Zakk Reviews “Island of the Forbidden” by Hunter Shea


Island of the Forbidden Synopsis~

Sometimes, the dead are best left in peace.

Jessica Backman has been called to help a strange family living on a haunted island in Charleston Harbor. Ormsby Island was the site of a brutal massacre two decades ago, and now the mysterious Harper family needs someone to exorcise the ghosts that still call it home. The phantoms of over one hundred children cannot rest.

But something far more insidious is living on the island. When the living and the dead guard their true intentions, how can Jessica discover just what sort of evil lurks on Ormsby Island? And why is Jessica the only one who can plumb its dark depths?


(Full Disclosure: I intentionally sought out and reveived an “Advanced Review Copy” of “Island of the Forbidden”, these are my honest thoughts about the novel.)

Zakk reviews “Island of the Forbidden” by Hunter Shea. 298 pages published by Samhain Horror (Samhain Publishing , Ltd.)

Overall Score: 5/5

“The square, symmetrical two-story Colonial resembled a ghost ship, it’s battered exterior barely surviving tumultuous years at sea. The paint had long ago been blighted by sun and rain.”

It’s been a generation since anyone has lived in the old Ormsby estate, a dark sentinel standing shuttered and shunned on Ormsby Island in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor. Labeled as haunted by the locals, the secret horrors of Ormsby Island are more depraved than anyone dare fathom.

When the Harper family purchases the dilapidated (on the outside only…) house they seek the help of Jessica Backman and Eddie Home, former friends and partners, both with unique abilities and a history of parapsychology, to cleanse the island of lingering spirits. In hopes of making a safe living environment for the Harper children, a brother and sister with abilities similar to Jessica.

But the Harper’s are a strange couple, they have secrets of their own. Are their intentions for Jessica and Eddie true or do they have another agenda. Either way Ormsby Island has surprises for all and secrets will always be revealed.

“You can trust the dead as much as the living, which means not at all.”

I am new to the Hunter Shea game, I am not ashamed to admit that I have been missing the boat. I won’t make any excuses, I’m here now and that is what matters most. “Island of the Forbidden” is my first novel length Hunter Shea read, and it is 100% entertainment. I enjoyed every moment of it.

I am a fan of the classic “ghost story” sub genre. Ghost stories and “creature features” are my bread and butter, and it seems to also be Hunter’s wheelhouse as “Island of the Forbidden” is deftly handled. Mr. Shea provides a rock solid foundation of mystery supporting a structure built of compelling characters, believable dialog and eerie, descriptive imagery.

In Hunter’s hands, Ormsby island  breathes life and harbors death, as does his great cast of characters. Like the Island and it’s old namesake house, all of the players involved are showing a bit of weather, a little fray on the outside. You, the reader, become quickly invested in the events transpiring and the personalities that have chosen sides in the matters at hand. So that when the pace amps up, when the pieces begin falling into place the tingles start to trace the nape of your neck and the goose flesh rises.

I wasn’t aware of this book being a continuation of our character, Jessica Backman, until after I had finished reading it. I may have let out and audible “Hell yeah!” when I did learn. That being said, “Island of the Forbidden” works perfectly well as a standalone novel. You’re given a firm grasp of who our heroine is with just a little tease about what has taken place before. If you are well versed in the works of Hunter Shea, or the character of Jessica Backman then I am officially jealous and eager to backtrack and catch up.


“Forrest of Shadows” is her first appearance, followed by “The Graveyard Speaks” (a short story which I had previously read and failed to make the connection, I’m lame). And “Sinister Entity” (with it’s fantastic cover) being Jessica’s third appearance. Since I’ve read the most recent I think I’ll tackle the rest Momento style, in reverse order, and in a psychotic haze. Yeah, that sounds like a kick-ass good time.

“Island of the Forbidden” is a great and is TMOM approved. Mr. Shea, thank you for throwing my to-read list into complete turmoil. It’s good to have you here, sir

“He was stronger than her, more tuned in to the things she’d always prided herself on being the resident expert. Pride goeth before the motherfucker of all falls.”

Zakk is a big dumb animal!


Click the graphic for the full “Island of the Forbidden” publicity page. Including a like to a Hunter Shea novel giveaway.

Hunter Shea, Biography~

hunter shea photoHunter Shea is the author of paranormal and horror novels Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal, Sinister Entity, HellHole and Island of the Forbidden, which are all published by Samhain Horror.

The June 3, 2014 release of his horrifying thriller Montauk Monster was published by Kensington/Pinnacle. His second Kensington novel, Tortures of the Damned, will be published later this year.

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 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, on Twitter @HunterShea1, Facebook fan page at Hunter Shea or the Monster Men 13 channel on YouTube.

Raves for Hunter Shea~

Forest of Shadows

“A frightening, gripping story that left me too frightened to sleep with the lights off. This novel scared the hell out of me and it is definitely a creepy ghost story I won’t soon forget.” –Night Owl Reviews

Sinister Entity

“This is the real deal. The fear is palpable. Horror novels don’t get much better than this.” –Literal Remains

“. . .Culminates in a climactic showdown between human and spirit that keeps you glued to the pages!” –Horror Novel Reviews

Evil Eternal

“Hunter Shea has crafted another knockout. At turns epic and intimate, both savage and elegant. . .a harrowing, blood-soaked nightmare.” –Jonathan Janz, author of The Sorrows

Swamp Monster Massacre

“If you’re craving an old-school creature-feature that has excessive gore. . .B-horror movie fans rejoice, Hunter Shea is here to bring you the ultimate tale of terror!” –Horror Novel Reviews

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s