Author Interview – Tim Meyer

authorphoto1 (1)Getting to know Tim Meyer started on Twitter a couple years ago. Since then, I’ve discovered his warped wit with a crazy bunch of Horror Cvlt Live Chat members and enjoyed a little Fun In The Sun time with him just off the Mexican coast via his novel Sharkwater Beach. After reading that, I knew I just had to get an interview. Thankfully, Tim thought it was a good idea, too!

1. Stephen King is quoted as saying, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or tools) to write.” Every writer I know also spends a great amount of time reading. What was your favorite book as a kid and how have the books you read back then influenced you as a writer today?

Great question! Hard to pick just one, but Jurassic Park was a book I read a lot when it first came out. I was around eight at the time and I remember reading it over and over again. Still have that paperback copy and it has pretty much fallen apart since then. Also the GOOSEBUMPS series by R.L. Stine. I had every single book and read them constantly. Those really influenced me as a writer and were also my “gateway” into horror fiction – authors like Stephen King and Robert McCammon. I fell in love with the genre, hard. I think when you read my stuff today, you can definitely see the impression GOOSEBUMPS left. I always enjoyed how Stine took your average kid with real-life issues and threw them into these crazy situations – much like King does too. I think you can see a lot of that in my work.

2. For some writers quiet and solitude are paramount to a successful writing session. Others seem perfectly capable of writing in crowded and noisy coffee houses. Describe your writing space and what works best for you when it comes to writing productively.

I have my own office. It’s surrounded by horror movies, toys, and a giant bookcase with way too many books! I do most of my writing there. I try to wake up at 5 every morning, before my wife and three-year-old. Doesn’t always happen, but usually I can do that five days of the week. I’m most productive during those early hours. I listen to music and drink about 40oz of coffee an hour. Okay, maybe not that much. But, coffee. A good amount of that. I’ll also try to steal moments here and there. If my wife is working late, I’ll try to squeeze in 1,000 words before bed. I’m not opposed to writing in a coffee shop or in loud places. I’ve gotten pretty good at writing with Mickey Mouse on in the background. I also enjoy a good writing session at the local library, but that doesn’t happen too often.

khccover3. Earlier I asked about your favorite book growing up. When did you actually start writing stories for yourself? Was it something you’ve always been interested in or did it happen later in life? What was the very first story you can remember writing?

I’ve been interested in writing as early as the fourth grade. My fourth-grade teacher made us write a novel for a class project. It had to be ten pages or so with pictures. I, of course, wrote about me and my friends crash-landing on a deserted island populated by carnivorous dinosaurs. After that, I guess you can say I had been bitten by the story bug. I started writing stories, doodling comics, and making movies with friends. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories, no matter the medium.

4. “A writer never takes a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing,” or so once said playwright Eugene Ionesco. I couldn’t agree with him more, but there are times when I’m not writing and pursuing other interests. What others activities or hobbies do you have that are totally unrelated to being an author?

Well, I love spending time with my wife and kid. That’s the best. I’m a big sports fan, so I enjoy watching and playing sports. Big into fantasy football. I enjoy craft beer, exploring different breweries and sampling their various concoctions. I’m a movie buff, so I watch a lot of them. I podcast, co-host the Aperture Hour Podcast on The Project Entertainment Network. We talk about movies and TV shows and have weekly trivia. It’s a lot of fun. I buy way too many horror t-shirts.

switchhouse2225. Tell us a bit about your latest release and what can we expect next? I know you must have something in the works! Where can readers learn more about what you already have available and keep up-to-date on all things Tim Meyer?

I recently had two books come out. The first is called THE SWITCH HOUSE. It’s about a husband and wife who come back home after going on a house-swapping reality television program, only to find their house not the way they left it – in the spiritual sense. They think it might be haunted or cursed, and that’s when the crazy stuff happens. It’s getting a lot of good reviews and I’m really proud of how it’s being received by readers. The other is a nasty novel titled KILL HILL CARNAGE. You can probably tell by the title that it’s about puppies and rainbows and happiness. Nah, it’s basically EVIL DEAD meets FROM BEYOND meets LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL. It’s my love letter to late 80s/early 90s horror.

