These are my top reads of 2020 (released in 2020). They’re sort of in order, the top three (Magpie/Survivor/Ring) being too close for me to choose. It was probably the best year in horror fiction that I can remember. There’s always a bunch of good books, but this year was super packed. If you don’t own these books, make a list and start grabbing them! And I strongly believe this year is going to be just as freaking good.
As I always do, here’s the list of other great books just outside of my Top 11:
SURVIVE WITH ME features sixteen of my favorite writer buds. Each of them gave these stories to me for this charity anthology. ALL proceeds go to the American Indian College Fund. You can order your eBook or paperback copy HERE Or discover more about this wonderful cause here: AMERICAN INDIAN COLLEGE FUND
Tonight, we welcome two more contributors and authors I consider friends. Lucas Mangum and I met at World Horror Con in Portland, Oregon back in 2014. We were just two fresh faced weirdos that felt out of place among hallways walked by such giants as Jack Ketchum, Gord Rollo, Wrath James White, and the recipient of that years Bram Stoker Awards Grandmaster of Horror Award, Brian Keene. Here we are six years later, and I’m happy to see the success Lucas has is having with his works, and to have him included in this anthology.
Hunter Shea is a man that needs no introduction… but he’s one of the people in this industry I’ve spoken with the most, so I have to say something. He’s such a cool, laid back dude, and he knows his hair metal! (Tesla, man.) Hunter has written tons of great monster books for publishers big and small. I’m grateful to have his new story included here. I’m also grateful for his friendship and his advice whenever I seek it out.
What inspired your story in SWM, “The Hand of Violence”?
I always wanted to write a proper slasher, and I thought SWM’s theme was perfect for that. As far as the narrative itself, I think my best short stories tend to be as fast-paced as possible. We all know the slasher genre and its tropes, so I set it during the final showdown and used brief glimpses of backstory to show what made my story different.
What causes do wish would get more attention?
I don’t have a specific charity in mind, but anything that addresses mental health is going to have my support provided it’s run by honest people. I’ve stayed in a psych ward, and I’ve been on more meds than I can remember. And I know there are people out there with struggles even more frightening than mine. We need the resources to find help when we look for it, so I’m all for anything that helps in that department.
Who are some of the authors you’ve interacted with that have helped you out the most?
I’ve had a lot of writers help me over the last ten years. Most recently, I’ve gotten a lot of support from Max Booth III, Autumn Christian, Ryan Harding, Shane McKenzie, Wesley Southard, and Wile E. Young.
How do you work your writing around family and your day job?
I’m very fortunate right now, because I work part time. I do a lot of my writing in the morning before my kid gets up and some more before I go to bed. Throughout the day, I just get it in where I can.
Give me three things that made you laugh this week.
Three things? Let’s see… first, a line I wrote in my collaboration with Wesley Southard that I won’t spoil here. Second, the many twists and turns of the Fritz Lang movie, Scarlet Street. Last, pretty much anything that comes out of my four-year-old’s mouth is comedy gold. When he counts to twenty, he almost always skips thirteen. Not sure what that’s about, but it makes me wonder if triskaidekaphobia can be innate.
What inspired your story in SWM, “Into the Night”?
I love all things alien and abductions. I’ve written several other abduction stories in the past but they’ve never seen the light of day. This was an opportunity to explore the true horror of the alien abduction experience, but with a little tongue in the ol cheek. Not to mention, I know we share this particular interest, so it only seemed right.
What cause do you wish would get some more attention?
My wife and one daughter both suffer from a rare auto immune disease called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Depending on the type of you have, it can be either mildly irritating to life threatening. It has some similarities to lupus, and some people, like my wife, have both. I remember coming across doctors who had never heard of it, but that’s starting to change. More research needs to go into treating and possibly curing this disease. Unfortunately, I don’t think enough people have it (thank God) for it to warrant the time and money that will take.
When are we gonna get a Bigfoot v. Mothman book from you?
First, I have to write a Mothman book. I have about five story ideas for a Mothman story. One of these days, I’ll settle on one.
