A few months ago I found out about Samhain publishing and the main reason is because of editor Don D’Auria when I was researching where he had disappeared to after leaving Dorchester publishing. D’Auria turned around the Leisure horror line and was their executive editor for 15 years, however he was let go in 2011.
D’Auria was largely responsible for the resurgence of Richard Laymon in the USA during the mid 1990’s. He had primarily been published overseas (because of his grab the reader by the throat writing style as a splatterpunk writer) until D’Auria brought him on board with Leisure. D’Auria was also responsible for discovering Brian Keene (the reigning zombie writer in the genre), and bringing Edward Lee and Jack Ketchum to Leisure and helping their careers take off in America. Two more splatterpunk writers, very similar to Laymon. However, Leisure decided to cut their mass market paperbacks with booksellers going belly up and they decided to go digital with e-books, a sign of the changing times with the advances in technology.
D’Auria has discovered some great new writers at Samhain, which leads me to the purpose of this blog. Before I get into this book review first…..let me start off by saying I’m a huge fan of horror novels and most things supernatural related. However, I’m not a huge fan of ghost stories in general….or errrrr….Energy Beings as Hunter Shea likes to refer to them. Island of the Forbidden, (Amazon Link) in his latest novel.
Jessica Blackman and Eddie Home are brought to Ormsby Island by the new owners of a haunted house because of their abilities to communicate with the EB’s. Ormsby Island is home to many restless EB’s and horrible things have happened there. Throw in one of the owners of the new island and a few friends looking to make a quick buck off the reality ghost shows on network TV and you have the premise of a really good story. Shea is a master at building suspense and keeping the pacing moving along at the right tempo. His characterization is also really good and on point, he creates people you want to care about and hope they make it out okay. He’s also adept at creating a horror novel that doesn’t rely on gratuitous violence or gore.
*Melodramatic sigh* I know, right? But, never fear his next novel promises plenty of it!!!
To use a baseball analogy (because after all this started off as a sports based website), Shea’s Island of the Forbidden is a home run and possibly even a grand slam. Going one step further it’s probably one of the better ghost stories I’ve ever read (and despite not being a huge fan of them, I’ve read a lot) and I’d rank it right up there with the classics such as The Shining (by legend Stephen King) and The Haunting of Hill House (by Shirley Jackson).
This was my first novel of Shea’s that I’ve had the pleasure of reading and I’ll definitely be ordering more novels of his off the Samhain website. His next novel Tortures of the Damned is coming out on July 28th from Pinnacle in the ever extinct mass market paperback form. It’s a post apocalyptic story of what happens after a nuclear attack strikes the east coast and they lose electricity.
This sounds like a must read!!!
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