I have a bunch of stuff in the works. Currently shopping a novel called DEAD DAUGHTERS. Just finished the first draft on a lost world/adventure horror novel involving inter-dimensional time travel and lots of dinosaurs. Recently wrapped up a novel I’m co-authoring – that one is about pirate ghosts and ancient sea monsters. Oh, and I’m also in the middle of plotting out the final two books of the SUNFALL series, which I co-author with Chad Scanlon and Pete Draper. Might have a new short story collection available next year. So, all that and a bunch of other projects that I can’t talk about yet. Best way to keep up with me is probably Twitter (@timmmeyer11) or over on Timmeyerwrites.com and sign up for the newsletter.

 

Movie Review – Dark Secret of Harvest Home (1978)

Starring: Bette Davis, David Ackroyd, Rosanna Arquette, and Joanna Miles. Directed by Leo Penn

With a job he abhors, a marriage on the rocks, and an asthmatic daughter who must pay protection money to a gang so she can make it safely to and from her piano lessons, Nick Constantine has had enough of life in the Big Apple.  When his wife suddenly inherits a small fortune from her father, the family decides a trip to the country will do them all a world of good.

They soon stumble upon the small farming community of Cornwall Coombe, Connecticut. By the looks of it, the inhabitants live in a world that bears a striking resemblance to that of the Amish or the original Puritans who settled the area back in the 1600s. They are dressed in old style clothing and are plowing and planting the fields for corn using horses and good old-fashioned elbow grease. Nick, his wife Beth, and daughter Kate are immediately charmed by everything and everyone in the Coombe and before they know it, they have left New York City behind to start a life that they hope will heal all their family’s wounds and woes.

Guided by The Widow (Bette Davis), the Constantine’s have a lot to learn about the Coombe and its traditions, known as The Ways. Everyone lives and everything is done according to The Ways. If you don’t follow, obey, and respect The Ways, you’ll quickly find yourself in a heap of trouble. Beth and Kate happily fall into the Coombe’s lifestyle. Nick, not so much. His curiosity leads him down a maze of strange and increasingly disturbing stories about the Coombe’s history. The closer the community draws to the greatest festival of all, known as Harvest Home, and the more Nick puts his nose where it doesn’t belong, the weirder and darker things become.

Based on the novel “Harvest Home” by Thomas Tryon, The Dark Secret of Harvest Home, appeared on the small screen in 1978 as a two-part mini-series. For my young and impressionable brain, it became an instant and unforgettable hit. Forty years later, I still adore it. This is the sort of suspense and intrigue I love in a movie. Deep back stories, characters I can relate to, villains that don’t seem so bad at first, layers of mystery that build one atop the others and an conclusion that gathers it all together in a bundle of satisfaction so amazing it almost makes me want to lean back and have a cigarette after … and I don’t even smoke.

Despite the poor visual quality of the version I found free on YouTube, I can’t recommend this one enough.

Raven Rating: 5 out of 5 caws!

The Raven Scale:
1 Raven: Yuck! Don’t eat that.
2 Ravens: Bread crumbs, but it’ll keep us alive.
3 Ravens: Oh, hey! Peanuts, popcorn and cat kibble!
4 Ravens: Lunch time pizza place dumpster. Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit, Fellas! Fresh Road Kill!

Author Interview – Jason Brant

  1. For me, writing has been a life-long passion. When did you first get the writing bug and what were some of the earliest stories you wrote about?

I never even considered writing fiction until I was 30. No shorts or abandoned novels or anything. I was miserable working a government job and I just up and quit one day. While sitting around my house, enjoying unemployment, I stumbled across JA Konrath’s blog and read up on self-publishing. A few weeks later, I was typing away every day. It sure beats working for the government.

Ash1-ebook-webThe first piece of fiction I ever worked on was a novella titled Echoes, which centered around a man who gained telepathic abilities from a traumatic brain injury. It sucked. But I published it anyway, because I didn’t realize how bad it was at the time. A year or two later, I took it down and rewrote it into a novel titled Ash which is now the most popular work I have.

The second story I attempted was my West of Hell series. I haven’t gone back to them since I finished them, so I can’t imagine they’re any good either. (Note from Pamela – I’ve read the first two books in the West of Hell series and really enjoyed them. Need to get Book 3 one of these days.)

 

  1. You frequently mention your Asher Benson series and it seems these books are the ones people are most familiar with, but what about your three standalone novels? Could you tell me a bit more about those?

The Gate is a sort of Lovecraftian story that pokes fun at ghost hunters. It was my first novel and a total blast to write. Monsters and douchebags. My kinda story.

The Dark is set in the same universe as The Gate, but isn’t a sequel. It revolves around a living darkness that descends upon the city of Aberdeen, MD. Anyone caught without a light source dies a horrible and nearly instantaneous death. This book is the one that kind of put me on the map for a lot of people and allowed me to pay my mortgage.

