These Silent Woods Will Leave You With Chills


Courtesy of Kimi Cunningham

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham, St. Martins Publishing Group, Paperback, 275

Joshua Bailey, Staff Writer

Upstart author Kimi Cunningham Grant delivers a riveting, atmospheric, emotional journey in her newest book, These Silent Woods. The book is available online at Amazon and Audible, as well as in stores at Walmart and Target. These Silent Woods is Grant’s third published book, following the works of Silver Like Dust and Fallen Mountains

These Silent Woods follows the life of Cooper, the narrator of the story. Cooper is a struggling army veteran who deals with grief and PTSD all while raising his eight-year-old daughter, Finch, in a remote off-grid home in the Appalachian Mountains. The only other people who know of Cooper’s isolated living quarters are a best friend and former army vet Jake, and a nosy neighbor named Scotland. Cooper prefers the isolated lifestyle, as he has much to hide from. However, when his only source of contact from the grid–his friend Jake–fails to bring supplies and provisions to Cooper and Finch for the upcoming winter, Cooper is forced to reckon with his mistakes and ugly past. This sets off a chain of events in Cooper’s desperate efforts to save Finch, in which secrets are revealed, plot twists are unfolded and Cooper’s true love for his daughter is uncovered.

The style of These Silent Woods is intriguing, as the main mystery unfolds throughout the book little by little. In my opinion this is especially impressive as the book is narrated in first person. That means Cunningham pieces together the mystery through other characters and clever plot holes, rather than exposing the mystery in Cooper’s thought process. That also creates an interesting dynamic in which the audience feels sympathy for Cooper but gradually loses trust as the mystery becomes more clear. Cunningham’s writing style is engaging and makes the reader want to dig into the mystery further by adding suspense and secrets. The way the book reveals backstory is thought-provoking. 

However, despite the clever plot tactics and character development in These Silent Woods, there are shortcomings. For one, the setting isn’t used to the fullest extent. With a dynamic setting in the mountains at an off grid cabin, there are rhetorical strategies in which the author could use geographical locations to support tone and literary devices in the story. Instead, the setting has unused potential. In addition, the book’s theme is unclear and inconsistent throughout. In fact, it almost seems as if the author was undecided as to where to take the tone of the book, and played it by ear instead of methodically planning out the theme.

Overall, however, These Silent Woods is an entertaining mystery and character-driven story. It’s easy to read, especially because of the character development that hooks the audience and the plot that thickens as the book draws to a close. It’s a 7/10 book and Cunningham is an author to look out for in the future.