I loved your novella, The Waiting. Are there any novellas in the works?
Thanks Glenn. I’m actually looking to get that back out soon. I’m currently working on a new bigfoot book for Severed Press that should be out in 2021. It’s going to be a ton of fun.
Give me three movies that people might be surprised to find out you love.
OK, I guess it would be She’s the One, Bring it On and True Love (not to be confused with True Romance).
I set out to become a writer the same year Samhain Publishing launched. When I saw the Leisure Horror Books head acquisition man, Don D’Auria, was at the head of this new horror line, I knew good things were on the horizon. And I was right. Don, introduced us to Kristopher Rufty, Hunter Shea, Russell James, and a guy named, Jonathan Janz.
The books from Janz came one after another–The Sorrows, The Darkest Lullaby, The House of Skin, Savage Species, Castle of Sorrows, Dust Devils, The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, and Exorcist Road before we all got the news that Samhain was a sinking ship.
Janz put out the excellent and much acclaimed, Children of the Dark, and also the much anticipated, Exorcist Falls with Sinister Grin Press before Don D’Auria landed with Flame Tree Press and called one of his favorite sons home.
Following Janz’s recent release with Flame Tree Press, THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER from this past September, we prepare for his next new release, THE DARK GAME (Catch my brief review of this awesome book after the interview).
I called on Janz to join us here at Share the Horror and he obliged.
Share the Horror: Let’s go back a few years. You were one of the first Samhain authors and had built quite a catalog in a relative short amount of time. When the news that Samhain had a) fired Don D’Auria and then shortly afterwards 2) folding up shop, what were your thoughts and emotions at hearing those two things?
Jonathan Janz: The news about Don was really a shock. He’s a great editor and a great person, so mainly I just felt really bad for him. After that, the news of the publisher going under wasn’t too shocking. I figured if they were letting Don go, they were probably hurting for money, so while it was sad for the employees—many of whom remain my friends—that second piece of news wasn’t as surprising.
As far as emotions go, in addition to feeling terrible for those more directly impacted, I did experience a lot of uncertainty about the future. Everything has worked out really well, but at the time it was a giant unknown.
STH: What did you do in the space between Samhain and then the start up of Flame Tree Press?
JJ: This sounds simplistic, but I just wrote. Even though I didn’t know where the books I was working on would end up, I knew I needed to keep writing. Fretting about events out of my control wasn’t going to be productive, so I threw myself into my work. So in the years between Samhain and Flame Tree, I wrote THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, NIGHTMARE WORLD, THE DARK GAME, THE DISMEMBERED, and I began CHILDREN OF THE DARK 2.
STH: Let’s talk Children of the Dark for a second. This was a very well received book. It’s a part of your Savage Species (one of my personal favorites) world. I know your King influence bleeds through with this one, especially with Will Burgess. Whereas with Savage Species there was gore galore like a dark Ketchum novel or something from Richard Laymon, with COTD I get a lot of that THE BODY vibe. More about the characters and the heart of this kid rather than the all-out blitz style of its predecessor. Would you say that’s an accurate take? If so, was that intentional or did it just come out that way? JJ: I’d say that’s very accurate. With SAVAGE SPECIES, I wanted a no-holds-barred, bloody, grueling epic. With CHILDREN OF THE DARK, the story was largely, as you allude to with your reference to THE BODY, about the pain of growing up and the difficulties this kid was experiencing. So like you said, even though the stories are in the same universe, they’re very different animals. I realized this when writing the sequel to COTD. My initial idea was to combine the worlds of SAVAGE SPECIES and CHILDREN OF THE DARK, but that changed as I wrote the sequel. So while there are some intersections, the story really remained a COTD story and true to the tone of the first book. STH: So, Don and Flame Tree Press happens. Did he come to you, or were you guys in constant contact and it sort of just happened? JJ: We kept in contact. Not constantly, but I’d say every couple of months we’d email, and a few times we spoke by phone. The one thing we knew was that, wherever we landed, we wanted to work on more projects together. I got the news about Flame Tree when my family and I were in Virginia for Scares That Care in 2017. We were walking from a beach on the James River to our van when I checked my email and found out about Don’s new gig. I think I emailed him within a half hour or so, and we started talking about THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER. Since that story was set in Virginia, and I’d just wrapped it up, it was fresh in my mind and a natural first project to do with Don and Flame Tree.