Aces High is a novel co-written with romance and fantasy author Elle Casey. She’s brilliant and a NYT bestselling author, so who knows why she agreed to write a book with me. I imagine she regrets that decision to this day. The book is very different from my other stuff and is more of a young adult novel than anything else. Elle is hilarious and her humor runs rampant throughout.

  1. Not only are you a writer, but you have several podcasts. How did Drinking With Jason, So Bad It’s Good, and most recently Final Guys come into being.

I initially started Drinking with Jason to meet other authors. Typically, I don’t do book signings or conventions, so I’m a bit on the outside when it comes to knowing others in the community. The podcast was a good way to spend an hour talking to my peers. Unfortunately, I don’t do the show as often as I should because scheduling artists for interviews is akin to herding cats.

So Bad It’s Good is just to express my love for bad movies. It’s an enormous amount of work with no return, but we have a blast doing it. It also suffers from painfully bad production quality, just like the movies we’re enjoying.

Final Guys is an idea I’ve had for a few years now, but finally decided to pounce on in 2017. I consume an enormous amount of horror and haven’t had an avenue to talk about it. Jack and Hunter suffer from the same horror obsession, which made them perfect for co-hosts. We have a lot of fun doing it and between the three of us, we’re able to curate a ton of movies, shows, and books which is hopefully useful to our listeners.

  1. Rumor has it you’re working on some new material. Can you give us a hint at what this is and when it might be ready for the public?

Devoured1-ebook-web I’m close to finishing the fourth book in my series, The Hunger. It’s actually the beginning of a new three-book arc that I’m hoping to finish by the end of the summer. After that, I have more to write in the Asher Benson series and have several ideas for standalone novels.

  1. Where can people find out more about all things Jason Brant?

www.authorjasonbrant.com is the best place. You can find my books and social media links there, along with my stupid side projects. And www.finalguys.com for the podcast and a bunch of horror movie and book reviews.

 

A Penny For Your Thoughts

I will be the first one to tell you that I do not like Hollywood remakes of the classics. Don’t try and fix what isn’t broken. Stop it! Just stop it! I won’t get into any particular ones because that’s not really what this post is about. Suffice to say, with MILLIONS of amazing Indie authors out there, there’s plenty of material Hollywood could get a hold of to create something original.

It was with this extreme prejudice in mind that I sat myself down a few weeks back and started to watch Penny Dreadful on Netflix. (Yes, I know I’m woefully behind on a lot of things – Netflix is one of them.) Right off the bat I’m greeted with Mina Murray, one of the main female leads in the classic novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Immediately after, Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his monster and Dorian Gray come waltzing into the story and I’m like, “Oh for Christ’s sake… seriously? Is that what this is about? How many frikken ways can these characters be ripped off and distorted in the feeblest way possible?”

Guess what, I’m almost to the end of Season 2 and LOVING IT! Nobody is more surprised than I am, believe you me. The writers of this program have really done an amazing job at breathing new life into these old classic characters. For me, it’s because they aren’t retelling the old tales, but making new plots, scenarios, and relationships between them that fit so well with the existing concept of the characters in question. The monsters suddenly aren’t really monsters. They are people with feelings and struggles and you want them to come out on top – well – more or less. A repugnant and powerful evil lurks at every corner, but the face of that darkness changes. You might think someone is all goodness and light in the beginning, but that could change when you find out exactly who and what they are behind the mask each and every one of them wears.

The atmosphere and settings are both seedy and sumptuous, beautiful and horrific. The acting is spot on. There is enough blood and gore to please those into splatter films and a generous helping of eroticism for those who like some of that with their Horror.

Enjoying this series and glad I pushed my way through the initial urge to shut it off and find something else as soon as I realized what I was getting myself into. I was wrong.

Penny Dreadful is a well-made original take on the classic Horror movie characters I grew up loving.

Well done, Netflix.

Movie Review – WAX (2014)

Movie Review – Wax (2014) Directed by Victor Matellano. Starring Jimmy Shaw, Jack Taylor, and Geraldine Chaplin.

Part Vincent Price’s “House of Wax”, part Hannibal Lecter, WAX invites the viewer to spend a single night inside an alleged haunted wax museum in Barcelona, Spain with journalist Mike through surveillance cameras, some strategically-placed cameras that Mike sets up, along with Mike’s personal hand-held. Mike agrees to be locked in for the night with no method of communication with the outside world other than a one-way telephone. The producer can call in, but he can’t call out.

