Due to dire circumstance, Matt Riley, his wife, Debi, and their fourteen-year-old son, West, had to move in with West’s Grandpa Abraham. Grandpa insisted the place where he lived was haunted. That was fine with West, because “(he) devoured horror books like they were M&Ms.” I loved the mentions of popular horror podcasts and magazines, as well as a number of today’s most-read writers within the genre.
John Carpenter’s The Thing was one of the very first VHS tapes I ever bought because it was, and still is, my hands-down favorite horror movie. Coming in at #2 is Alien. I’m a sucker for flicks with isolated, well-defined characters getting picked off by terrifying creatures. That also explains my infatuation with The Descent.
The Thing tape had a shelf all by its lonesome, a place of special importance, flanked by posters of Loni Anderson and Samantha Fox. Aside from being creepy, gory and this side of awesome, The Thing was also associated with a very special memory.
It’s the movie that made my father throw up.
There was no way of knowing how much that top loading Fisher VCR with wired remote control would change all of our lives. We were a family of movie addicts. We had a theater called The Kent two blocks away that showed double features and had a balcony where all sorts of shenanigans ensued, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. There was also the drive-in just ten miles away in Elmsford, a mecca for families and horny teens all throughout lower Westchester County.
But this VCR contraption, which my father brought home with a buzzing glee, was about to take us to a whole new level.
Hunter Shea’s latest is a romp through the Pine Barrens of New Jersey with multiple twists, layers, and additions to the mythos of The Jersey Devil.
I’ve lived in Southeastern Pennsylvania most of my life. It’s close enough to South Jersey that I’ve grown up fascinated by the tall tales of The Jersey Devil. As a result, I come to Hunter Shea’s new book with a firm grasp on all of the hearsay from over the years. While Hunter keeps the history of the legend intact, he really uses those stories as a starting point for his own tale, which makes anything you may have heard before look like a child’s bedtime story.
Tortures of the Damned by Hunter Shea
Pinnacle Books (July 2015)
439 pages, paperback $6.02, ebook $5.99
Reviewed by Frank Michaels Errington
Hunter 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.