STH: THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, like COTD, feels like another step forward in your writing. As someone that has read almost all your published works, I feel like your growing more and more comfortable with each release, and with that becoming even more fearless as a writer. Does it feel that way to you? JJ: Thank you so much, Glenn! I truly appreciate that. Yes, it does feel like I’m progressing, but it’s an incredibly subtle and gradual progress. I’m fond of all my books, but I really noticed it a couple months ago when reading through HOUSE OF SKIN, which is the first novel I wrote (and the second one published). I really like the story, but I’m a very different writer now than I was then. It feels good, but I know I’m nowhere near a finished product and will never be finished in my writerly walk. I have to constantly strive to improve, to grow, and to learn. I’m too self-critical to ever be satisfied. STH: SIREN is landing on a lot of Top 10 lists right now, I know that’s gratifying. Do you let that good feeling linger and use it going forward, or are you more the type that is focused on that next release and coming at it with the need to prove yourself again?
JJ: Like you say, it is gratifying, and it feels wonderful to have one’s work acknowledged, but I don’t bask in that glow for too long. That need to create is too strong. And I also always want to make my next book better than my last. Hopefully, I did that with THE DARK GAME, and I hope to do it again with the titles coming in late 2019 and 2020. STH: THE DARK GAME comes out in April. I’m reading an ARC now, and I believe this is my favorite book of yours so far. How much fun did you have crafting the antagonist in this one? Without giving anything away, what were your favorite aspects of Roderick Wells to create and play around with? JJ: That’s so great to hear! I worked very hard on THE DARK GAME, so it’s awesome to hear you’re enjoying it. I had a lot of fun with it. The Roderick Wells character was at the center of the story, so I needed him to be all sorts of things: strong, elusive…incisive yet cryptic. He had to represent both writers and critics, both nurturing teachers and cruel taskmasters. Plus (and here, like you said, I’m trying not to give anything away), there are elements of his character that aren’t revealed until later. That means I have to play fair with the reader by hinting at those unexpressed character elements without completely revealing the character’s secrets. Walking that tightrope was a challenge, but it was a rewarding one. I think the aspect of Wells’s character I enjoyed the most was his love of power and how he reacted when that supremacy was threatened. There are some exchanges between him and a character named Sherilyn that were a blast to write. STH: There’s a lot of writers in here. I’m imagining that there are aspects of your own strengths and self-perceived weaknesses in each of these characters. At this stage in your career, with regards to your writing skills, what do you see as your best assets and what areas are your constantly targeting to improve upon? JJ: Wow, that’s extremely insightful! Yes, you do get some of that in the novel. Rick Forrester, for example, is a lot like me before I got anything published. He’s been rejected, told he’s not good enough, and basically dismissed. Like Rick, I once received a very chilly reaction from the head of a collegiate writing program, so that experience made its way directly into the novel.
Regarding the second part of your question, this doesn’t sound sexy, but I think my best assets as a writer are my support network, my willingness to learn, and my work ethic. My wife and kids always provide me with a bedrock, so I know that when a story isn’t going well or I face some other kind of adversity, what really matters—my family—will remain intact. I’ve been teaching for twenty-three years and teaching Creative Writing for seventeen of those, and I believe these experiences help me to remain grounded and focused on growing. Just as I’m helping my students evolve, I’m evolving too. I also never quit. Because that option is never on the table, I concentrate on ways to solve problems rather than allowing them to defeat me.
With regard to areas of improvement, I want to keep getting better at blazing new trails. Horror is a vast realm, and there are many untouched or rarely-trod areas in the genre. Therefore, I want to constantly aim to examine those and maximize their potential.