What makes this museum just a little different is that one of the main displays depicts a still-living serial killer, Dr. Knox. But, don’t worry. He’s been caught and imprisoned. Along with his wax effigy, are a series of videos recorded by the killer himself, showing in rather gruesome details how he bound, gagged, and ate his victims while they were still alive. As the night progresses, odd things start to happen, items go missing and wax effigies have moved. But, his greatest horror comes when Mike looks at the surveillance camera focused on the Dr. Knox display – and the doctor’s figure is gone.

Mike has no way of getting out of the museum or calling for help. Fortunately, the producer calls periodically and he reports what’s going on to her. She assures him she’ll notify the authorities and get him out soon. In the meantime, just sit tight. Help is on the way! I promise!

I was rather enjoying WAX until about twenty minutes from the ending, then it kind of went South and became a little too predictable. The medical torture scenes were done reasonably well without being too utterly disgusting and there are a few decent T&A shots for those who like that in their Horror movies.  For a moment, it even felt a little Freddie Kruger-ish for some reason. The ending left me feeling somewhat disappointed, but it wasn’t the most horrible thing I’ve watched by a long shot.

There are enough mannequin\wax figure scenes to be kind of creepy, enough surgical gore to make you go ‘eww’ a few times, and a very suspenseful score that keeps you wondering what bit of weirdness was going to happen next. If you’re desperate to watch some Horror and nothing else seems worth the trouble, this will do in a pinch.

2 out of 5 Ravens.

The Raven Scale:
1 Raven: Yuck! Don’t eat that.
2 Ravens: Bread crumbs, but it’ll keep us alive.
3 Ravens: Oh, hey! Peanuts, popcorn and cat kibble!
4 Ravens: Lunch time pizza place dumpster. Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit, Fellas! Fresh Road Kill!

Tales Beyond The Hollow

Now that Dark Hollow Road is reaching the finish line of being out and about in the world, I thought I’d step back and recap on the other titles I have out there for those who may have missed something along the way.

Secrets of the Scarecrow Moon is a Murder-Mystery full of paranormal elements.
A mysterious death sends one investigator deep into her hometown’s dark and bloody past. It’s a past the local coven of witches would rather keep buried. Can justice be served or will the witches succeed in keeping their centuries-old secrets intact?
Available on Kindle and in paperback here: Secrets of the Scarecrow Moon

That’s What Shadows Are Made Of continues the paranormal Murder-Mystery theme.
Everyone thought the local undertaker was such a nice guy, until someone murdered him.
As the police look for a flesh and blood killer, a witches’ coven discovers dark magic may be the culprit. Is the shadowy figure being seen around town stalking for its next victim real or something much more diabolical?
Available on Kindle and in paperback here: That’s What Shadows Are Made Of

No Rest For The Wicked takes a sharp turn away from the previous two releases. Oh, there’s murder, but the mystery isn’t who did it, but the dark reasons behind the violent deaths.
Every ghost has a story. Not all of them want it told.
A sadistic doctor hell bent on controlling both the living and the dead, would rather keep his final year of life a closed book. It’s a classic ghost story with a twist; it’s told, in part, by the ghosts themselves.
Available on Kindle and in paperback here: No Rest For The Wicked

The Witch’s Backbone Part 1: The Curse is a creepy coming-of-age tale.
It’s 1980 and five friends take it upon themselves to prove there’s nothing to their local urban legend and its deadly curse. That legend has other ideas.
After one of their number believes she’s seen the local urban legend, five young friends head deep into the woods to prove it’s just a story. Except in trying to do so, they may have discovered this old wives tale isn’t quite so fictional. And if the subject of the legend is real, does that mean her deadly curse is, too?
Available on Kindle and in paperback here: The Witch’s Backbone Part 1: The Curse.

Dark Hollow Road is all that the name implies, a journey into the darkest hollows of the human condition, where the real monsters of this world are made.
In the quiet Pennsylvania countryside, on a dead end road, she waits.
What does the 1948 rape of an eight-year-old girl have to do with the disappearance of a six-year-old boy seventy years later? They have one thing in common, a house on Dark Hollow Road. Empty now, the house stands as a warning to all who dare enter and take from it what isn’t theirs.
Kindle pre-orders happening now. Paperback release Mar. 23: Dark Hollow Road 

Tonight’s The Night!

