Published by Severed Press on May 1, 2017
Genres: Creature Feature, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Psychological Horror, Thriller
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The swamp belongs to them. Humans are only prey.
Deep in the overgrown swamps of Florida, where humans rarely dare to enter, lives a race of creatures long thought to be only the stuff of legend. They walk upright but are stronger, taller and more brutal than any man. And when a small boat of tourists, held captive by a fleeing criminal, accidentally kills one of the swamp dwellers’ young, the creatures are filled with a terrifyingly human emotion—a merciless lust for vengeance that will paint the trees red with blood.
SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE, by Hunter Shea, is one of his spectacular “creature-feature” novels that I feel he really excels in. With this book, we encounter the fabled “Skunk Apes” deep in the swamps of the Everglades.
Mick Chella is about to take off with a boatful of tourists on a journey through the swamps, when he is run into–quite literally–by a man named Rooster Murphy. Unfortunately for all involved, those responsible for Murphy’s initial flight aren’t too particular about who else they harm in their single-minded, murderous attempt . . .
One of the things I appreciate the most in Hunter Shea’s writing is his incredible characterization. No matter what “type” of book he’s writing, you can count on getting to know the main characters in great depth and go away with a sense that you read about something that happened to a “real” person. In the case of Rooster Murphy, we also get a fantastic sarcasm-laced personality that adds some comic relief to an otherwise violent, emotional, and gory tale.
“. . . No sense getting everyone killed just to see if some old guy had more fishing days ahead of him. It seemed like a good and proper justification.”
What starts out with a bang, only gets faster and more complex as the story moves forward. Shea is–in my humble opinion–one of the best of the modern day authors when it comes to these “B-movie style creature-features”. He can take just about any legend, urban myth, or other “monster” commonly thought of as “fake”, and weave a tale that has the power to get you thinking about the possibilities.
“. . . it was like watching a couple of little kids tearing a sheet of paper, except with blood spraying in every direction . . . “
In SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE, even the other characters take on pertinent roles, making them memorable and–in some cases–getting the readers emotionally attached to them. Every scene we read serves to further the plot along; you won’t find any filler or unnecessary info dumps here.
“‘You must have been the smartest kid in your class’. . . said with unrestrained sarcasm.”
As far as settings go, the swamps in the Everglades come alive in this book! I could picture the barrage of blood-sucking insects, hot and humid temperatures, and the wildlife dangers that could be just as deadly as the legendary Skunk Apes–namely, alligators and poisonous snakes lying hidden in the foliage.
“. . . Rooster needed numbers, especially when they all had guns . . . “
Overall, this is a novel that held my unwavering attention from first to last page. Hunter Shea manages to tackle an almost unbelievable topic, and literally bring it alive with his words. Everything from the pacing, to the characters, comments, location, and blood-drenched gore fest felt possible throughout this read.
“. . . Only humans had the capacity to hate, to seek revenge, to kill for the sake of killing.”
After finishing SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE, you may just find yourself questioning the validity of that last quote.