Full disclosure – I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book by the author, but have voluntarily provided a review. All opinions are my own
“I Found a Circus Tent in the Woods Behind My House: a Novella” is scheduled for a January 31,2023
On an autumn morning a man takes his four year old for a walk in the woods behind their home. They have done this several times before, as this area is undeveloped due to being partially flood plain. Him and his son Jacob tend to get quite muddy at times, but he doesn’t mind as it’s a great bonding time for them. When their romping is disrupted by the discovery of a large red and yellow circus tent the man immediately assumes a neighbor has set up an event in this unlikely area; but as the eyesore is partially on his property he wants it moved. After him and his son suddenly find themselves inside the structure, things go from creepy to sinister. As they become the unwilling participants in a bizarre carnival the man must protect his son at all costs while avoiding the traps and carnies inside. If he fails, they may never return home, but if he succeeds it could leave little Jacob scarred for life.
I Found a Circus Tent in the Woods Behind My House is the newest novella by author Ben Farthing. Having initially been introduced to Farthing’s work by the “Horror Lurks Beneath” series, this newest offering is creepy in a way that is reminiscent of “It Waits on the Top Floor”, but I feel Farthing manages to take the sinister factor to the next level with this book. For me, whenever clowns are involved it will never end well, and I am pretty sure I am not alone in that sentiment. With the first appearance of the juggler and with every other new carny making their appearances, the foreboding feeling was palpable. And with each new room in the endless tent revealing more and more bizarre items it was easy for my mind to start running wild at that possibilities of what some of the items could signify. Told in a ‘first person perspective’ the narrative pulled me in and quickly had me imagining myself in the role of the main character. In fact, I do not believe that the father figure in the story even had a name, which is quite odd for a main character yet oddly effective. As the man and his little boy venture further and further into the tent in an attempt to escape their captors, they encounter increasingly more bizarre rooms. But all of this comes together at the end in what can only be called a creepily lingering center ring performance. For readers who like horror where the characters are thrust into impossible situations with no end in sight and relentless pursuers that are as bizarre as they are terrifying then I Found a Circus Tent in the Woods Behind My House would be a quick, fun read. If this is your first foray into the strange mind of Ben Farthing, I would also recommend the “Horror Lurks Beneath” series for a deeper dive into this author’s completely creepy worlds.