Thursday 28 April 2016

The Hit List - Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is one of my favourite authors. He always delivers a scary, suspenseful, rattling good tale and his latest - I Kill in Peace - is no exception. I am proud to welcome him to my blog today. The stage is yours, Hunter:

Some people have a bucket list. 

I have a hit list. 

Maybe not the best thing to say, especially from a guy who studied and practiced Buddhism for 7 years, but I’m trying to be honest here. Now, I’m a laid back guy – a family man with a solid day job and a closet devoid of skeletons (ok, maybe a few stray bones, but nothing you don’t have in your own!). I’m not the type to hold a grudge, write people off, or rant on social media or op-ed pages. 

My list doesn’t contain the names of particular people. For those of you who thought you might be on it, you can exhale now. No, my hit list is more general, and it contains types of people and things. Care to talk a walk down my hit list? Quick, hold my hand. 

Now, I think most of society would agree with the following types that need to go. These types bring nothing to the table but sorrow and anguish and broken lives. I’ll start with an easy one – child predators. These bastards are so reviled, even prisoners hate them. Let’s just get rid of them. Maybe we can colonize Venus and send them there, kinda like an interplanetary Australia, only hotter. And while we’re on the subject, let’s throw in rapists, male and female. Get aboard the shuttle! The inflight movie will be Ernest Scared Stupid on a continuous loop. 

School shooters need to go. Hell, anyone who thinks shooting at masses of people on a campus, movie theater or mall is a good idea gets a one way ticket. 

Bullies, especially punks in middle grade and high school. My kids endured that shit for years. Bye bye. 

I’d like to say politics and politicians, but we need a governing body to kind of hold things together. So let’s whack the political process and straighten things out. And I’m adding political correctness to the list. It’s a coward’s way of thinking and speaking and acting. Dumb idea that’s gone on too long. 

Diseases like cancer, AIDS, diabetes, lupus, you name it. Hit the road. You’ve been axed. No one asked for you. You won’t be missed. 

You see where I’m going with my list? I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that if you made your own, we’d pretty much mirror one another. 

It was a Christmas break spent thinking of my hit list that inspired my latest novella, I KILL IN PEACE. There’s so much wrong with our society. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was someone who could set things right? Enter Peter Blades, an everyman with a scimitar, fiery red Mustang, and a whole lot of bad things running through his brain.
For every action Peter takes, there’s the inevitable reaction, only he’s not sure what that is. If I did it right, you won’t either until the very end. So scribble down your list and hop in Peter’s muscle car. Sometimes, it’s good to let the Id run free. 

 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.


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, sign-up for his newsletter, or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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

Purchase Links

 Follow along this tour with the hashtags: #IKillinPeace #HunterShea #evilancientswords

Tuesday 26 April 2016

An Author's Early Influences - Matthew Franks

Matthew Franks' new novel The Monster Underneath has been one of my favourite reads so far this year - and with so much great new horror around, that's saying a lot. He's an exciting new talent. Here he talks about his early influences and you can find out more about his latest book:

The year was 1984. I was eight years old and my preferred reading material was Mad Magazine. I discovered many movies through that magazine. For example, the legendary Mort Drucker's famous parody of The Godfather led me to later watch the film and changed my life forever. It was in that same year that I saw two other movies that would also impact me in such a way that they set the stage for a novel I would write thirty years later.

The first film, Dreamscape, introduced me to the idea of someone entering and participating in another person's dreams, a.k.a. dreamwalking. In this classic movie, Dennis Quaid plays a psychic that uses his abilities to assist the great Max Von Sydow in developing a program to help people work through their dreams. This is all good and well until a fellow psychic played by Twin Peaks alumnus David Patrick Kelly enters the picture and conspires in a plot to murder the president in his dreams, thus stopping him from signing a peace treaty with the Soviets that would eliminate the need to produce more nuclear weapons. In the end, the two psychics face off in an epic battle of good versus evil complete with a terrifying snake-man and unresolved father issues. 

