Hunter Shea “The Dover Demon” Review

Posted: October 19, 2015 in Reviews, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

the-dover-demon

BOOK INFO

Length: 242 Pages

Release Date: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Review copy provided as part of The Dover Demon Blog Tour

2015 has been an exciting and busy year for Hunter Shea, who I am sure has to be part machine based on his crazy schedule! He has already released two great novels this year, the unique apocalyptic thriller Tortures of the Damned and the bone-chilling third novel of his Jessica Backman series Island of the Forbidden. This time around, Hunter tackles another famous cryptid in The Dover Demon.

Over a two night period in 1977, eyewitnesses in the rural town of Dover, Massachusetts reported seeing a mysterious and terrifying creature that defied any earthly explanation. The stories of a mysterious creature referred to as the Dover Demon filled cryptid hunters and tourists with wonder and they arrived in the town of Dover in droves, seeking to catch a glimpse of the legendary creature with their own eyes. But for Sam, his best friend Tank and their girlfriends Kelly and Stephanie, that two night period was more terrifying than exciting. On their way home from a double date at the movies on one of those fateful nights in 1977, they had their own encounter with the creature known as the Dover Demon. What they saw shattered their perception of reality and they vowed to never speak of it again and despite their best efforts to leave that experience in their past, that night changed their lives forever.

Sam Brogna, now in his fifties, owns a comic store and is married to Lacy, a businesswoman who is constantly trying to get him to go back to the corporate world he left behind to spend more time with his son, Nicky. Their marriage seems average, but tensions simmer below the surface as she judges her success on his and is embarrassed of his new career. However, the store helped Sam forge a strong bond with his son based on their mutual love of comic books and by working together daily in the store. Sam is still best friend with Tank Clay, who ended up marrying his high school sweetheart Stephanie. Tank and Sam used to get into trouble together as teenagers, but now the extent of their troublemaking involves them sneaking biscuits and gravy at the comic store and fearing the tongue lashing they may get from their wives. Tank followed in Sam’s footsteps by leaving his job as a high-powered CEO to chase his dream of being an archaeologist.

Despite Sam’s desire to move past his encounter with the Dover Demon, he sells copies of a book about the creature in his shop. Most of the townspeople hate the fact that outsiders flock to their town searching for the Dover Demon, but Sam almost seems proud that his comic book store is the one place in town that promotes the legend and harbors an interest in cryptids. His life seems to be perfect until a betrayal sends his life into a tailspin that causes him to run into his high school girlfriend Kelly Weathers.

Kelly has tried to forget that fateful night back in the ’70s, but the experience has rattled her so badly she has started drinking heavily and developed a bit of an obsession with Dover Demon sightings. She is afraid of the creature and despite living in a constant state of paranoia, she is determined to uncover the truth about what her and her friends saw all those years ago.

Sam’s son Nicky develops an interest in the Dover Demon and sets up a Google alert about the mysterious creature that lurks in the woods of Dover and that is when he stumbles across a new sighting, the first one in over 40 years. They were a series of blog posts from a man known only as Lando Solo, who Nicky recognizes as the man from his father’s comic shop that was asking questions about the Dover Demon a few days ago. The posts detail his trip to Dover and a sighting of the creature during a massive snowstorm a little after Thanksgiving. No one in town believes his story, so he turned to his blog in attempt to get the word out. The posts fascinate Nicky and inspire him, his best friend Roy and his sister Christine to go to the place of the sighting in an attempt to spot the Dover Demon for themselves.

Kelly also stumbles upon Lando’s blog posts and it startles her. She has been investigating any story that seems like it could be connected to the thing her and her friends saw years ago and she begins to think there is a pattern, that the creature her and her friends encountered has been appearing more frequently. These are all just suspicions she has until she reviews her security cameras footage from the previous night. It is then she discovers someone or something has left footprints in a perfect circle around her home. It was as if something was dropped from the sky, walked around her home and then vanished into thin air. She is unable to determine what left the tracks, but when she watches the footage from inside her home, she makes a shocking discovery that will change the lives of her and her friends. I don’t want to diminish the thrill that comes with reading this scene for readers, but I will say that while I was writing my notes for this review, I tagged this page with the words “nightmare fuel”. It was a truly terrifying scene that stuck with me even after I finished The Dover Demon and will probably pop up in my nightmares for the next several months.

Kelly shares her research with Sam, Tank and Stephanie in an attempt to warn them that the creature they saw back in 1977 may be coming back for them. They refuse to believe in Kelly’s theories until Nicky and Christine go missing after searching for the creature themselves. Fearing the worst, the four old friends set out to rescue Nicky and Christine and are plunged into a reality bending fight for survival.

What initially scared me the most about reading this book was the Dover Demon’s resemblance to an alien. As a horror fan, I pride myself on not being scared of much, but the stories surrounding aliens and particularly this type, scares me more than just about anything. I grew up reading about cryptids of all forms and the story surrounding the Dover Demon stuck with me through the years based on the unusual facts that make it stand out from other sightings.

The setting and atmosphere that Hunter creates in The Dover Demon is perfect and adds a creepy factor to the story. The small town setting and relative seclusion really helps lend itself to this story. I live in a small town and I couldn’t help but imagine this story taking place right in my back yard, which made it even more frightening.

