I’m turning the blog over to author Robert E. Dunn again today. Fortunately for us, there is much more to come from Robert and some other great folks in the horror industry. This time Master Dunn brings us this awesome review of Hunter Shea’s action packed novella, Loch Ness Revenge.
BOOK REVIEW— Loch Ness Revenge by Hunter Shea
Before I talk about this book there are a few things I need to say in the way of confession. First of all, I’ve never met Hunter but I consider him a friend. We met virtually through social media a couple of years ago. Every so often we drop a line to say something about books or family. Also, I am a fan of all things Hunter. You won’t meet a nicer guy in the horror/cryptozoology writing biz. But to heck with nice guys he is a harsh task master and cruel god to his characters. And that’s what we are here to talk about today—what he does in the pages, right?
Bear with me, just a couple more confessions. The book is dedicated to Shane Keene—A man who knows his monsters. You gotta agree with that. But this is Shane’s blog. I’m just helping out today. He lets me sweep up the saw dust and cigarette butts after a busy night in exchange for sleeping on the cot in the back room. It’s a funny thing about the horror writing and reviewing community, it isn’t that large and we tend to bump into each other. That doesn’t keep the reviewers from letting us know when something is not quite working for them. Heck, it doesn’t keep them from telling us we suck when we suck.
Third, and final confession—I don’t like Loch Ness Monster stories.
This actually works within a review of the book. Familiarity is the wall over which we must climb to find the fear in some creatures. This is true both for the writer and the reader. There is a reason you don’t read about vampires in evening wear and silk lined capes these days.
So basically my confessions come down to having reasons, read that prejudices, both in favor and against this book. All of that being said—
I freaking loved the monsters in this book. I didn’t expect to. I didn’t think I could. But as always, Hunter Shea kicks my butt with his story telling ability. Make no mistake going in, the Loch Ness monstrosities are the stars of Loch Ness Revenge. Everything else is just caught in their orbit. What an orbit. The theme is right out of Moby Dick, revenge against nature and the existential indifference of the big L Life we are all trapped in. Revenge has to have a face otherwise you are raging against wind. How much better if the face is filled with teeth and surprises you with its intelligence and awareness.
I won’t give you a long winded review kind of review, there are a few of those out there. Honestly this is probably more of a fan letter. I didn’t think I could care about Nessies but I was wrong. Loch Ness Revenge is a short book, a novella, with the main action taking up a couple of days in book time. Those days are filled with action and characters with reasons to want their revenge.
A while back I read Hunter Shea’s book, Tortures of the Damned. That was a story I enjoyed for entirely different reasons. But I was tortured by the ending. Not because it was wrong or bad. It was probably the perfect ending, but I wanted more. I wanted to know about the next step in the story. Story is Hunter Shea’s strength. He makes it work and makes you care about the next step. My strongest evidence for that is my enjoyment of the monsters in Loch Ness Revenge. They are characters, and your ability to care is related to the current created by a great story.
Now I have to admit that I’m raving about the monstrosities. That is really because of my surprise. Remember at the beginning I said, familiarity is the wall we have to climb to find fear in some creatures? Hunter uses the familiarity to kick us over the wall. He uses it also, to enhance his stars. They are just familiar enough so you feel on safe ground. How can something called Nessie be dangerous? Then he shows us the teeth and claws, and dark intelligence. What fun!
I’ve been talking about the Loch Ness monstrosities but the book is worth your read if you like action and mayhem, revenge, edge of the seat adventure, and a dangled second installment for the trio of human heroes.