This is it, folks. We’re down to the wire.

Kindle pre-orders of my psychological horror novel DARK HOLLOW ROAD begin TONIGHT at midnight. (Alright, probably a few hours before that because I’m not going to stay up that late to hit the magic button.)

Check out the trailer then buy the book!

DARK HOLLOW ROAD – BOOK TRAILER

Don’t read eBooks – no worries. The FULL RELEASE happens MARCH 23rd. Between now and then I’m hoping to do something I’ve never done before … stay tuned!

Movie Review – The Ritual (2017)

Movie Review – The Ritual (2017) starring Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, and Sam Troughton. Directed by David Bruckner.

Five blokes: Rob, Phil, Dom, Hutch, and Luke, meet in a pub to discuss going on a trip together. Ideas are presented and rejected. Rob suggests a hiking trip in the wilds of Sweden. This too is rejected. On their way home, Rob and Luke stop at a store for another bottle of booze unaware that the place is being robbed. Rob is killed while Luke hides behind a shelf, cowering. This lack of bravery will go on to hunt him for a long time to come. In Rob’s memory, they decide to take the Swedish hiking trip. After Dom falls and injures his knee, they decide the quickest way back to civilization is through the woods, off the beaten path, deep into that place where things can go terribly, terribly bad – and they do.

It’s a cliché set up, to be sure, as the quartet quickly becomes lost and falls into fighting amongst themselves. Runic inscriptions begin to appear in trees, they hear and see something stalking them, something very, very big. Mayhem ensues. Nowhere is safe. The monster is pretty damn cool, I have to admit. I’d love to see a detailed shot of this thing in full light. I’d also like to know what the hell it was beyond the vague description one of the woodland locals gives it as a bastard child of Loki. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d not be at all tempted into worshiping this thing in anyway – sorry, I value my freedom too much to be enslaved to such a being regardless of the prize.

In the end, The Ritual left me unsatisfied. I get the symbolism regarding Luke’s journey to self-forgiveness and the inner demons he was battling even as he and his friends fought for their physical and mental well-being. It was okay and suspenseful and as I said, the monster was pretty damn awesome, but I wanted more explanation as to what it was and the why’s of it all.

2 out of 5 Ravens.

The Raven Scale:
1 Raven: Yuck! Don’t eat that.
2 Ravens: Bread crumbs, but it’ll keep us alive.
3 Ravens: Oh, hey! Peanuts, popcorn and cat kibble!
4 Ravens: Lunch time pizza place dumpster. Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit, Fellas! Fresh Road Kill!

Author Interview – Mark Cassell

UK author, Mark Cassell is the best-selling author of The Shadow Fabric, a novel so rich with dark mythos he couldn’t keep it contained in one book. From page one, I was sucked right in, thankfully not by the actual Shadow Fabric. I haven’t read a book so fast in a very long time and am eager to learn more about the world Mark’s created as well as the writer himself.

1.Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Mark. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started as a writer? Was it childhood dream or something you fell into more recently?

I blame my English teacher, Mr. Brown – Damn, that was way back in 1991. He told me I had more potential than just the class jester, so I wrote a werewolf story titled “Moons of Blood” and gave that to him. At first he accused me of plagiarism, but when he saw my scribbled notes he soon believed it was my work.

2.Every writer I know is also a big reader. What books were you reading as a young man that got you started down this dark road of horror? Which author’s influenced you the most to become a writer yourself

It was James Herbert and his magnificent novel, Magic Cottage that started it all. From there, Clive Barker and Brian Lumley massively inspired me. And I guess you can’t be a horror writer without reading at least one novel by Stephen King. These days, I don’t read as much as I’d like, though when I do I may occasionally pick these guys up again. Back to my roots, you know?

 

HellcatHolt

Hell Cat of the Holt: http://mybook.to/Holt

3.As I mentioned earlier, I just loved The Shadow Fabric. There’s got to be a mountain of research behind this whole series. What was the inspiration behind the story and mythos and how fleshed out was your research before you started to actually write it?

 

The Shadow Fabric as a title came to me in 1992 and it remained precisely that until 2013 when I figured I was big and ugly enough to start taking this writing game seriously.

As far as the research goes, I began jotting down all the typical horror tropes we’ve come to drown in. Anything to do with demonology and witchcraft, I set about turning it all on its head. I never intended to rewrite history, it just happened. It took hours of head scratching, planning and plotting.

