Reviews of dark fiction (Under Construction)

Shelter For the Damned by Mike Thorn

Having read and been a big fan of Darkest Hours by this author, I was excited to read this, his first full length novel. I was not disappointed!

Mark and his friends discover a shack in the middle of a field. From that moment on, Mark is obsessed with it. Obsessed with how the shack makes him feel. Obsessed with spending every moment he can there. Then, the shack starts asking him to do things-bad things. Will he do them or will he come to his senses? You’ll have to read this to find out!

This all sounds rather straightforward, but it’s really not. This isn’t your basic coming of age novel where everything is nostalgic and beautiful. SHELTER FOR THE DAMNED is brutal in some ways, but also quite realistic. Mark and his friends are “normal” teens up to a point. None of them really gets along with their parents and in one case, the father is downright abusive. Mark’s father isn’t happy-go-lucky either. I found it interesting that everyone, and I mean everyone in the book knew about the abusive father and no one did anything about it. In some ways, “minding your business” even in the face of monstrous acts, is still a thing.

The psychological change in Mark as the book progressed was fascinating. Staring out as “normal,” (whatever you take that to be), and becoming more and more violent, this reader was wondering if it all could be blamed on the shack and its secrets, or was this sociological in nature? And what about those shack secrets? What was happening in there, exactly? Was it something purely in Mark’s mind or was it real? I got a distinct cosmic horror vibe at some points, a crazy psycho vibe at others, (perhaps schizophrenia?), and pure confusion and obsession on MY part, because I had to keep reading-I needed answers. Just like Mark.

That aside though, I think any fan of coming of age horror fiction would find this read engaging. The story is fast paced and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be glued to the pages, trying to unravel the mystery of…the shack!

Highly recommended!

Thank you to the author for the e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!

Shelter For the Damned Book Cover Shelter For the Damned
Mike Thorn
Dark Fiction, Horror
JournalStone
02/26/2021
E-Arc
182
Author

While looking for a secret place to smoke cigarettes with his two best friends, troubled teenager Mark discovers a mysterious shack in a suburban field. Alienated from his parents and peers, Mark finds within the shack an escape greater than anything he has ever experienced.

But it isn’t long before the place begins revealing its strange, powerful sentience. And it wants something in exchange for the shelter it provides.

Shelter for the Damned is not only a scary, fast-paced horror novel, but also an unflinching study of suburban violence, masculine conditioning, and adolescent rage.

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