Posts Tagged ‘Hell Hole’

I am excited to welcome back Hunter Shea to The Horror Bookshelf! Hunter is back with a guest post about his latest novel, Hell Hole, and the Weird West genre. I am a huge fan of Hunter’s work, and Hell Hole is a wild thrill ride of a novel that is packed with horrifying entities and a must- read for horror fans. You can check out my review here if you happened to miss it the first time around. Check out his post below to learn about the Weird West genre, the inspiration behind Hell Hole and some other great authors! Be sure to pick up a copy of Hell Hole, I would also like to give a very big thank you to Hunter for his awesome guest post and to Erin Al-Mehairi of Hook of a Book Media & Publicity for allowing me to take part in the tour!

Weird West meets Hell Hole

Hell Hole

Did you know there was a subgenre of horror/sci-fi called Weird West? I actually had no idea these types of stories had a specific classification, even though I’d read a few books and had written my own, Hell Hole.

Now, what is Weird West fiction? According to our old friend, Wikipedia, it’s defined as : “a literary sub-genre that combines elements of the Western with another literary genre,[1] usually horror, occult, or fantasy.”

My first experience with this very special, wonderfully strange genre, was through comic books in the 70’s and 80’s, all within the pages of Jonah Hex – that burned up, seemingly immortal arbiter of justice in the wild west. As a kid, I just thought he was cool as hell, a superhero that was also a cowboy and mean as a pitbull. Jonah Hex combined my love for cowboy tales and horror.

As I got older, I found the amazing tales of Joe R. Lansdale, one of my literary heroes, in my local library. The first book I read was Zeppelins West, a mélange of western, horror, science fiction and humor. I’d never read anything like it and was blown away. I promised myself that one day, I’d write a book in that same vein, as Lansdale seemed to have the same loves as me. My practice run was my college honors thesis on cowboy culture in America. No horror there, but at least I was getting the history down.

Cut to many moons later. Embarking on my fifth book for Samhain Publishing, I said, “It’s time, dammit. Let’s circle the wagons, build a fire and tell one whopper of a tale.” Over the course of 3 feverish months, I spun the story of Hell Hole. Set in 1905, a decade after the official days of the wild west were dead and gone, a hero was born in the person of Nat Blackburn, former cowboy, Apache scout, Rough Rider and now New York copper. Of course, he had to have a right hand man, a mysterious bad ass called Teta, a Dominican gun for hire who had saved Nat’s life in Cuba under Colonel Roosevelt.

Sending them into what is today an actual abandoned mining town, Hecla, Wyoming, I threw the kitchen sink at my boys. Writing it was like immersing myself in absolute stream of conscious. The story is littered with ghosts, black-eyed kids, wild men (what we call Bigfoot today), and so many other bizarre creatures, I almost couldn’t keep up. When people asked me what I was writing, I’d say, “Uh, well, it’s this kind of horror western with lots of nuttiness and men being men.”

If I only knew I could have answered the question with 2 simple words : Weird West. That would have made things so much easier.

So now I’m one of those Weird West guys, along with writers like Lansdale, Eric Red and Jonathan Janz. That’s some pretty good company.

Think I’ll go out and buy me a new spittoon.

About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the author of paranormal and horror novels Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal and Sinister Entity, which are all published by Samhain Horror. The June 3, 2014 release of his horrifying thrillerMontauk Monster is published by Kensington/Pinnacle.

He has also written a short story to be read prior to Sinister Entity, called The Graveyard Speaks (it’s free, go download!), and a book of stories called Asylum Scrawls. His next book from Samhain Horror, titled Hell Hole, is set to come out in August 2014 and is his first western horror.

His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, and the upcoming anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. 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.

He is also half of the two men show, Monster Men, which is a video podcast that takes a fun look at the world of horror. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at www.huntershea.com, on Twitter @HunterShea1, Facebook fan page at Hunter Shea or the Monster Men 13 channel on YouTube.

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Hell Hole

BOOK INFO

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Length: 282 Pages

Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Hell Hole is the story of former Rough Rider and current New York City Cop Nat Blackburn and his journey on a mission from his old war pal, President Theodore Roosevelt. The mission is seemingly simple: head to a little town called Hecla in Wyoming. Roosevelt tells Nat that the town was a huge source of copper and other minerals, causing it to explode in growth overnight. However, the copper veins eventually dried up and Hecla collapsed, despite rumors of gold being found in the mines. Not only did the town’s prosperity fall apart, but the residents of Hecla disappeared without a trace. Naturally, Nat thinks it is because of something easily explainable like Indians scaring off the settlers, who they see as intruders on their land. Roosevelt dashes that theory when he reports that he sent a troop to investigate and they reported that even the Indians were terrified of the desolate town. To make matters worse, shortly after their report, the squad disappeared without a trace. So, with that, Roosevelt enlists Nat to head to Hecla in order to find out what is going on and how to best extract the gold from the hills for a fledgling United States that desperately needs more wealth. When Nat and his longtime friend Teta arrive in Hecla, it becomes clear that their mission is anything but simple and there is something evil lurking in the abandoned mines of the town.

