tries writing for a few days, has no luck, and eventually runs into the Woodsman as he’s out hunting and laying traps. They slowly strike up a friendship (I’m most likely rounding up a bit with that word), and they get to talking about previous writers that have also used that cabin for inspiration. The Woodsman reveals that they all had similar problems, and he offered each of them a deal: if they write a story for him, they were guaranteed to get back on track with their own books. Bill recognized a few of the names, so clearly the deal worked for them. He thought about it for a few days and agreed to the deal. The next thing Bill knew, he had significantly fewer blank pages in front of him and his writer’s block was gone, so he spent the next two weeks writing what turns out to be his best book yet. Still, the uncertainty haunts him. What happened that night? What did he write for the Woodsman? Surely it wouldn’t hurt to go to the Woodsman’s cabin and take a look, right? This is the point in the review when I can’t say much more, because despite the fact that I’m maybe 20 pages in at this point, there are so many twists and turns that I don’t want to spoil any of them. There’s the question of the nature of the Woodsman, what the other writers remember about their deals, what each of them ended up writing for him, and about a dozen more questions that I’m not even going to mention. It was riveting all the way through, who could ask for anything more? If you’ve somehow made it however many years reading this website without reading one of Rob’s books, this seems like an excellent place to start. No pesky series to get bogged down in and his artwork is as good as it’s ever been. Don’t ask me to do the currency conversion thingie, but I think this would be roughly $13 here in the U.S.