I really loved Hunter’s take on the Dover Demon as well. I picked up this novel expecting a straightforward alien novel, which would have been fine by me, but ended up being treated to something different and original. Hunter does make some allusions to the Dover Demon being an alien of some sort in the early chapters of the book, but as the story goes on, the truth behind what the Dover Demon is becomes a little bit murkier. I personally liked the ambiguity that surrounds the creature and thought Hunter did an excellent job of staying true to the events that inspired the novel while putting his own terrifying spin on it.

Also as a fan of creepy, unexplained mysteries and stories, I loved the approach Hunter took with his characters. Often times with cryptid sightings or other unexplained phenomena, we hear the stories about the sighting and once the creature is gone or the phenomena is over, that is the last you hear about these people and the situations they have gone through. Hunter sets his story in the aftermath of the Dover Demon sightings which is an interesting style choice. We learn about the groups interactions with the Dover Demon through brief flashbacks interspersed throughout the story. I thought it was awesome that Hunter decided to dig explore the “what happens after” aspect of paranormal sightings. We learn about the characters immediate reactions to seeing the creature, but the most interesting parts of the story is seeing how that fleeting moment changed them forever. Each character handles the aftermath differently – Kelly spirals into paranoia and alcohol dependence, Tank pushes it from his memory but subtly searches for answers by becoming an archaeologist, Stephanie blocks it out completely and Sam handles it in a unique way that I don’t want to spoil for readers. Even when the Dover Demon returns after a nearly 40 year absence, the characters are still undergoing a process of moving on and understanding. They take their experiences from years ago and approach the situation from a different perspective. They are older and have seen this creature before, so they use what little knowledge they have from their personal experience to deal with the creatures.

It is no secret that I love Hunter’s work and The Dover Demon is another excellent entry to his impressive collection of releases. The thing that I love most about Hunter’s books is his obvious love and passion for the subjects he writes about. If you read any of his interviews or watch his great podcast Monster Men with Jack Campisi, you will learn that Hunter is a huge fan of all things horror and the unexplained. As someone who shares similar interests, it is pretty cool to read a book that seems tailor-made for those who are fascinated with the unexplained. There were a few instances where I was confused after the group encounters the Dover Demon the second time around, but it didn’t significantly impact my enjoyment of the story. If you are a fan of cryptids, aliens or just enjoy a good story that will scare the hell out of you, be sure to squeeze The Dover Demon into your Halloween reading list!

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for your chance to win a signed copy of this awesome book!

Rating: 4.5/5

LINKS

Hunter Shea’s Official Website

Samhain Horror Official Website

Purchase The Dover Demon: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain or your favorite bookstore!

Dover Demon tour logo

Follow along the tour using the hashtags #TheDoverDemon #HunterSheaLovesCryptids #Monsters #Cryptozoology #cryptids

Hunter-loren-museum

A trip Hunter Shea made to the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine two years ago sparked the idea for THE DOVER DEMON. While he was there, he met famed cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman and talked about creatures he’s personally investigated. It turns out, he was the man on the scene in Dover, MA in the late 70s when the uber strange biped was spotted by several people over the course of two nights in April, Hunter reported. He also gave it its name, Dover Demon. 

Now, Hunter’s fictional world of The Dover Demon has been published as a novel and he was able to go back to the museum of cryptids in August and have a launch party for the book with Loren Coleman! To read more about that and see photos, head over to his site via this link: http://huntershea.com/2015/08/30/the-dover-demon-raises-his-round-little-head-cryptid-novel-release-day/

 

The Dover Demon Info and Synopsis

  • File Size: 1032 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (September 1, 2015)
  • Publication Date: September 1, 2015

The Dover Demon is real…and it has returned.

In 1977, Sam Brogna and his friends came upon a terrifying, alien creature on a deserted country road. What they witnessed was so bizarre, so chilling, they swore their silence. But their lives were changed forever.

Decades later, the town of Dover has been hit by a massive blizzard. Sam’s son, Nicky, is drawn to search for the infamous cryptid, only to disappear into the bowels of a secret underground lair. The Dover Demon is far deadlier than anyone could have believed. And there are many of them. Can Sam and his reunited friends rescue Nicky and battle a race of creatures so powerful, so sinister, that history itself has been shaped by their secretive presence?

Praise for Hunter Shea

This wholly enthralling hulk of a summer beach read is redolent of sunscreen and nostalgia, recalling mass market horror tales of yore by John Saul, Dean Koontz, and Peter Benchley.” — Publishers Weekly — Voted one of the best reads of summer, on The Montauk Monster

“Bloody good read!  This guy knows his monsters!”- Eric S Brown, author of Bigfoot War and Boggy Creek: The Legend is True, on Swamp Monster Massacre

 

About Hunter Shea 

hunter-shea-photo

Hunter Shea is the author of the novels The Montauk MonsterTortures of the Damned, Sinister EntityForest of ShadowsSwamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal,  and The Dover Demon. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, and the Cemetery Dance anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. He’s currently working on or completed a few more manuscripts set to come.

His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on.

Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, cryptid and ghost hunters, directors, and anyone else living in the horror lane.

He lives in New York with his family and vindictive cat. He waits with Biblical patience for the Mets to win a World Series. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at www.huntershea.com or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Giveaways

On this tour, win one signed print copy of The Dover Demon if you are in the U.S.! Just sign-up at the Rafflecopter link below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjIx/?

 

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