Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Review – "The Waiting" by Hunter Shea

Is there a more magical day for a couple in love than their wedding day?  When all goes to plan, it can be the perfect start to amazing experiences that only get better as time passes.  However, there is nothing stopping that day from quickly turning to horror if the circumstances are right.  What begins as the brightest day in two people’s lives can instantly turn to the start of a long, painful, and terrifying journey.  This is what happens in Hunter Shea’s novella, The Waiting.

“Clinging to life, haunted by the dead.

Newlywed Cassandra Pagano lies in a state between life and death, her body fed and preserved by the machines at her side. While she struggles, unaware of the world around her, someone waits—a boy. A phantom that appears solid, real, alive. Cassandra’s husband, Brian, sees him in the house, by her bedside, running down darkened hallways. The boy walks without sound, whispers words that can’t be deciphered.

Terror and tension are driving Brian to the breaking point. Why is the boy there, and what does he want with Cassandra…and her fading soul?”

Given that this novella clocks in at only a little over 100 pages, Hunter Shea does an amazing job making use of every single moment.  Even though we are thrown right into Brian and Cassandra’s wedding day, we can’t help but connect with them almost immediately.  Shea creates solid, likeable characters that just seem to fall victim to extreme misfortune when Cassandra suffers a freak medical issue that places her in a comatose state.  The issue is only made worse after Brian brings home his wife, who is unable to regain consciousness, in the hopes that the environment will have a positive impact on her recovery.  Instead, he discovers that what was intended to be their first home together as a married couple could have devastating results for Cassandra.

Shea quickly, but effectively builds the tension and suspense as he makes it obvious that there is much more than Brian’s overstressed mind contributing to the weird things starting to happen in the house.  The pacing is near perfect.  While I will not give any spoilers, I will say that the ending will leave you feeling cold all over!  Often an issue in books involving hauntings is the tendency for the author to draw out the paranormal action too much and then try to rush it all in at the end.  This can create a dull book most of the way through that feels like it became too quick paced and didn’t fully take the chance to establish and maintain the right atmosphere for a ghost story.  Shea made a fantastic decision in making this book a novella.  There was too much story for it to fit as a short story, but it really did not call for a full novel to do justice to the tale that Shea tells us.  This provides a quick, but intense read for any fan of the haunting subgenre of horror. 

So, let’s take a look at the Rage Circus breakdown:

Story Concept - 4/5
Story Execution – 4.5/5
Story Flow - 5/5
Character Development (give-a-damn factor) - 5/5
Gripping visuals/details - 4/5
Entertainment Value/Story Engagement - 5/5
Editing (including grammar and spelling) - 5/5

Overall – 4.6/5 – If you don’t read this book, the decision just could haunt you!

You can get your copy of The Waiting in e-book form at any of the following:

Barnes and Noble -

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