Though I must say, I am shocked and humbled at how well received the Shadow Fabric mythos has become. And it’s still unravelling.

4.You haven’t limited yourself to strictly horror, either. You’ve also done a book of Sci-Fi short stories. Tell me a little bit about Chaos Halo 1.0: Alpha Beta Gamma Kill. Can fans of this genre look forward to anything more substantial from you in the future?

The guys from Future Chronicles are keen for me to pick this up again so one day there will be more. It was through their cosplayers that Chaos Halo became a thing. Maybe there’s a novel there somewhere.

 

CompanyOfFalseGods_Cassell

In the Company of False Gods: http://mybook.to/companyof

5. You’re most recent release, In The Company Of False Gods, looks very intriguing. You’ve dubbed it Lovecraftian Steampunk Horror. Would you explain more about what that actually means and could you give us the elevator pitch for this latest title?

 

Inspired by HP Lovecraft’s cosmic horrors, In the Company of False Gods is a novelette set in an alternate Victorian era. The story follows wheelchair-bound Attacus whose clockwork creation runs amok and leads him to the threshold between worlds.

6. Thanks for taking part, Mark. Where are all the best places to find out more about you and your work?

 

My website is the best place to visit: www.markcassell.co.uk

Thanks for having me!

More about Mark:

Mark Cassell lives in a rural part of the UK where he often dreams of dystopian futures, peculiar creatures, and flitting shadows. Primarily a horror writer, his steampunk, dark fantasy, and SF stories have featured in numerous reputable anthologies and zines. His best-selling debut novel The Shadow Fabric is closely followed by the popular short story collection Sinister Stitches and are both only a fraction of an expanding mythos of demons, devices, and deceit. The novella Hell Cat of the Holt further explores the Shadow Fabric mythos with ghosts and black cat legends.

The dystopian sci-fi short story collection, Chaos Halo 1.0: Alpha Beta Gamma Kill, is in association with Future Chronicles Photography where he works closely with their models and cosplayers. His latest release, In the Company of False Gods, is a Lovecraftian steampunk horror story about one man who had no idea his creation would take him to the threshold between worlds.

Mark’s work has been compared with British horror authors such as James Herbert, Clive Barker, Dennis Wheatley, and Brian Lumley. Also, his influences spread over to the US where he admits to having been first inspired by Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Dan Simmons, and H P Lovecraft.

Book Review – We Are Always Watching by Hunter Shea

Book Review – We Are Always Watching by Hunter Shea

After being hit by very hard times, fourteen-year-old West Ridley and his parents are forced to move in with his ornery grandfather, Abraham. As if living with the grumpy and less-than-hygienic old man isn’t bad enough, the old family farmhouse is falling to rot and ruin and Grandpa couldn’t care less. In fact, he seems to intentionally want to drive them out with insults and rage. But, the family has no other place to go and no money to get there if they did. Buttermilk Creek, Pennsylvania is the bottom of the barrel, isolated, creepy, and filled with more terror than even the Horror-loving West can take.

We Are Always Watching is loosely based on real events that Shea has taken and run with, twisting them into his own horrible version of a nightmare, as he does with all his work. He draws you into the confused world of West’s new reality. Family secrets start to leech to the surface while the long, hot, boredom-drenched days draw West to explore places he probably shouldn’t go. The more West finds out, the more he comes to realize he and his family need to get the hell out of Grampa Abraham’s house! Like, NOW!

I enjoyed being drawn in with West. Hunter did a great job of showing us the world as seen by a fourteen-year-old boy. That, in and of itself, was pretty frightening (and funny) at time. The secrets that dripped out were just enough to quench your thirst, just in time for another bout of terror to dry the back of your throat before another promised-drop of refreshment came into sight.

It kept me guessing and entertained throughout but it lacks that certain level of explosive and long-playing mayhem I’ve come to associate with Hunter’s cryptid-based novels. This was much more subtle. A much slower pace that pulled you in one little step at a time. I like that in a novel. It’s very much a slow-burn.

One  element I didn’t like has nothing whatsoever to do with the author’s skills or genuine talent, it’s the actual formatting of the book. I’ve never read a Sinister Grin publication before so I’ve no idea if it’s their normal practice to have the text double-spaced as it is here. It almost felt like a bit of a rip-off getting this nice, hefty book only to open it and realize it should have been about half the thickness had they single-spaced it like is normally done. I felt like I was reading a manuscript, not a finished novel.

All that in mind, I’m going to give We Are Always Watching

4 out of 5 Ravens.