Faithless is the latest novel by Hunter Shea from Flame Tree Press and, yet again, he knocks it out of the park. I don’t hide the fact that Hunter is my favorite writer (alongside Glenn Rolfe) but there is a very good reason for this—he never fails to deliver.
Faithless is an excellent example of yet another page turner. Most of Hunter’s work involves creature features, hence his reputation as somewhat of a cryptid expert. His newest contribution is quite different from the usual Shea madness and utterly over-the-top carnage. Much like another of his FTP releases, Creature, you will not leave Faithless with a dry eye.
It is the story of a priest, Raul, who whilst driving home in the middle of a storm, listens to his family being murdered whilst on a call to his wife. Unable to remain in the church or house where the atrocity occurred, he packs up and moves to the country, into the house he used to visit as a boy which had been left to him by his aunt. Soon it would appear he is not alone.
It is not a straightforward tale of good versus evil; instead, it examines just how this kind of tragedy might affect your psyche and just what depths you might be willing to stoop to.
That’s all I will say without giving away any spoilers, but it is really all you need to know before diving in. The story is well-paced, at times heart-breaking. It has some genuinely chilling moments and wraps up with a Hunter style bow at the end. It also has plenty of action via Raul’s childhood friend Felix who seeks him out, and a touch of humor; so if you have come for his usual silly shenanigans, you won’t be disappointed. I was pleased to discover both Raul and Felix were Puerto Rican; again, another reason that I enjoy this author is his use of diverse characters.
As always Hunter delivers a balanced narrative; there is no unnecessary filler, yet each character is rounded out enough for you to learn what you need to know and genuinely feel for them. Also, the descriptive language, whether it is formal or written with wit, allows you to picture exactly where and when things are taking place.
It is important to note that even though the main character is a priest, the religious side of the story is informative without being preachy, pro or against, so don’t be put off if you are not a fan of the church in horror stories.
All in all, Faithless is yet another example of why Shea and Don D’Auria continue to be a magical partnership.