STH: One last thing, before we go. Looking back on THE CLEARING OF TRAVIS COBLE, which has remained one of my very favorite stories you wrote, what are your thoughts and memories on that story and its release? JJ: I’m so glad you liked that one! That story was a major moment of growth for me because it forced me to use dialogue to carry a story. Yes, there’s description; yes, there are the other essentials of storytelling. But it’s the dialogue that reveals character, that unveils plot twists, that adds mystery and depth. I had to develop my dialogue-writing skills in “The Clearing of Travis Coble,” and looking back, I view that exercise as a moment of profound growth for me. Thanks again for mentioning it!
STH:I love it and THE DARK GAME, so I will keep praising them from the mountains! Thanks for taking the time, good sir.
JJ: Thank you, Glenn. I had a blast!
Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Keene, and Jack Ketchum; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal.
His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children.
You can sign up for his newsletter, and you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.
Quite possibly Janz’s best work yet. His skills continue to sharpen, and it really feels like he’s comfortable as hell behind that keyboard now. There’s a piece about fearlessness in this book, and I think it’s safe to say Janz is feeling just that-fearless. This was by far my favorite cast of characters in any of his books, and the story read like something straight out of the Leisure Books Horror Club heyday!
THE DARK GAME is a horror gem.
“He could only watch as a pasty arm jabbed at his face. His back arched as he screamed, the spiked forelimb spearing his eye. Warm jelly oozed down his face as the orb exploded…”
BROKEN SHELLS (High Fever Books, 2017), the latest by author, Michael Patrick Hicks (REVOLVER, MASS HYSTERIA), is a wild underground creature-feature. The story follows Antoine DeWitt, a man that is slugging his way through a paycheck-to-paycheck life. Antoine has a screaming, crying baby at home with his lady, and is tired of it all. He’s just been fired from work when he receives a Money Carlo winning ticket promising him $5, 000, he reluctantly decides to check out the to-good-to-be-true deal. The dealership has something for Mr. DeWitt, but it’s not exactly what he was expecting.
This is a fun and nasty little novella from Hicks. He shows his love for creatures-features, brings the gore and the terror, and his show-stealing creations (the Ba’is) are fantastic. Joe Dangle, the owner of the dealership, and his family have been responsible for keeping the creatures locked away, feeding them (bodies, of course), and keeping it all secret. Evil bugs with sharp claws that will poke your eyes out or rip your mouth apart, the Ba’is rule this story.
“Her lips stretched, her skin blanching under the strain, and then the corners of her mouth split, the flesh unzipping into a gruesome and jagged smile as her cheeks ripped apart.”
Personally, I disliked both DeWitt (who numerous times considers walking away from the stress of his wife and kid) and Dangle (car salesman + murderer =cretin), but LOVED the Ba’is and all the carnage they unleash throughout.
If you’re a big creature-feature fan (digging on works like Adam Cesare’s VIDEO NIGHTor Hunter Shea’s THEY RISE) you’re going to love this book.
I give BROKEN SHELLS 4 stars!
BROKEN SHELLS is available now in Print and will be released in eBook on Feb 8th. Get yours HERE
MICHAEL PATRICK HICKS is the author of a number of speculative fiction titles. His debut novel, Convergence, was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist. His most recent work is the horror novel, Mass Hysteria.
He has written for the Audiobook Reviewer and Graphic Novel Reporter websites, in addition to working as a freelance journalist and news photographer.
In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.
There are always so many great books I miss out on during their year of release (this year, Grady Hendrix’s MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM meets that criteria—such a fun book from 2016).
I did manage to squeeze in a few more in the early weeks of January that I’d been interested in. As always, you don’t have to be the most original, the best writer in town, or the scariest MFer on the planet to make my list. Just have your book come out in 2017 and entertain the heck out of me. So, here is my list of the Top 12 horror books of 2017.
