Review: 'Tortures of the Damned' by Hunter Shea

Tortures of the Damned by Hunter Shea
Pinnacle Books (July 2015)
439 pages, paperback $6.02, ebook $5.99
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington

TorturesHunter Shea lives in New York with his family and one vindictive cat. Aside from writing horror he’s been involved in real life exploration of the paranormal, he interviews exorcists, and has been involved in other things that would keep normal people up at night.

Tortures of the Damned manages to avoid many of the clichés found in the typical apocalyptic horror novel and the result is a terrifying read that left me wanting more. The story begins with numerous explosions and the loss of electricity, meaning no TV and no radio. Despite that, Daniel Padilla does his best to keep his family calm…

“There’s nothing to be afraid of. In fact, why don’t you, Miguel, and Max go in the kitchen and make us all ice cream sundaes?”

Gabby’s eyes lit up. “Really?”

Elizabeth gave him a warning look, “Dan, it’s late.”

He kissed her cheek. “They don’t have school tomorrow. I think ice cream is exactly what we all need.”

An idyllic family, instantly likable, caught in a nightmarish new world. Their neighbors, Buck Clarke and his girlfriend Alexiana, offer to have the family join them in their bomb shelter until things blow over. What follows is an intense horror story filled with graphic images, like that of a man having his face ripped off by a horse. That’s right, I said a horse. Horses are grossly underused in horror fiction. And let’s not forget the rats. I hate rats.

“This was no fantasy, this was a horror movie, one of those flicks from the seventies where there was no happy ending.”

I absolutely devoured this book. I allowed myself four days for this read and finished it in two. There is excellent use of loss in Tortures of the Damned; also some crass sexual situations, but I found them certainly appropriate for the story given the circumstances. Anything less would have taken away from the realism.

Although the book was not promoted as the first of a series, there had better be a sequel, especially with the cliff-hanger that comes at the end.

From Pinnacle Books, an imprint of the Kensington Publishing Company, Tortures of the Damned is available now in both paperback and e-book formats.

Highly recommended.

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