At this point in my reading career, I don't believe I've read better building and rendering of fear than The Willows
by Blackwood. The writing--word choice, dialogue--everything around those moments of terror were so evocative, I felt them, all while lying safely beneath a roof, on the sofa. The plot is simple--two men rowing a boat along the Danube River. They camp in an area overgrown with Willows. From that point, the mix of terror in the imagination, and subtle hints in the environment, is simply, excellent. The dialogue too, takes a sinister turn, along with the rushing of wind and gurgle of water. Amazingly well done, this fear, without gore or slashers or zombies. The Willows
was a personal favorite of Lovecraft, so I was curious, and now I understand why. I intend to revisit the story and dissect how he did it, but for this first read, I was enthralled.