Hunter Shea is one of those horror authors who just keeps getting it right. By ‘it’, I mean the formula for terrifying reads. The tales he weaves will force your heart to race and your breath to catch in your throat. His bibliography is growing at a rapid rate, and, thankfully, his talent level is keeping pace. And if you’re not scared by his prose now, give him a bit…I’ll bet he will find a way to chill your blood soon enough.
TORTURES OF THE DAMNED, a recent book from Pinnacle, is just such a story. A post-apocalyptic tale like no other, this book will force you to reconsider your own humanity and make you wonder just how far you would go to survive.
If you are not familiar with TORTURES OF THE DAMNED, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Pinnacle Books:
First, the electricity goes—plunging the east coast in darkness after a devastating nuclear attack. Millions panic. Millions die. They are the lucky ones.
Next, the chemical weapons take effect—killing or contaminating everything alive. Except a handful of survivors in a bomb shelter. They are the damned.
HELL IS FOR HUMANS
Then, the real nightmare begins. Hordes of rats force two terrified families out of their shelter—and into the savage streets of an apocalyptic wasteland. They are not alone. Vicious, chemical-crazed animals hunt in packs. Dogs tear flesh, cats draw blood, horses crush bone. Roaming gangs of the sick and dying are barely recognizable as human. These are the times that try men’s souls. These are the tortures that tear families apart. This is hell on earth. The rules are simple: Kill or die.
I’ve read several of Shea’s books, and I have to admit that this one is a bit different than his usual fare. This one is way more graphic and way more brutal. These are not negative aspects at all, either…in fact, they help amp up the intensity.
TORTURES OF THE DAMNED is written well and flows at a nice clip. The mass market paperback book measures in at 439 pages, but there’s not much fluff within the pages to push it so. Instead, Shea focuses on a taut, well-knit story that entertains and thrills.
The characters are believable, broken people who are pushed almost beyond their limits for survival. I found it interesting to see the transformations they have to undergo in order to make it through their ordeal. By the end, most of the characters are completely different people than when the book starts.
The story in TORTURES OF THE DAMNED is engrossing and tense, a flurry of conflicts and horrific encounters that will leave even the heartiest of horror readers cowering. I was surprised by the outcome of several engagements, and at certain points, I had to put the book down and walk away for a few moments. The tension is that palpable, a testament to the writing skills of a talented author.
TORTURES OF THE DAMNED is a major win for me, and it’s another fine addition to Shea’s library of titles. If he can keep delivering top-notch thrills like this, he is sure to go down in literary history as an icon of the horror genre. The book is available now in a variety of formats.