I love amusement parks, especially the old ones from my youth. The local ones were the best, where sometimes it seemed the rides were likely to fall apart while you were still riding them. The ones within an hour’s drive from where I grew up—Lakewood Park, West Point Park, and Willow Grove Park, all in Southeast Pennsylvania. In its dying days, the later was known as Six Gun Territory. I remember they used to have a small wooden coaster, The Scenic; exciting not because of it’s speed or height, but because of the way it always seemed like it could leave the track at any moment.
Today, the parks are bigger, the rides are more daring—and, for the most part, safer—than they were in the days of my youth. I may be in my sixties now, but I’ll still ride any coaster on the planet at the drop of a hat.
Dream Woods was once one of the new generation of theme parks, with on-site hotels and big thrill rides, a vacation destination second only to Disney’s parks. That’s why, when Vince Carter saw the billboard with the park’s mascot, Sebastian the Bear, he more or less decided immediately it was just the vacation to breathe new life into his family.
But Dream Woods had been closed for nearly twenty years and the idea of going to the park wasn’t exactly an easy sell. Vince’s wife Audra certainly had her doubts…
Her mind flipped through a mental Rolodex until she came up with a few news headlines. Several bodies found in abandoned amusement park. Strange symbols uncovered at defunct theme park. Boy falls to his death from New England’s fairy tale castle…Local hermit claims entrance to hell is beneath Dream Woods.
What happens after the Carter family checks in is worse than you can possibly imagine. Dream Woods starts strong and just keeps getting better as the author masterfully builds the suspense right up until the exhilarating conclusion. A visual tale made for the big screen, chilling in its execution.
I actually wish the book was longer as I would have liked to have seen some of the story fleshed out even more.