12. THE SOUND OF BROKEN RIBS by EDWARD LORN Despite our differences, I still enjoyed this novel from Mr. Lorn. A bit like a lost Laymon or Ketchum novel, maybe not THE CELLAR or OFF SEASON, but a good one.
11. BLACK MAD WHEEL by JOSH MALERMAN This one started off slow, got really, really good, and then fizzled out. But that good center was really good. Different without being obnoxiously so.
10. WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING by HUNTER SHEA Shea always delivers the goods. This has some of his best characters yet.
9. EXORCIST FALLS by JONATHAN JANZ My most-anticipated read of 2017 and my favorite book cover of the year. Not what I expected–it went in a different direction than I thought–but still an awesome, action-packed thrill-ride.
8. THOSE WHO FOLLOW by MICHELLE GARZA & MELISSA LASON Just as crazy and weird and fun as their debut, The Sisters of Slaughter give us another deliciously macabre offering.
7. WHAT DO MONSTERS FEAR? By MATT HAYWARD Another favorite cover of mine, Matt Hayward’s debut novel is a cool mash-up of ...Cukoo’s Nest and The Thing….Beware PHOBOS!
6. FUNGOID by WILLIAM MEIKLE Meikle does horror/sci-fi so freaking well. The spores will spread…. (This one is currently out of print. Go find a used copy, or message the author!)
5. WE CAME BACK by PATRICK LACEY Lacey’s deeply personal novel showcases his growing talent and dares you not to become a fan.
4. AGENTS OF DREAMLAND by CAITLIN R. KIERNAN I’ve never been so enthralled, yet so confused by a book in all my life. AoD is terrific horror/sci-fi madness.
3. THE WARBLERS by AMBER FALLON I read this just after reading Joe R. Lansdale’s THE BOTTOMS. Had you taken the name off the cover, I would have thought this was another one of his books. Blew me away. Just the style and voice.
2. CAVERN OF THE DAMNED by RUSSELL JAMES I haven’t seen many people talking about this one, but if you miss Samhain Publishing or Leisure Books, you should buy this now. You will LOVE it. My favorite book from Russell James yet. And the most fun I had with horror this year.
1. BONE WHITE by RONALD MALFI Hands down my favorite read of the year. Malfi is one of THE best writers out there. Malfi casts his spell from the first page on and you will have no choice but to go up into these Alaskan hills…. Soooo good!
SYMBIOSIS by TIM CURRAN
THE BOULEVARD MONSTER by JEREMY HEPLER
FAIRY LIGHTS by EDWARD LORN
THE LUCKY ONES DIED FIRST by JACK BANTRY
You should read PAPERBACKS FROM HELL by GRADY HENDRIX (non-fiction) Excellent stuff, and it will make you seek out more books for your TBR pile.
PS: Most of my friends and followers may be surprised to find one of these authors on my list. I know. Haters gonna hate. That said, if I read a book (all the way through, mind you) and I enjoy it, I’m going to say so.
Here’s to another great year of reading!
There are always disappointments and other good books that didn’t make the cut….
The move from New York to the decrepit Pennsylvania farmhouse is as bad as West Ridley thought it would be. His father’s crippling vertigo only seems to get worse, and even with his mother working herself to the bone, they’re out of money and options.
Grandpa Abraham is a drunk bastard and the living embodiment of the long neglected farmhouse. He claims the place is haunted. Ghosts roam the hall at night and their muffled cries fill the silence of warm, summer nights.
On the ceiling above West’s bed are the words WE SEE YOU. In a house plagued by death and mysterious visitations, West realizes something beyond the fiction of his favorite horror books has to be faced.
Dark secrets are buried deep, and there are Guardians who want to keep it that way. No matter where they go or what they do, West and his family know one thing… they are always watching.
Hunter Shea is one of my current writers that I know will deliver the goods each time out.
WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING (Sinister Grin Press) offers another solid glimpse into an author who is a master of creating characters that are just as fallible as you and I.
