(Book Review) THEY RISE by Hunter “Action Jackson” Shea

they rise

Hunter Shea knows how to write a great, crazy horror/thriller. He should be writing movies for the Syfy channel! I love reading his novels though, so I hope he keeps doing this, too.

What Hunter knows even better than plotting out a seat of your pants adventure…is how to craft great characters to make you want to go on those mad journeys. In They Rise, we get a number of fully developed significant players and some well-written extras. We get Whit, the ichthyologist, and his sidekick, Nestor. We get Whit’s ex-wife, Suzanne the climatologist (their being forced to work together again is great), and her team, which includes my favorite extra (Shirley with her Mohawk and Doc Martens). He pulls us in with these very real characters right from the get-go and makes us invest in this “Ghost Shark” of the sea.

When a ship is attacked by this huge “fish” crew members die, but not before they kill the odd beast and bring it to shore. Whit is called upon to check it out since he is a”Ghost Shark” specialist. He decides to hire out Travis and John (father and son fishermen). The group, including Whit’s new buddy, Nestor, head out in search of more of these out of place monsters. Suzanne and her gang are checking on some serious methane releases in the the same vicinity when they too run into a mass of chimaera-like fish.
Once the bloody action kicks in, we get some ode to Jaws type stuff (naturally) and some fun Indiana Jones references. Once these beasts bubble up from the depths chaos conquers the open seas.

If I had any issue with this piece it was this- like Shea’s novel, The Montauk Monster (there’s even a reference to Plum Island), it takes a turn for full-on action movie in the final four or five chapters. Too many crazy booms and blasts and too much military presence for me to deal with. I’d prefer to have had the beasts vs survivors more isolated, but then, maybe Shea didn’t want to make it just a Jaws copy. I can totally respect that.

There are some underlying themes here with Shea brushing on global warming, but I don’t believe it is meant as the main moral play of the novel. They Rise is a pure thrill ride with a fun cast put through hell as the unbelievable is made believable.

In the end, I give They Rise 4 Stars!


hunter-shea-photoThey Rise tour graphic

They Rise, Info

  • Print Length:162 pages
  • Publisher:Severed Press (January 4, 2016)
  • Publication Date:January 4, 2016


Some call them ghost sharks, the oldest and strangest looking creatures in the sea. Marine biologist Brad Whitley has studied chimaera fish all his life. He thought he knew everything about them. He was wrong.

Warming ocean temperatures free legions of prehistoric chimaera fish from their methane ice suspended animation. Now, in a corner of the Bermuda Triangle, the ocean waters run red.

The 400 million year old massive killing machines know no mercy, destroying everything in their path. It will take Whitley, his climatologist ex-wife and the entire US Navy to stop them in the bloodiest battle ever seen on the high seas.

Biography, Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weaned on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself.

Publishers Weekly named The Montauk Monster one of the best reads of the summer in 2014, and his follow up novel, Hell Hole, was named best horror novel of the year on several prestigious horror sites. Cemetery Dance had this to say about his apocalyptic thriller, Tortures of the Damned – “A terrifying read that left me wanting more. I absolutely devoured this book!”

Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. Copies of his books, The Montauk Monster and The Dover Demon, are currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME.

He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years.

Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light-hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, crytid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane.

Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hot dogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

You can follow his travails at www.huntershea.com, sign-up for his newsletter, or follow in on Facebook and Twitter.

Praise for Hunter Shea

This wholly enthralling hulk of a summer beach read is redolent of sunscreen and nostalgia, recalling mass market horror tales of yore by John Saul, Dean Koontz, and Peter Benchley.” — Publishers Weekly — Voted one of the best reads of summer, on The Montauk Monster

“Bloody good read!  This guy knows his monsters!”- Eric S Brown, author of Bigfoot War and Boggy Creek: The Legend is True, on Swamp Monster Massacre

“Hunter Shea is a great writer, highly entertaining, and definitely in the upper echelon in the current horror scene. Many other writers mention either loving his work and/or having the man influence their own, and for just cause. His writing suits anyone with a taste for the dark and terrifying!” –Zakk at The Eyes of Madness/The Mouth of Madness Podcast

Purchase They Rise



Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card for joining this tour! Get extra entries for social media follows, but get extra extra entries for signing up for his newsletter and five extra entries if you review They Rise and send the link to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com!


Good luck!

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