The Hanging Tree by Michael Phillip Cash

Posted November 3, 2013 in Book Review, Novella Review / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Hanging Tree by Michael Phillip CashThe Hanging Tree by Michael Phillip Cash
Published by Create Space on October 15th 2013
Genres: Horror, Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 90
Format: ARC
Source: ARC from publisher
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three-stars

Enter a world where spirits roam the earth in Michael Phillip Cash's haunting new novella, The Hanging Tree. Set amid the eerie backdrop of Long Island, an area famously steeped in old legend, two young would-be lovers contemplate their future while visits from those who have come before them reveal the lure of fate...and the power of free will. At seventeen years old, Arielle's relationship with her parents is slowly deteriorating. Angry and defiant, she is at a loss on how to cope with the tumultuous situation in which she finds herself. Arielle's only comfort is Chad, an eighteen-year-old young man who seems to truly understand her struggles. Arielle and Chad meet beneath the low-hanging branches of what the local community has nick-named the "Hanging Tree". An ancient and majestic landmark, it has long been rumored that the tree is haunted by ghosts. These ghosts span various centuries and vary wildly in age, but each one of them has one thing in common: their deaths are all somehow connected to the tree itself. As Arielle and Chad commiserate over their current situation and their precarious nature of their future, the spectral inhabitants of the Hanging Tree witness their conversation. One by one,the ghosts begin reminiscing about their own lives-and deaths- as they examine the inner demons with which their human forms long struggled. An eerie meditation on the oft-overlooked power of choice, Cash's The Hanging Tree will stay with readers long after they turn out the light.

Main Points

Writing Style
I quite liked the writing style. It’s pretty close to my own. Just the right amount of description, nothing overdone, to the point. The language is not too sophisticated but not too simple. That, and some of the content, is most likely what makes this a young adult novella and not a kid’s novella. But some of the editing was distracting- some phrases didn’t flow and punctuation was wrong or missing. But that wasn’t too terribly distracting.
Content 
This was a bit of something new. For me, anyway. I don’t usually read murder mysteries or things like that, but this was a novella so I was willing to give it a try. And it was worth the hour or so I spend reading it. I didn’t predict the ending at all but I was engrossed throughout the book. I liked how there was a modern, main plot and all the little subplots from the past. That was interesting and well done.
Characters 
Arielle was kind of simple and a little predictable. Chad was kind of a jerk. They were both pretty stereotypical. The ghosts were quite some characters, though. I liked them, especially Goody. Life wasn’t fair to her.
Quotes
There’s this one that stuck with me when I rifled through the book after reading it- didn’t catch me the first time but here it is.
“…his friend replied with a smile and tweaked the comma of hair that hung over Arthur’s forehead.”
-page 71
I just love that. I am so much of an English freak, it was just really fun to see punctuation used to describe physiognomy.

Bottom Line

 It’s an interesting story- a little underdeveloped or unclear at times but it has a good premise. It’s a suspenseful read. The editing may have been distracting sometimes but the story progressed quickly enough for me to stay with it. Would I read full-length books by this author? Yes. Would I recommend this novella to others? Yes.

About Michael Phillip Cash

Born and raised on Long Island, Michael has always had a fascination with horror writing and found footage films. He wanted to incorporate both with his debut novel, Brood X. Earning a degree in English and an MBA, he has worked various jobs before settling into being a full-time author. He currently resides on Long Island with his wife and children.

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