Grandpa Abraham is a great, cranky old man. The relationship he builds with his grandson, West, is wonderful to watch (or read) unfold. Their shared scenes throughout most of the book are the heart and soul of this one.
The story is about a family and their home being stalked from the shadows by a someone, or someones, referring to themselves The Guardians. Odd messages are left outside the house, but take a turn for the freakier when the messages appear INSIDE the home. Is it ghosts? Is it neighborhood kids? Is it someone closer than we think?
The ending is action-packed.
Fair warning: There were some slow chapters in here. The story dragged a bit in spots, but nothing that kept me from enjoying the overall story. After finishing the book, there were still “good guys” that I couldn’t pull for, and “bad guys” that didn’t get a fair shake. That could just be me, or maybe Shea wants us to question this, as well.
Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. 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. Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world. He’s a bestselling author of frightful tales such as The Montauk Monster, They Rise, Island of the Forbidden, Tortures of the Damned, The Jersey Devil, and many more, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle.
Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.
You can follow Hunter and join his action packed Dark Hunter Newsletter at www.huntershea.com.
Praise for Hunter Shea
“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
“Hunter Shea has his own style. It’s simple, yet well-written, stories that flow with ease. Mr. Shea graciously walks you through the adventure and mystery, all the while, tickling the hairs on the nape of your neck and filling the pit of your guts with lead. It’s this “I’m your friend who just might make you wanna sleep with the lights on” relationship the author builds with us that keeps us comfortable, but not too comfortable, and on our toes throughout his work. I find that an extremely admirable ability.” –Glenn Rolfe, Author of Chasing Ghosts and The Haunted Halls
Hunter She’s writing is like great comfort food. I mean, he’s like a wonderful plate of mashed sweet potatoes with a perfectly buttered ear of corn, and a breast of juicy barbecued chicken. Keeping with his previous books like The Montauk Monster, Sinister Entity, Island of the Forbidden, and They Rise, his latest, The Jersey Devil, delivered all the delicious flavors I have come to expect in a Shea novel.
The Jersey Devil is the epitome of paperback horror. The kind of story you expected every month from Leisure Books back in the day. The characters live and breathe within each beat, the evil creature (and star of the show) is scary as hell and will have you curled up, eager to see if anyone comes out of these woods alive. There are some great kills near the front of the book as Shea introduces the creature.
The Willet family has a history with the beast, one that comes to light by books end. Shea does a great job of weaving this main plot in with a couple handfuls of Devil fodder in between. While the side characters add some extra fun, the story really takes hold and stands up once Shea focuses on the Willets as they arrive at the Pine Barrens.
For me, the Pine Barrens, the home to the Jersey Devil, are as much a character as anyone or anything else in this book. Shea brings this devouring land of creepy trees, soft soil, and early graves to vivid life. The result is the reader truly being immersed into the story, adding to the near-constant fear factor.
In the end, I really enjoyed the hell out of this book. It’s the perfect end of summer read!
I give The Jersey Devil 4 stars!
Everyone knows the legend of the Jersey Devil. Some believe it is an abomination of nature, a hybrid winged beast from hell that stalks the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey searching for prey. Others believe it is a hoax, a campfire story designed to scare children. But one man knows the truth…
THE DEVIL AWAKES
Sixty years ago, Boompa Willet came face to face with the Devil—and lived to tell the tale. Now, the creature’s stomping grounds are alive once again with strange sightings, disappearances, and worse. After all these years, Boompa must return to the Barrens, not to prove the legend is real but to wipe it off the face of the earth…
THE BEAST MUST DIE
It’ll take more than just courage to defeat the Devil. It will take four generations of the Willet clan, a lifetime of survivalist training, and all the firepower they can carry. But timing is critical. A summer music festival has attracted crowds of teenagers. The woods are filled with tender young prey. But this time, the Devil is not alone. The evil has grown into an unholy horde of mutant monstrosities. And hell has come home to New Jersey…
Hunter Shea, Biography
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.
