Epeolatry Book Review: The Trees Grew Because I Bled There by Eric LaRocca


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Title: The Trees Grew Because I Bled There
Author: Eric LaRocca
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: 7th March, 2023

Synopsis: Eight stories of literary dark fiction from a master storyteller. Exploring the shadow side of love, these are tales of grief, obsession, control. Intricate examinations of trauma and tragedy in raw, poetic prose. In these narratives, a woman imagines horrific scenarios whilst caring for her infant niece; on-line posts chronicle a cancer diagnosis; a couple in the park with their small child encounter a stranger with horrific consequences; a toxic relationship reaches a terrifying resolution…

Originally published under the title The Strange Thing We Become and Other Dark Tales, this is a much-praised collection of deeply unsettling, painfully dark tales.

In “The Trees Grew Because I Bled There”, Eric LaRocca crafts an author collection that doesn’t just tiptoe but leaps into the abyss of horror. Like a maestro of the macabre, LaRocca weaves eight stories that are as much an exploration of the human psyche as they are narratives of terror. Every story is a powerful exploration of the themes of loss, fear, and the often-overlooked darkness within us. This collection is not a passive read; it demands engagement, contemplation, and potentially self-reflection. LaRocca is really giving us the worst of humanity here and the toxic situations we can find people put in, almost never by their own choice.

LaRocca’s storytelling is a bold experiment in the horror genre. His tales don’t just scare; they unsettle, they provoke. It’s a neccesary quality for a horror author that LaRocca has in spaded. Each story in the collection escalates in its audacity, leading readers through a labyrinth of emotion and thought. The narrative is sophisticated, yet visceral, pushing boundaries while maintaining an eerie elegance. Depending on what bothers you, I can guarantee that at least one of these tales will make you squirm in your seat, depending on whether it is gaslighting, a toxic relationship, or horrible family life.

What truly sets this collection apart is its relentless journey into examining the worst aspects of emotional depth. LaRocca doesn’t just aim to horrify; he seeks to resonate, to leave an imprint on the reader’s conscience. This is where the collection truly shines – it creates an experience that lingers, that challenges, that changes the reader in some subtle way. “The Trees Grew Because I Bled There” is a testament to the power of storytelling, demonstrating that even in the darkest of themes, there is an opportunity to enlighten and transform. LaRocca has a unique talent at really putting you in the mind of the characters that you’ll be reading. You’ll see some of the worst of humanity in these pages and many of these tales can be perfectly described as literary horror.


Available from Amazon and Bookshop.

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