Tag Archives: Dave Williams

Spring Surprises: A Review of The Red Tree

Book cover for The Red Tree by Dave Williams. Image on cover shows a photo of a leafless deciduous tree whose branches are oddly red. This looks like a photo taken with one of those cameras that plays around with which sorts of lights on the light spectrum to reveal. That is, they take snapshots of items without using the visible light spectrum and instead show infrared or what have you. Title: The Red Tree

Author: Dave Williams

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: March 25, 2020

Genres: Speculative Fiction, Contemporary

Length: 32 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars


While rain falls for weeks, the Engler family invites friends over for an evening of dealing with cabin fever together. And when the spring sun arrives, the Englers celebrate by walking in a wooded park, where they encounter a red tree away from the trail. Guesses abound as to why the tree is red when none of the other trees are. Life returns to normal for most of the Englers. The father, Calvin, decides the red tree was a sign for him to make changes in his life and property. Changes the family and neighbors don’t quite understand. But some family members can be eccentric, and others learn to roll with it. A novelette about family, experiencing the mysterious, and letting your imagination loose.


April showers can bring so many things as the weeks march into May. The old rhyme about them barely scratches the surface.

Calvin was an interesting and memorable protagonist. As the father of two kids who sounded like they were just beginning to reach the preteen stage of life, he wanted to soak up the last moments of childhood with them while also encouraging his sons to pursue more mature interests like camping or hiking that adults also commonly enjoy. Transitions aren’t always easy for kids or parents, but this also provided a nice parallel to Calvin’s own transformation after his experience discovering the red tree in the forest he was walking through with a group of friends in one of the earliest scenes.

I had mixed feelings about how to rate this book. The writing was thoughtful and beautiful for the first ninety percent of it, but the ending was so vague that I didn’t feel justified going for the four or five-star rating I would have given it up until that point. It sadly fizzled out instead of clearly pursuing the themes that it did so well exploring in the beginning and middle. That was a disappointing experience for me as a reader, and I wish I’d known to expect it from the very first sentence so I could have tempered my expectations.

With that being said, I am still glad I gave Mr. Williams a try. This was my first taste of his work. His gentle but vivid descriptions and high expectations of his audience have whetted my appetite for more of his stories. He is a talented storyteller who is especially adept at creating a world that feels just like our own ninety-nine percent of the time only to fill me with a sense of wonder as I discover that small sliver of something unexplainable that ties everything together.

The Red Tree surprised me.

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