reviews

Last Road to the Backwoods by Matt Soffe and Michelle Soffe - Book Review

Write on: Tue, 13 Apr 2021 by  in Max's Reviews Read 1258

As noted in past reviews, I love finding and supporting novels on Kickstarter by indie authors, and I especially love when the novels turn out to be good. Not only is Last Road to the Backwoods by Matt Soffe and Michelle Soffe good, but three and a half months into 2021, it’s currently one of the best books I’ve read this year – in a genre that I’m familiar with, but don’t often dabble in: noir/horror. 

Rocked by the news of the heinous murder of a young girl – whose body is found in the woods – some of the residents of the small town of Archangel, Pennsylvania begin to look for answers. As the mystery and investigation into who the girl was and how she died continues, doors to the past are opened for local historian Ben Lucas, bookstore owner Beth Schroeder and her sister Eliza, and FBI agent John Elyard – leading them to discoveries about themselves and the town more sinister than they could have ever imagined. 

What first piqued my interest in Last Road to the Backwoods was the tagline on Kickstarter: “A horror noir novel set in 1930’s small town America. H.P. Lovecraft meets Twin Peaks.” Holy crap does that sound cool! And it is! The setting itself – 1930’s in the fictional town of Archangel – reads almost like a character itself. With its long-hidden secrets of otherworldly menaces and vicious crimes, you can feel the presence of the town wherever the authors take you – particularly when those ventures are out in the woods. Every page reads in an eerie, creepy way, eventually resulting in a terrifying event or scene. This is a well-written book, broken up into three parts, with a plot that remains engaging through its mysteries and revelations. 

As far as the characters go, all of the protagonists and antagonists have distinct personal idiosyncrasies and backstories that are so fully realized that it's easy to feel like you know each of them personally after only having read a few chapters. And then the story unfolds, revealing secrets about the characters and the dark history of Archangel, bringing about inevitable change for all players on the board. 

Visceral and haunting, Last Road to the Backwoods is a tale of Lovecraftian, small-town horror at its finest. If Soffe and Soffe plan to write another story set in this strange and brutal world, they can count me in on the madness. 

Thank you to Michelle Soffe and Matt Soffe for the ARC of Last Road to the Backwoods. The Kickstarter for Last Road to the Backwoods ends on April 16. 

Max

Max’s passion for fantastic stories began with weekly trips to the comic book store as a child. Now an English teacher at a boarding school, he is always reading. Max has written for sites like Geeks of Doom and SF Signal, where he created the Indie Author Spotlight. Max lives in Connecticut with his wife – who graciously embraces his need to display action figures all over the house – and daughter, who is inheriting her parents’ affinity for books.