In retrospect, wrapping such a high concept around my eight-year-old head didn't prove as difficult as actually seeing the movie. Given its "PG-13" rating, I had to prove to my parents that it was okay for me to see five years before the suggested viewing age. Luckily, the poster for the movie looked like an Indiana Jones type adventure (brilliant marketing by the way). Seriously, you could transfer Kate Capshaw’s image to the movie poster for Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom standing behind Harrison Ford and no one would know the difference. But I digress. Since I'd already watched Raiders of the Lost Ark and lived to tell the tale, I was able to watch Dreamscape unhindered by the MPAA.

Seeing the next film I'm going to discuss, however, didn't prove so easy. To see it, I would have to be more tactful, even cunning. I would have to call upon an ancient resource that many a young person went to in times of desperation. I would have to call upon my friend-with-the-permissive-parent and watch it at his house. And that's how A Nightmare on Elm Street came into my life. 

Like Dreamscape, the horror classic incorporated dreamwalking into the story. Only, in this case, there was no good supernatural power to combat the bad. In this case, it was straight up evil in the form of horror icon Freddy Kruger played by the incomparable Robert Englund. For roughly an hour and a half, I witnessed helpless teenagers getting murdered in their dreams and ultimately never stopping their pursuer. After all, horror isn't necessarily about defeating evil. Sometimes evil wins and comes back again and again and again. And then it's a franchise.

Years later, other dreamwalker movies came along. There was The Cell, which was visually stunning and featured Jennifer Lopez in a wetsuit. Then there was the hugely successful Christopher Nolan film, Inception. I enjoyed both films but not as much as Dreamscape and A Nightmare on Elm Street. There was something about seeing them when I was younger that, one day, ignited a spark to create a dreamwalker story of my own. I hope you'll check it out. 

Reality can be the difference between a dream and a nightmare…

Max Crawford isn’t a typical prison therapist. He uses his unusual psychic ability to walk with convicts through their dreams, reliving their unspeakable crimes alongside them to show them the error of their ways.

Max always has to be on his toes to keep himself grounded, but the FBI agent waiting for him in his private office immediately puts him on edge. The bureau wants Max to go way outside his comfort zone to enter the dreams of suspected serial killer William Knox.

To get a confession and secure the future of his prison program, Max must gain Knox’s trust by any means necessary—and survive the minefield of secrets waiting inside a murderer’s mind. Secrets that could turn Max’s reality into a living nightmare. 

Biography of Matthew Franks

Matthew Franks lives in Arlington, Texas with his beautiful wife and children. He studied psychology and creative writing at Louisiana State University then obtained a Master’s Degree in counseling from Texas State University. When he’s not working on his next story, he’s counseling adolescents or trying to keep up with his three highly energetic daughters. You can connect with Matthew at:

Praise for The Monster Underneath
“An assured, gripping, totally engaging debut, Matthew Franks will have you burning through the pages of this taut supernatural thriller at breakneck speed. If Christopher Nolan and Stephen King ever teamed up to write a novel, this would be it. Highly recommended!” –Ronald Malfi, author of Little Girls

“What if you could see inside the dreams of anyone you came in contact with? Would you dare to look? Could you handle the things you’d find within? The Monster Underneath is a real nail-biter – one of those ever-spiraling stories that you just can’t put down until you reach the surprising end!” –John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Covenant and The Family Tree

“The Monster Underneath is an intense and clever debut in which reality is more terrifying than the nightmares and twisted dreamscapes of a madman. Author Matthew Franks is a name to remember, his stories you won’t soon forget.” –Rena Mason, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Evolutionist and East End Girls

“Matthew Franks’ debut novel takes you through the darkest, twisted alleys of a killer’s mind and then drags you several steps further, beyond the status of observer and into the disturbing realm of accomplice. A harrowing tale of murder and delusion and moral ambiguity.” –Hank Schwaeble, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Damnable, Diabolical, and the dark thriller collection, American Nocturne

Purchase Links

Amazon US

Amazon Australia

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble


Follow the tour, using the hashtags: #TheMonsterUnderneath #psychologicalhorror #dreamsvsnightmares