Hunter Shea “I Kill in Peace” Review

Posted: April 12, 2016 in Reviews, Uncategorized
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BOOK INFO

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Length: 104 Pages

Release Date: April 12, 2016

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour for I Kill in Peace

Longtime readers of The Horror Bookshelf know that I am a huge fan of Hunter Shea’s books, so when I was asked to be on the blog tour for I Kill in Peace, I jumped at the chance! I remember reading Hunter’s blog posts about this novella back in February and hearing him describe it as something different and that he was worried certain parts might get the axe. Now, as a horror fan, hearing stuff like that sent my anticipation for  I Kill in Peace into overdrive! As for it being different, I wasn’t worried about that in the slightest. I know that every time I get my hands on a copy of Hunter’s work, no matter what it is about, I am going to going on one hell of an adventure!

Peter Blades is an everyday average family man. He has a beautiful wife and daughter he loves and a steady job. His life seems to be going well until the day he begins getting mysterious messages from a person known only as “AO”. The first interaction with AO happens with an instant message from AO warning Peter that he will lose his job at the end of the work day. Peter initially shrugs off the message thinking the message was meant for someone else. However, when AO uses his name and keeps sending him messages, Peter thinks it is a co-worker playing a sick joke on him. However, he is shaken when he is called to Marcellus Hanson’s office at the end of the day and  laid off. How did this AO know what was going to happen to him well before it actually happened? After being let go, Peter continues receiving messages from AO and they carry a sinister message – ordering him to kill his boss.

Peter tries his best to ignore the messages, but they keep popping up on his phone, his computer and even his iPad. Every time Peter thinks about ignoring AO, he is crippled by intense pain and visions of fire until he surrenders to the will of AO. On his way to his first mission, he is provided a brand new red Mustang and AO is able to speak to him through the car’s Bluetooth capabilities. When he arrives at Hanson’s house, AO tells Peter to check the backseat and it is there Peter finds his weapon – an ancient sword that gives him a swagger to carry out the killings. Although he is shaken to the core by his first murder, when he gets home, he shares a passionate moment with his wife and momentarily forgets his guilt.

Just when it seems like Peter has escaped AO, the messages start rolling in again and Peter is tasked with carrying out AO’s murderous orders. While Peter struggles with the guilt of killing random people at first, Peter quickly finds that he needs to keep killing in order to feel fulfilled. Meanwhile, as Peter keeps getting new missions from AO, there are reports of strange events popping up all over the country. As Peter’s life begins spiraling out of control, he begins to question if AO is real or if this is all part of his mind slowly coming unraveled.

I Kill in Peace is a bit of a departure for Shea, but it is an excellent novella that keeps you hooked from the first page. While Hunter has tackled everything from ghosts and cryptids to an apocalyptic scenario, this novella is a very unique take on the slasher genre. Everything about Peter screams normal, he is the last person you would expect to pick up a sword and go on a crazed killing spree. Not only that, it isn’t like he harbors some sort of inner darkness or that he uses his appearance as a camouflage. He truly is a harmless person who is driven to commit these brutal acts of vengeance due to the whims of the mysterious AO. He is also unable to confess his crimes or attempt to take any responsibility, which makes this stand out from your standard slasher story. I don’t want to give too much away on why he is unable to take responsibility, but it is a pretty clever style choice that helped add another level of mystery to Peter and his relationship to AO.

The other thing that makes this novella interesting is the common thread that links Peter’s victims. Each person that AO orders Peter to kill has done horrible things to other people. I don’t want to give too much away about what these people have done, but the official synopsis does state that one of them was a would-be school shooter. This makes the novella interesting because of how it toys with the emotions of Peter and the readers. It is horrifying that Peter is able to go from mild-mannered “everyman” to homicidal vigilante almost as soon as he picks up the sword. What makes Peter’s predicament interesting is the fact that these people all have a sinister streak in their daily lives that goes unnoticed. Peter feels guilty for committing these murders and he struggles with the decision to confess his crimes and risk losing everything he cares about, but at the same time, he tries to rationalize his actions with the fact that these people have done some truly awful things.

The mystery surrounding AO really drew me into this story and it drove me crazy trying to figure out who it was. AO is seemingly able to predict the future with eerie accuracy when they tell Peter of his firing hours before it happens. That in and of itself could lead to a variety of different possibilities a disgruntled co-worker seeking to cause havoc in Peter’s life or his best friend playing a practical joke on him. However, as the novella progresses and the body count begins to stack up, the possibilities of who AO is are endless. I will admit that for a fleeting second, when AO began speaking to Peter through the Bluetooth in the Mustang, I thought it was going to be some sort of murderous version of Kitt from Knight Rider or an homage to Stephen King’s Christine.

What makes the mystery of AO’s true identity so great is that Shea leaves clues throughout the entire novella. The events of I Kill in Peace are so damn entertaining though, that I blasted right by them. When I got to the end and finally fit all the pieces of the puzzle together, I was kicking myself for not figuring it out sooner, but it made the ending of the novella that much more enjoyable. I also realize that I am probably the only person that will care about this, but I think it is awesome that Peter drives a Chevy Lumina. My very first car was a red ’92 Lumina and man did seeing that name bring back some nostalgia for me!

I Kill in Peace delivers a fast-paced narrative that offers copious amounts of blood, mystery and mayhem that will make this a fun read for any horror fan and gets my highest recommendation. Hunter has already released two top-notch novellas for 2016 with They Rise and now I Kill in Peace, so I can’t wait to check out The Jersey Devil near the end of the summer!

Rating: 5/5

LINKS

Hunter Shea’s Official Website

Samhain Horror Official Website

Purchase I Kill in Peace: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain or your favorite bookstore!

I Kill In Peace tour graphic

Use these hashtags to help spread the word about I Kill in Peace! – #IKillInPeace #HunterShea #evilancientswords

I Kill in Peace Synopsis

Killing gets easier…with practice. 

Peter Blades is, in every sense of the word, an ordinary man. Hard worker, father, husband, a man content with small-town life. Except for one small fact—he’s slowly being turned into a ruthless killer.

Compelled by mysterious texts to murder, he’s provided a fiery red Mustang and an ancient sword to carry out an ever-growing hit list. His jerkoff boss is victim number one. You always remember your first.

By the time his sword sings through the air to dispatch a would-be school shooter, taking lives is as easy as breathing. And if the world is going to hell around him, all the better. No one wants to burn alone.

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

“Hunter Shea is a great writer, highly entertaining, and definitely in the upper echelon in the current horror scene. Many other writers mention either loving his work and/or having the man influence their own, and for just cause. His writing suits anyone with a taste for the dark and terrifying!” –Zakk at The Eyes of Madness/The Mouth of Madness Podcast

About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea 2

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weaned on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself.

Publishers Weekly named The Montauk Monster one of the best reads of the summer in 2014, and his follow up novel, Hell Hole, was named best horror novel of the year on several prestigious horror sites. Cemetery Dance had this to say about his apocalyptic thriller, Tortures of the Damned – “A terrifying read that left me wanting more. I absolutely devoured this book!”

Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. Copies of his books, The Montauk Monster and The Dover Demon, are currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME.

He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years.

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, crytid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane.

Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hot dogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

You can follow his travails at www.huntershea.com, sign-up for his newsletter, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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