“Shea delivers a tense and intriguing work of escalating tension splattered with a clever, extensive cast of bystanders turned victims…An otherwise excellent, tightly delivered plot…Fans of cryptid creatures are likely to revel in this love letter to a legendary menace.”– Publishers Weekly
“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
If you are a blogger, author, or member of the media and you would like to feature The Jersey Devil or Hunter Shea in a review or interview, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at email@example.com. Thanks!
I grew up loving alien movies. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Flight of the Navigator, the TV series, V. These started my love affair. Then I found Alien, The Thing, Fire in the Sky, and The Watch. There’s a billion others, but those are some of my favorites.
After years of listening to Art Bell and George Noory on Coast to Coast AM, I finally scribbled my first alien-themed tale, my novella, BOOM TOWN. It just wasn’t enough.
Today, I present to you three more tales of extra-terrestrial horror….OUT of RANGE.
Edited by Erin Sweet-Al Mehairi (Hook of Book Media), with a fantastic cover from Jason Lynch (Jlynchgraphics.com), and an alien-tastic foreword by the great Hunter Shea (author of The Dover Demon and The Jersey Devil), this trio of alien/horror stories is coming at you for the nice price of 99 cents!
Featuring my stories: “Not of This World”, “The Astronauts”, and “Out of Range”
Also, my last novella, the thriller, THINGS WE FEAR, is on sale until the end of August for 99 cents, too.
Summer has just begun, and fear is in season.
School’s out, and the faculty at Fairington Elementary School are free for the summer. Emily Young can’t deny her attraction to Aaron Jackson, the Ed Tech from her classroom, but she’s afraid of being hurt again. Meanwhile, Aaron is determined not to let his phobia of drowning prevent him from enjoying the sun and the sand of Maine’s best beach town.
But they’re about to learn real fear. Fairington is home to a monster. Phys Ed teacher Matt Holmes has more to offer the ladies than a perfect smile. He’s a killer and he’s got his sights set on Emily. Who at Fairington will conquer their fears? And who will fall to a psychopath’s hellbent rage?
“Things We Fear is a compulsively readable tale of obsession and dark suspense, with one of the creepiest villains I’ve encountered in recent years.” — Tim Waggoner, author of The Way of All Flesh and The Last Mile
“Whoa! Glenn Rolfe is on a roll! Following the success of his last book, Blood and Rain, he has another gripping story to tell, Things We Fear. This story has all the makings of a good horror flick. We have a plot within a plot that intersects at just the right moment. The chills are there, the characters are identifiable and the intensity of their actions all make for an entertaining time. All in all, well worth the price of admission!” – Horror Novel Reviews
“There is a definite old school feel about this novella. It isn’t an over the top gore-fest. Instead, what we have is a tense, psychological thriller that builds steadily towards a fitting climax.” – Ginger Nuts of Horror
“In this frighteningly real look at true horror, Rolfe manages to up the ante of tension while balancing genuinely heartbreaking moments, while showcasing his talent for creating unforgettable characters placed in equally unforgettable moments… a testament to Rolfe’s growing ability to spin a story that sets him apart from his peers and displays the talent of a horror author that wants to do far more than scare you – he also wants you to think.” – Beneath the Underground
“Glenn Rolfe’s new thriller (Things We Fear) is addictive. A quick, compelling read.” – Duncan Ralston,author of SALVAGE
“Things We Fear is a taught,character-driven tale of terror that delves way too close to reality and makes you wonder who may be watching you.” – David Bernstein, author of A Mixed Bag of Blood and Relic of Death
Stay tuned for the release of my next horrorific novella, CHASING GHOSTS (Sinister Grin Press, Aug. 1st) and the re-release of my novel, THE HAUNTED HALLS (Matt Shaw Publications, Sept 3rd).
Also, I’ll be attending Scares That Care in Williamsburg, Virginia this coming weekend. Stop by the vendors room and find Matt Manochio and myself signing books and wearing masks–yeah, just look for Krampus and the Wolf Man!
