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