I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Slash by Hunter Shea
Published by Flame Tree Press on October 24, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Horror
Format: ARC, eBook
Buy on Amazon
Five years after final girl Ashley King survived the infamous Resort Massacre, she's found hanging in her basement by her fiancé, Todd Matthews. The lone survivor of a team of urban explorers who ran into a faceless killing machine, she was never able to overcome the fear that the killer would find her and finish what he'd started. A puzzle addict, she leaves behind clues as to what really happened that night, clues that may reveal the identity of the killer the press has called The Wraith. With the help of his friends, Todd goes back to the crumbling Hayden Resort, a death-tinged ruin in the Catskills Mountains. The Hayden was once a premier destination in what was called the Borscht Belt. Now, it's rotting, abandoned, and the epicenter of a series of murders that goes back decades. Todd and his friends are joined by Sharon Viola, broken and lost sister of Ash's best friend, Sheri, who was murdered the night of the Resort Massacre. Sneaking in at night on the cusp of winter, the Hayden is the definition of eerie and foreboding. They find the breadcrumbs of a deep, dark mystery that Ash had left behind, all but forgotten in her amnesia of the fateful night. An escaped Nazi had fled to America, masquerading as a cook in the resort's restaurant. The discovery of his true origins by the all Jewish staff was handled with brutal efficiency, lynch mob style. It was the first of what would be many more murders, escalating under the cover of secrecy after the resort burned down in the mid 1970s. The Hayden may have been deserted, but it was never empty of fresh corpses. Someone, or something, has been murdering anyone who dares to wander amidst its crumbling buildings. It knows Todd and his friends have come, and there will be hell to pay for trespassing. FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
Thanks to Anne @Random things through my letterbox for my spot on the blog tour and the publisher for my copy of the book. All thoughts are unbiased and honest. Instantly the book cover grabs you by the balls and you can feel the pain and fear that this novel is going to subject you to. Slash examines survival, plain and simple. The idea that lightening couldn’t possibly strike twice is the primary theme. This book is more than happy to pack up its things and move home into other genres. This is a book that goes between Slasher, horror and thriller. It reminded me a lot of the Friday 13th movies, which are solid classics, this book in my estimation is just as good.
What does Slash, and those disturbingly awesome slasher movies have in common? A sole survivor, usually a woman who has witnessed untold terrors being dished out by a psychopath killer. She’s survived hell on earth, nothing could hurt her, again right? Right? I’m a massive fan of horror/slasher movies. I love the unlikeness of them, the over dramatized action within but most of all I LOVE being scared. I love to feel that adrenaline pumping, the body going into fight or flight mode and feeling that cold drip of sweat dripping down your neck. Will it be survival of the fittest or will the bad guy claim another victim?
“Absolute terror makes your mind do funny things…I’ve lost myself to fear all these years…”
Hunter Shea is a brand spanking author for me and just let me fan girl a moment at just how he captures the horror genre so captivatingly. This works, it absolutely does. I’ve been reading a lot of psychological thrillers recently and although I have been enjoying them, it kept me completely in my comfort zone. This book shook me, the road travelled started the same, it felt the same, but it had an eerie undercurrent. Safety was far from the mind, the author broke the reins and chased me through the dead of night. My chest was tight, I was running for my life, but I didn’t dare look back over my shoulder. Hunter Shea is an evil genius.
You think you know the horror genre, do you? As a very famous fictional red-headed character said, “you know nothing, Jon Snow.” Shea has taken the genre and pulled it until its snapping at the seams. This horror doesn’t fit into the perfectly marked horror box. It’s not the bogey man jumping out of it, it’s a psychopathic serial killer lurking, hiding, planning his next depraved act. It’s the human psyches worst fear. It’s what we are all scared of. This novel blew my mind. Sometimes I read a book that has emitted so many emotions from me that I just NEED. A. DAMN. MINUTE. I needed to get my thoughts down, but there were so many, would I be able to make a coherent thought? The only thought that was screaming for attention was – What in the fresh hell?
This book just expressed how in love I am with the horror genre. It expressed and sang out to me just how my nerdy self loves the fear, loves exhilaration, loves the examination of the human condition. This book was fear personified. My brain officially resembled scrambled eggs…in the most satisfying way.
“He came out of the darkness and he returned to it…”
Enter Ashley King our sole survivor of the Wraith during the Hayden Resort Massacre, five years ago. She is the perfect case study of a survivor with PTSD. She may have got through the ordeal, but her mind is most definitely not intact. Her body is whole, but her mind is fractured. Paranoia is king in her world. She is never going to be the same again. This new version of her is broken. Mental health is a fragile thing – it doesn’t take much for it to snap and snap it did. Todd, her fiancé learned that the hard way. The intensity of the events led me to keep reading, one chapter after another. Time meant nothing whilst reading Slash. My brain was on red alert.
Poor poor Todd. He had so much to contend with. Ashley’s pain and suffering took such an emotional turmoil on him. Her hurt was hurting him. His anger, his hurt at what she felt she needed to do unsettled me. It was painful reading. It made me sad. The melancholy was real, it was bitter and made me want to high five the author so hard. Do you want to read a cutesy romance novel about love? Then this is really not for you. If you want to read about raw, all-encompassing love through loss and anger. The real kind of love that sadly doesn’t get shown until a catastrophic event happens. He would have done anything for the love of his life.
The action is fast paced, and you won’t be able to stop until you close the final page. The second half of the book ramps up the speed into full psycho slasher miles per hour. Its violent, its gruesome and its everything you would want and more. The haunting world building was first rate. The sub-zero undertones are eerie and uncomfortable, this is a book you shouldn’t really enjoy reading. It should unnerve you, unseat you and make you question everything you know about human emotions. The world building reminded me of resident evil, it was uncanny and retched up my imagination to the top level.
The personal relationships contained within the pages of Slash highlighted that even during terror and adversity can still instil support and love. Todd, in order to heal and move on, needed to step into Ashley’s shoes. He needed to understand what she went through and the reason why she felt there was no other way. You could see that Todd struggled with it all. His mental health was wavering. He had a renewed sense of respect for Ashley.
Overall this was speeding train of emotion, loss, terror and by god was it intelligent. The twists left me for dead. Shea tied me up and threw me over the edge. His skill was that good. Just think of all the awesome slasher films, Halloween, Friday 13th, Scream and Saw and it follows the exact same formula and pulls it off so expertly. This is a book that will make you lose track of time, looking for evil etched on the pages then I can’t recommend this book enough. The perfect Halloween read.
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. He’s the author of over 25 books, including The Jersey Devil (pinnacle) and We Are Always Watching (Sinister Grin). Hunters novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum.
The Montauk Monster was named one of the best reads of the summer by Publishers Weekly. He was selected to be part of the launch of Samhain Publishing’s new horror line in 2011 alongside legendary author Ramsey Campbell. He’s an avid podcaster and can be heard and seen on Monster Men and Final Guys every week. Living with his crazy and supportive family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to see the skyline without having to pay New York rent. You can follow his travails at www.huntershea.com