Shea blends all of the best action elements of the western genre with the sinister edge of horror to create a book that is an absolute blast to read and impossible to put down. What makes all of Hunter’s stories so enjoyable is that he does not waste any time bringing you right into the action, giving you a glimpse of the evil waiting deep within Hecla’s caves within the very first chapter. Even when we learn the backstories of the characters and the town, there is no lull in the intrigue that drives Hell Hole. By giving a lot of the background from Nat’s point of view, these little tidbits are every bit as interesting as the main plot.

The characters in Hell Hole are, simply put, awesome. Nat and Teta are two no-nonsense badasses that forged a life-long friendship during their time in war together fighting Spain. Their friendship feels very realistic and it is obvious that they would literally follow each other to hell and back. What makes them my favorite characters is that despite the adversity they face in Hecla, they not only don’t give up, they relish the challenge. There are moments where they are terrified by what they see happening around them, but instead of tucking their tails between their legs and heading home, they use the hardships they encounter as fuel in order to destroy the source of the evil in Hecla.

Not only were the action sequences  awesome and highly entertaining, but from a horror standpoint, Hell Hole is everything you could possibly want. I mean the story is jam-packed with a host of horrifying entities including extremely creepy children with black eyes, Bigfoot-esque creatures and others that I don’t want to spoil for those who have yet to read the novel. Hell Hole comes with my highest recommendation and is a great starting point for those interested in checking out Hunter’s work. This story begs to be up on the big screen, so if by some small chance any movie producers are out there reading this, give Hunter a call!

Rating: 5/5

Links:

Hunter Shea’s Official Website

Samhain Horror’s Official Website

Purchase Hell Hole on Amazon

 

Summer is now just a month away which means it is time for me to begin winding down my “Most Anticipated Summer Reads” series! Last month’s installment included books from John F.D. Taff, Tim Curran and Stephen Lloyd Jones. This time around I will be featuring Tana French, Mark Matthews and Hunter Shea!

secret place

Tana French The Secret Place (September 2) from Viking Adult

The Secret Place is the fifth novel in Tana French’s outstanding series of crime novels that focus on the Dublin Murder Squad and this time the focus is on Detective Stephen Moran as he attempts to solve the year-old murder of Chris Harper, armed with little more than a mysterious photo of the victim with the caption “I know who killed him.”

I debated on whether or not to include this book because it comes out right on the borderline of summer and fall, but I had to make an exception for one of my favorite mystery writers! French’s novels are highly addictive reads that are nearly impossible to put down once you start them due to the depth of her characters and absolutely brilliant plot twists. While French’s novels are not classified as horror novels, they usually offer terrifying glimpses  into the real-life horrors that other people are capable of. French also has a tendency to add subtle, creepy additions that would be right at home in a horror novel – Rob Ryan’s mysterious childhood memories in In The Woods and the unidentified noises originating in the Spain’s attic come to mind.

I highly recommend all of French’s novels in the Dublin Murder Squad series and I can’t wait to see what she has in store with The Secret Place!

milkblood

Mark Matthews Milk-Blood (Summer 2014) from Wicked Run Press

Milk-Blood is the upcoming horror novel from Mark Matthews and after reading his heart-pounding novel On The Lips of Children, this quickly became one of my most anticipated reads! Here is a synopsis from the author:

Lilly is ten years old, born with a heart defect, and already addicted to heroin. Her mother is gone from her life, and there are rumors that she was killed by her father and buried near the abandoned house across the street. The house intrigues her, she can’t stay away, and the monstrous homeless man who lives there has been trying to get Lilly to come inside.

For her mother is there, buried in the back, and this homeless man is Lilly’s true father, and both want their daughter back.“

I read Matthews’ prequel, The Damage Done (available for free on Amazon), and it blends the horrors of addiction with a supernatural element to create a unique and horrifying short story that sets the stage for Milk-Blood, which is sure to be a truly terrifying and gripping read from this extremely talented author.

Hell Hole

Hunter Shea Hell Hole (July 1) from Samhain Publishing

This is the second time Hunter Shea has made my “Most Anticipated Summer Reads” list (The Montauk Monster was listed in Part 1) which isn’t surprising considering the slew of excellent novels he has published.

Hell Hole is the story of New York City Cop Nat Blackburn and his journey to Hecla, Wyoming on a mission from President Theodore Roosevelt. Hecla is an abandoned mining town that draws in explorers and fortune-hunters seeking to recover the supposed gold hidden deep within the depths of the mine, but those who venture into the mine are never heard from again. Nat and his partner Teta arrive in Hecla only to encounter “black-eyed children, strange lights and ferocious wild men” lurking within the cave.

I am a bit of a history buff, so Hell Hole’s historical western setting drew me in right away and I can’t wait to sit down and read Hell Hole this summer!