Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review - "The Montauk Monster" by Hunter Shea

This book review is provided as part of the Montauk Monster virtual publicity tour, however, the standards and scrutiny applied to this review are no less than those given to any other work presented through the views of The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void, your blog for all things horror!

I have been reading and watching horror for close to twenty-six years.  Starting with Goosebumps, working my way up to Fear Street, and eventually graduating to the masters like H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker.  I have read a huge number of books, for all purposes a countless amount of horror.  Given that, it has been a long time since a book I read left me sitting in stunned silence, unable to accept that the book was over upon reaching the final pages.  The Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea elicited that exact response from me.

“It Kills. . .On a hot summer night in Montauk, the bodies of two local bar patrons are discovered in the dunes, torn to shreds, their identities unrecognizable. . .
It Breeds. . .In another part of town, a woman's backyard is invaded by four terrifying creatures that defy any kind of description. What's clear is that they're hostile--and they're ravenous. . .
It Spreads. . .With every sunset the terror rises again, infecting residents with a virus no one can cure. The CDC can't help them; FEMA can't save them. But each savage attack brings Suffolk County Police Officer Gray Dalton one step closer to the shocking source of these unholy creations. Hidden on nearby Plum Island, a U.S. research facility has been running top-secret experiments. What they created was never meant to see the light of day. Now, a vacation paradise is going straight to hell.

How can you describe the incredible tale that Hunter Shea has given us?  It is part The Crazies, part creature feature like nothing you have ever seen, and all horrific.  Shea comes at us with a fast and furious pacing that just gets more and more intense like a vice wrapped around our brain that only tightens and never lets go.  The prose is amazing and descriptive.  Shea’s visuals leave no room for misinterpretation or confusion as to what is happening.  His literary skill provides a picture clearer than any television screen ever could and the picture he shows us is horrifying unlike anything you have ever experienced.

Perhaps one of the most terrifying things about this story is like any other master of the horror genre, Shea holds nothing back.  It quickly becomes apparent that no one is safe.  The monsters that Shea has released from his mind into the world have no concept of right or wrong, innocent or guilty.  Any potential victim is fair game to feed these beasts and the disease they carry.  The creatures make Jaws look like a guppy and the virus makes Ebola look like the common cold.  By the time you truly start to realize the full extent of the tragedy that awaits in this story, the only question left will be whether the true threat is the beasts, the virus, or the people behind them both.

As the mystery of the creatures start to unravel, Shea builds an intricate web with admirable attention to detail, allowing all the pieces to come together until there really is no other way for the story to end.  In a word, that way is brutally.  I won't give out any spoilers.  You will have to see this intense ending yourself.  I just hope you have a strong stomach.

Overall, I found Shea's work to be everything you would want out of a creature story.  There are relatable characters who are far from cookie cutter solutions, strong visuals with flowing prose, creatures that will make you want to look over your shoulder the next time you are walking down a dark street, and a mystery to be solved.  My only complaint with this novel is one I often have whenever government conspiracy is involved in a horror story.  When the military appears in the novel, they are simply mindless followers who never question orders, no matter how unethical or immoral those orders may be.  In a post 9/11 world where we have so many men and women putting their lives on the line every day on foreign soil, I think it is time we got past this stereotype in stories.  Yes, I understand it is fiction and it fits the story, but it is something I always take issue with in horror or action.  However, with the high quality of the story and the engaging horror and action, I was easily able to put my complaint aside and enjoy the ride.

So let’s take a look at The Rage Circus score!

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

Overall – 4.86/5 - Know the threats around you!  Get your copy of The Montauk Monster.

Barnes and Noble—
Oh, by the way, is The Montauk Monster really a work of fiction?

Is the Montauk Monster made up for the book or an urban myth? Is there some truth that propels the story? You can find out more about the real Montauk Monster story here:

About the author:

Hunter Shea is the author of paranormal and horror novels Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal, Sinister Entity, which are all published by Samhain Horror.  The June 3, 2014 release of his horrifying thriller Montauk Monster is published by Kensington/Pinnacle. 

He has also written a short story to be read prior to Sinister Entity, called The Graveyard Speaks (it’s free, go download!), and a book of stories called Asylum Scrawls. His next book from Samhain Horror, titled HellHole, came out July 1, 2014, and is his first western horror. As you read this, he has a few more books in the works from both Kensington and Samhain and release dates should be announced soon.

His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, and the upcoming anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists, and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on.

He is also half of the two men show, Monster Men, which is a video podcast that takes a fun look at the world of horror. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at www.huntershea.com, on Twitter @HunterShea1, Facebook fan page at Hunter Shea or the Monster Men 13 channel on YouTube.

Stay tuned for my interview with the man responsible for this tale of terror, Hunter Shea!

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