I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.MONEY BACK GUARANTEE by Hunter Shea
Published by Lyrical Underground on October 3, 2017
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Psychological Horror, Thriller, Weird Tales
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YOUR MONEY BACK OR YOUR LIFE . . .
Protect America’s shores with your very own nuclear submarine! Constructed from durable fiberboard material, this submersible is large enough for two kids! Sail off into imaginative international intrigue for just $1.99! If this toy doesn’t float your boat, return it for a full refund!
With her son’s heart set on piloting his own nuclear submarine, Rosemary Lanchester orders the craft advertised on the back of a comic book. What arrives is more sub-standard than submarine, but her son loves the cheap piece of cardboard. Until he and a friend nearly drown when they take the sub for a deep sea dive in the swimming pool.
Enraged, Rosemary reports the toy’s manufacturer to the Better Business Bureau. The company’s customer service center retaliates with threatening phone calls. Then her son and husband mysteriously disappear.
To save her family, Rosemary tracks down the company’s headquarters with the help of her brother—a survivalist with enough toys of his own to wage an all-out war.
And she still wants her $1.99 refunded.
Praise for Hunter Shea
“Old school horror.”—Jonathan Maberry
“A lot of splattery fun.”—Publishers Weekly
MONEY BACK GUARANTEE is the third installment of Hunter Shea’s “Mail Order Massacres” series. In my opinion, he saved the best one for last! This tale takes place in 1982.
Rosemary informs her husband, Gavin, about the money she earned from her tupperware sales. Immediately, her young son, Dwight, bursts in with an advertisement on the back of one of his comic books–this one for a “real nuclear submarine”.
With a cost of only five dollars, how could a mother possibly say no?
“. . . she prayed his imagination would win out over corporate greed and hucksterism, reimagining this obvious piece of crap into the wonder sub he’d been waiting weeks to get . . . “
Needless to say, the “nuclear sub” is made of cardboard . . . Nonetheless, Dwight’s enthusiasm is through the roof, and Rosemary figures no harm is done.
Until tragedy almost strikes.
“. . . He was young. In his mind, he was invincible.”
This is merely the set-up to one of Hunter Shea’s best novellas yet. The story is laced with dark humor all throughout–even in places where the gore is flying all around, you may find a smile creeping along your face in appreciation for a comment or gesture proceeding it. The character of Rosemary is much deeper than you would think, given the first few pages. Throw in some war paint, and I could easily paint a picture of a warrior going unflinchingly into battle. Her “sweet-mother” persona quickly morphs into a raging “mother-bear-on-a-mission” rampage as the stakes are raised.
The enemy–a mysterious company named AdventureCo, that refuses to make good on their “money back guarantee”.
“They wanted to play rough. She was ready to play rougher . . . “
Stopping only to enlist the help of her “survivalist-paranoid” brother, Rob, Rosemary is off to find the company that nobody seems to want to speak of.
“. . . she had to admit her brother was a damn good substitute. Perhaps even better . . . because he was slightly crazy and heavily armed . . . “
This story was pure “fun” for an 80’s loving, horror fan! The action increased exponentially as things progressed, never giving the reader the desire to pause in the storyline. Shea injects quite a few throwbacks to the lifestyles in the 1980’s that are so true, the story itself feels just as if it “could” be taking place here.
Each scene was a new revelation–there were unexpected twists at every turn. Due to the rapid feel of this novella, I found myself caught completely unaware by all of them. This is a story that truly takes you away from your routine life, and puts you in another era for its duration.
“He wanted to see what kind of a man had done this . . . So, I let him see . . . “
Overall, a fast-paced romp that will leave you smiling and cringing in equal measures. The last selection in Hunter Shea’s “Mail Order Massacres” series is my personal favorite of the three.