The Havoc Tree by Layden Robinson

34374568Words, thoughts and manic rantings under the influence of strong drink and fine smoky treats.

Yes, you just witnessed a baby-blurb! That opening statement, however, sure does explain this collection of 11 short stories.

The Havoc Tree is not officially published… yet… so you won’t find it on Amazon. You are welcome to approach Layden Robinson on Twitter or take a look at his Goodreads author page where you can find his other published titles.

In the past, I have read and reviewed the following by Layden Robinson:

Robinson has this certain type of madness in his writing that is the right level of creepy, cool, wow and yuk. All at the same time. How could I not enjoy something that is so totally different? Sure, many would not agree with me. So, The Havoc Tree for example- some of these stories have stuff in there that could easily irritate a reader of certain beliefs. Not me. In this world that takes offense at everything, I take this collection of short stories for what it is: a work of fiction. The Havoc Tree is an example of WUI (writing under influence) that gives the reader a chance to experience the madness without the hangover the next morning.

I am going to be honest here, for the straight-walking literature experts, it appears as if the stories are in need of some editing. The scenes and happenings jump from moment to moment and the use of caps in places could drive a reader to bite their nails… BUT… as I’ve read a few of Robinson’s collections, it seems to be his signature… and if you’re willing to take the overall feeling of each story, the overall feeling of the collection: be prepared to be mindblown six ways to sunday! Personally, there was 2-3 stories that, even though with some brilliant one-liners peppered within them, went right over my head and I hadn’t the slightest inkling as to what the hell was happening. Maybe I am not ‘corrupted’ enough to understand, to feel the relevance. But even in those tales that I am still looking the deeper meaning from, the atmosphere of horror and creepiness was present. That gritty, uncomfortable delivery.

Yes, the tales are, in parts, overly wordy with their descriptions but no matter how slurred, Robinson delivers something dark and twisted with the occasional gem of a quote to be taken away. Bordering in between real and unreal, Robinson has a theme with monsters, mannequins and pure carnal desire. The Havoc Tree is full of theatric shenanigans- blood, guts, gore and the human’s most burning desires.

Erotic? At times… But Tatter Jack (another author) posed a very good question that will never leave my mind: ‘What is erotica? One guy’s Mary is another guy’s Jane’… so.. where do you draw the line in between what is erotic and what is taboo? What is normal and what isn’t? It’s all individual… and personal, so don’t tell me.

Anyway, Robinson doesn’t really write hot steamy erotica. I don’t know, Marys and Janes, right?… But if you look closely enough, you can see there’s some underlying meaning to the seediness. There’s an issue, a condition- the inspiration behind it all, and it’s executed as the most lucid dream. Dream? Nightmare? You decide…  One way or another, I would not recommend for the faint of heart nor for those who look for pure and innocent. Robinson delivers down and dirty!

Here’s the list of stories:

  • A Final Moment
  • I’m Coming; (Continued)
  • The “Place”: [Liz: this one made me laugh out loud. Brilliant!]
  • The Suit: [Liz: the most ‘sexually powered of the stories’. A bit too much for me, but… I’m sure there’s some kind of a point in there… anyway… ]
  • The Story of Willis
  • The End
  • Mr. Sacorp
  • A Moment with an Unmarried Man [Liz: one page story- impactful and brilliant. Bravo!]
  • An Assassination of a Caring Man
  • Fate


  1. The author asked me to review some of his previous collections. I tried, really hard, but nothing made sense and I simply told him that, unfortunately, I would be unable to review it fairly due to having no clue what was happening. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said us straight-walking literature buffs would struggle to get on with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha… yeah… for some reason, this is just my kind of crazy… admittedly, this time there was a story or two that broke my brain, but I have had great enjoyemtn out of the craziness of Robinson’s writings… 🙂 Thanks… I can defo see how it wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste… but such could be the case with any book… And you were very fair to the author, so nicely done 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s the awesome thing about books. How one can be loved by one and completely misunderstood by another. Being an author myself, I could never give 1 star purely because I did not understand a book. It’s just cruel. You need to get a feel for something to review it properly 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Now you have piqued my absolute interest as I have to wonder if this might be my kind of weird. Sometimes I do love a very odd cup o’ tea and tend to favor what doesn’t always sit with others. Your review is fascinating as you approach what seems to be an eccentric and sometimes just plain crazy read! Way to go 😉 I thoroughly enjoyed reading this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay… for some reason… I’m going to go on a long rave here now… I used to have this friend. And we spent hours and hours and hours together talking crap… imagining things about the people and the world… we talked of things like strawberry jam fields and acorns and us actually being hallucinating dinosaurs after we ate some weird plant and were now imagining to be humans in this crazy Matrix… and this was all without any external aid, ahem, no drugs 🙂 so… this kind of craziness has always appealed to me- the mindbending shit for the craic… anyway, the very first collection I read from Robinson was like a trip down memory lane for me… no matter how disgusting or horrory or raw the tale was, I admired something *else*… I admired Robinson’s brain (no matter if it was WUI 😀 ) or whatever… but it was just this visual I had of someone’s brain working in odd ways to create tales that on the outside deliver horror and otherworldly and taboo, but on the inside actually have a deeper meaning of man’s battle with himself, outside forces, human condition… so… it depends on how you look at things right? 🙂 eh… sorry for the long comment… as you can see, no matter how many editing issues or unconventional delivery methods the collections may have, I have decided to look at the bigger picture…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have to admit that I am rather fond of this comment. It touches on my odd inner workings some. My mind delves into places I could probably never openly discuss without terrifying people haha. The thing is, I think some of it all is normal, but no one talks about it haha 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 Honesty for the win! I know… but like Aaron pointed out with his comments as well- it’s the beauty of books and readers- what works for one, doesn’t work for another.
      Honestly, I think the subject matter would interest you (funnily enough, through the crazy execution, there is something deeper there) but the delivery of the subject matter is probably not your cup of tea, indeed. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sound interesting to me but I generally try to stay away from short stories , not to mention it does seem to be a difficult read , so cool review but I guess I won’t be reading this

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, different, huh? I have a friend who writes crazy Flash Fiction, but the stuff he scribbles off under the influence, while most times weirdly entertaining, he posts on Facebook for his friends, and on a Flash Fiction site that is like Wattpad (and the name is slipping my mind right now) for his fans for free. Sometimes I think authors need to be honest with themselves about what they should charge people money for. Ha ha.

    As far as the fine line between Erotica and just plain taboo, I will never have to struggle with that delineation because I can hardly bring myself to read romance “sexy times” let alone Erotica, ha ha. I have seen and experienced too much for any if it to be even remotely interesting. Maybe I should just write some. Heh. Thanks for review, it was an interesting read. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with what you’re saying re what author’s should charge for and what not… but such is the nature of publishing nowadays isn’t it? Self publishing, while has delivered some seriously brilliant gems on my bookshelf, has also delivered some subpar creations that I have paid for.

      Ha, yes, I think you should write some romancy stuff… what a selling point would that be, imagine… don’t read romance for x-y-z reason, but writes a bestseller! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Aw, baby blurb!!
    I guess I’m too pure and innocent for this one but I like the “creepy, cool, wow and yuk” mix! Different still means wrong for too many people and this is bothering. Different can be good, different is just different. Now I just said I was not gonna read it but it is not for this reason! My heart just wouldn’t take it, haha! And poor editing is bad for my blood pressure xD
    As for erotica… Ask Jill, I’m so prude her novels make me chuckle and blush like a teen xD But the line between erotica and taboo is blurred and enveloped in smoke so it’s a tricky subject.
    Fab review, as always ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can totally see how this one would totally knock you for six as even though it’s not romantic, it is quite… revealing in parts… and I think Jill’s novels will give you a decent enough dose for blushing so no need to venture into the dark side 🙂
      Thank you, milady! 🙂


  6. Writing under the influence. Wow, that sounds really interesting. I’m surprised there was any level of coherence for some of these stories! Pretty cool that the author managed to write up some very interesting ones though. But the whole comment about caps and need of editing did make me turn my head slightly to the right! Glad you still enjoyed this though, sounds like a lot of fun! 😀

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, it does sound interesting… Nearly sorry I don’t get hammered anymore, otherwise I’d try it out, writing under influence… hahaha… oh well…
      So, you’re one of those literary buffs?! 🙂 That’s cool… I am kind of undecided.. sometimes the errors and poor editing drive me nuts, other times I don’t really care.. I’m just flaky like that! It’s odd, though…
      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love how your reviews just capture me. When discussing Marys and Janes, you certainly made me stop and consider my own life. Look at that, a philosophical musing came out of this blog post! ❤
    I love short story collections, and I love weird. That said, I don't really do graphic violence/gore. Do you think that this, or any of Robinson's other works, are graphic enough I should avoid them? I'm definitely intrigued by his writing style as you describe it. But I don't want to walk into a surprise and not be able to finish it!

    Liked by 1 person

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