It’s review one of two this week for author Hunter Shea. This time, the quieter more subtle scares found inside of We Are Always Watching, a book that is quite a departure from my other recent Shea read, Savage Jungle. It’s no secret that Shea is a writer better known for his more fantastical, cryptid-style horror but those that have read books like Islands of the Forbidden will be well aware that he is also capable of slowing things down, creating foreboding atmospheres as well as adrenaline-fuelled cryptid thrillers.
Strange messages are appearing all around the lonely house. The guardians are watching, but who are they, exactly and what do they want?
We Are Always Watching is a better book than Islands of the Forbidden. I am a big fan of haunted house stories, and whilst this book doesn’t really break any new ground, it is a fantastic, creepy and absorbing tale. Shea keeps the character count to a minimum which is a masterstroke in that it adds to the already claustrophobic atmosphere created by the lonely farmhouse that is centrepiece to the tale. The wounded family that joins Grandpa Abraham-a grumpy old fart if ever there was one-arrive with a ton of baggage; job loss, disability to the father after a car accident and young West, a boy not exactly excited by the predicament he finds himself in and going through all of the emotions that adolescents do.
We Are Always Watching is a slow burn of a novel, but never too slow, in fact, I loved it. I loved the young horror fan, West, and his love of reading, I sympathised with his parents as their predicament was through no fault of their own and grandpa Abraham was suitably sharp-mouthed and unlikable. The numerous music references throughout the novel also pleased me and the direction the book took towards the end was excellent. The ending was surprising and a little grim, too, which was great! This is a character driven story, one that explores their personalities fully, thus bringing them to life on the page. For my money, this is the best book I’ve read by Hunter Shea, I really, really enjoyed it. It had a nice flow and everything came together well at the end. This is a great book for fans more familiar with Shea’s cryptid books. It showcases a versatile, talented writer that continues to go from strength-to-strength.
5/5 creaky floorboards from The Grim Reader.
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We Are Always Watching, Synopsis
- Print Length: 252 pages
- Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
- Publication Date: March 1, 2017
They’ve watched over the house for generations…
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, Biography
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 We Are Always Watching
“The family dynamics in We Are Always Watching are perfect, so believable. I thoroughly recommend.” — CEMETERY DANCE
“Brilliantly crafted, keeping you on your toes.” — UNNERVING MAGAZINE
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.” –Glenn Rolfe, Author of Chasing Ghosts and The Haunted Halls
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