I’ve read some really awesome books in the first half of 2016, and I thought I’d share them with you. Now. there are plenty of books I expect to make this list at year’s end (Tremblay, Malfi, Shea, and plenty of others have some great works out there or coming soon that I need to read), but these are the best of what I’ve read to date.
This debut from Samhain Publishing author, Matthew Franks, is an interesting psychological mash up of Criminal Minds, The Following, Silence of the Lambs, and something with a mind reader/dream invader. If you want to make a splash out the gate, I guess creating your own concoction that nobody has seen before is a good way to achieve that. *THIS ONE IS ON SALE for 99 CENTS!
A lot of reviewers (myself included) mentioned how great is to see Keene return to form with this vicious, yet thoughtful horror ride. A gang of possessed people descend upon an apartment complex full of interesting characters. It pays to be on speaking terms with your neighbors! One of Keene’s short story character’s plays a major role in here, an added bonus for BK fans. I’m not sure THE COMPLEX will make my end of the year list, but I’m happy to see him back in any of my top lists.
Janz delivers another strong effort. This one has him reaching into the coming-of-age bag, pulls out of big, bloody ball, and bats a solid hit. I’ve seen a lot of praise out there from the Janz-ites, and if you’re a big JJ fan, you will no doubt have this one on your 2016 list. COTD serves as a prequel to Janz’s SAVAGE SPECIES novel and I’m thinking we’re in for more from this universe. Stay tuned!
Remember what I said about creating your own concoction to make that initial impact? Well, the “Sisters of Slaughter” have done just that. MAYAN BLUE has a very original story (Mayan ruins/artifacts in Georgia?) and showcases their unabashed taste in writing some pretty vicious scenes. I mentioned in my review how their style had me thinking back to Brian Keene’s original Leisure Books run. I stand by that statement.
Hunter writes like he’s making these crazy horror/action movies. It’s perfect for that hungry horror bookworm who wants something good that reads like a match set to gasoline. This one has a lot of JAWS-like sensibilities which, I’m sure, suits Mr. Shea just fine. A great monster fish long thought extinct resurfaces and in numbers that would scare the bejesus out of any seaman…
This is a haunted hotel story that reads like something hidden in Clive Barkers steamer trunk. The writing is smooth and exciting, and the story is just about perfect. The evil creations McNee uses and the horrifying sights they show the guests in this ghost attraction hotel are top notch and scary. I really loved this book.
This book is a sequel to a novel I have never read (Beast of Baycroft). That being said, I had no trouble following along with the characters or their situations. A great sequel stands alone. Schweigart nails that model here in spades. I had a lot of fun reading this one and will go back and find the first book before Christmas. If you like shapeshifters, cryptozoology, and action, you will love this! (Writing-wise, he could be Hunter Shea’s twin brother!) *AND this one is on sale for 99 cents !
Definitely a contender for my Top 5 at the end of the year, Rufty’s DESOLATION really hit me in the guts. With the most heart-wrenching opening I’ve read in years, this novel dares to go straight for your soft spot. There’s revenge, there’s right and wrong, there’s a family trying to keep itself together while trying to avoid being chopped to bits…it’s pretty freaking great. I loved this one. You should make time for it, too And, if you act now, you can get the paperback version from Amazon for just $7.23!
I LOVED this book! Sounds like I’ve had a pretty good 2016 in the reading world, right? Yes, I have, and MONGRELS tops the list. SGJ writes this book like he has some sort of inside information on werewolves that the rest of us don’t. It’s not a fast and furious werewolf blood bath like Janz’s WOLF LAND (or that book that I wrote), but what it is is SOOO MUCH better. Not to kick any of the werewolf novels that came before it in the nuts, but I truly believe Mr. Jones is in or knows a real wolf pack. This is just a wonderful piece of literature wearing a horror jacket and being really fucking cool. The story of a werewolf family and the challenges they face trying to stay under the radar in the world around them, and a boy waiting to see if he’s ever going to change. A really wonderful book and one that should make everyone’s Top 10 of 2016.
I’ll drop a few novellas and a collection that I really enjoyed here. Check out: