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Listen to the great review of 'Forest Secrets' by 9 year old Hannah, which went to air on the Meander Valley Community Radio.


Robyn Friend Author of “The Butterfly Catcher”

‘In his novel for young people, Forest Spirit, David Laing has created some truly delightful characters.  The odyssey of the part-Aboriginal girl, Jars, from the dramatic death of her parents in the Australian outback, through dream displacement and mourning, to the conclusion in the forests of Tasmania, is helped along its way by bright eyed Snook and ponderous Quenton, by bad crooks and not so bad crooks, by an ancestral spirit and by some very knowing animals of the forest itself.  This story works on several levels; the resolution for Jars, finally, when it comes, is mystic and gentle.  I have now read this manuscript a number of times and have always been charmed by it.’ 

Cameron Hindrum Author, Secondary English Teacher

‘Forest Spirit is an engaging and intriguing tale, weaving together the elements of a ripping yarn and cultural connection. David Laing writes with a well established sense of his audience and this novel is a worthy addition to the annals of young adult adventure literature.  He evokes both landscape and cultural identity very effectively and for these reasons alone the novel is well worth reading.’

 Miranda Grace Drama Teacher, Writer

‘From the heart of the outback, to the remote wilderness of Tasmania, Forest Spirit is a journey of mysterious painted rocks, unexpected evil and a special secret. I invite you to join this exhilarating adventure.’


In Forest Shadows we again meet Jars Kelly and her cousin Snook, as well as a host of other characters that appeared in David's first book. Once again David skilfully blends his knowledge of aboriginal culture with an adventure that readers won't forget. In this book there's an element of science fiction introduced together with eastern philosophy. It's a great read that had me glued until I'd finished it, in fact I read it in one sitting. And I can reveal - without giving too much away - that the ending is not what you'd expect.

By Linda Parkinson-Hardman  (Dorset, UK)


Margaret Muir   Author

I just finished reading your latest book, David and really enjoyed it.

In this easy-to-read young adult novel with some paranormal elements, Jars and Snook unravel the mystery surrounding a sackful of rocks and an ancient Chinaman. 

Forest Shadows is the second book in a series about a group of school kids whose inquisitive and adventurous spirits get them into all kinds of fixes. A real page-turner.  Recommended.

Looking forward to reading number 3.

Forest Shadows’ by David Laing, a children’s adventure story. 

‘Forest Shadows’ picks up the story twelve months after the conclusion of ‘Forest Spirit’.  In the first book Jars, a thirteen year old girl of Aboriginal/Scottish heritage, after losing her parents in a fatal car accident near her home in Australia’s Northern Territory, moves to Tasmania to live with relatives she’s never met, from her Scottish lineage.  Together with her cousin, Snook, his friend, Quenton, and Shadow, a very smart German Shepard, they embarked on an exciting, if somewhat hazardous, adventure. 

At the beginning of book two, ‘Forest Shadows’ (one year on) we find Jars and Snook accused of a crime of which they are, of course, innocent.  To prove their innocence, with the help of Shadow, who is now Jars’ dog, and a reluctant Quenton, they embark on another exciting adventure.  A continuity of characters from book one, with the mystical theme also enduring, and with a hint of another kind of celestial visitor, will please readers of ‘Forest Spirit’.  ‘Forest Shadows’ however, like ‘Forest Spirit’, will also stand on its own as a children’s adventure that I’m sure will stand the test of time.

 Once more David Laing’s agile imagination, as he adds to an established cast of characters, together with his ability to convey an authentic feel to settings and possessing a moral voice that is tuned to a young audience, paints a very colourful children’s thriller/adventure, which I highly recommend.

 Review by T.D.McKinnon, a Goodreads author/reviewer and the author of:

·  ‘Surviving the Battleground of Childhood’

·        ‘I Was A Teenage Devil - But I’m Alright Now!’

·        ‘John Farrell Is Utrinque Paratus’

·        ‘Heather Skye Wilson Is The Psychic Warrior’

·        ‘Terra Nullius’

·        Contributing author to ‘A Tumble In Time’, a children’s story book.




This is the third volume in David Laing's Forest trilogy and again we keep company with Jars and her cousin Snook. In my opinion this novel is darker than the previous three and finds some characters having to come to terms with things they'd rather not. The story itself weaves around a recurring dream which hints at the distant and the recent past. By trusting their instincts and trusting each other, Jars and Snook once again save the day for history and an unsolved crime. David is a master storyteller and this book would definitely be one I'd recommend for all parents who hope to encourage their child to read more. It can be read alone or as part of the trilogy - the latter informs the story but as a standalone story it certainly doesn't detract.

By Linda Parkinson-Hardman  (Dorset, UK) 


A captivating prologue seems to be one of this author’s trademark devises, and Forest Secrets is no exception.  Laing has a deft ability to insert just what his young readers will find interesting, as well as delivering a lesson (be that a moral lesson or a history lesson) and so using it as a hook, and to inform. 

   Jars, a girl of Aboriginal/Scottish decent, now fifteen years of age, delivers in first person narrative the exciting, spooky, adventures she shares with her cousin, Snook, her faithful German Shepard, Shadow, and their sometime friend sometime nemesis, Quenton; with the addition of Snook’s girlfriend, Gloria (or is she Quenton’s girlfriend?). 

  Like the other books in the ‘Forest’ trilogy, ‘Forest Secrets’ stands on its own, but is a perfect companion and a, definitely not to be missed, excellent third book in the trilogy. 

  David Laing’s first novel, ‘Forest Spirits’, hinted at his talent as a children’s author, his second book, ‘Forest Shadows’, cemented that initial suggestion.  In this third book, as the characters mature, Laing displays a maturing in his writing, which perhaps announces that he may be ready to stretch his talent, and his active imagination.  When I reviewed his first book I said, “I see signs of some wonderful things to come.”  There is much more to come from this author.  ‘Forest Secrets’ is another lovely children’s adventure that I highly recommend

Review by T.D.McKinnon, Goodreads author/reviewer, Indies Unlimited staff member.






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12.08 | 00:55

I look forward to reading your third book - well done.

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