Zakk reviews “They Rise: A Deep Sea Thriller” by Hunter Shea. 162 pages published by Severed Press, 2016.
“’What did you put in me?’ he cursed the fish. He could feel his kidney liquefying, piss bursting from it like a ruptured plastic bag, flooding his body with toxins. ‘You son of a bitch!’ He spit on the fish. It stared back at him, devoid of emotion, the look of an apathetic Grim Reaper.”
Some call them ghost sharks, the oldest and strangest looking creatures in the sea. Marine biologist Brad Whitley has studied chimaera fish all his life. He thought he knew everything about them. He was wrong.
Warming ocean temperatures free legions of prehistoric chimaera fish from their methane ice suspended animation. Now, in a corner of the Bermuda Triangle, the ocean waters run red.
The 400 million year old massive killing machines know no mercy, destroying everything in their path. It will take Whitley, his climatologist ex-wife and the entire US Navy to stop them in the bloodiest battle ever seen on the high seas.
“Suzanne recalled how her research bored the hell out of her wild child of an ex. As if studying fish was as exciting as drag racing. He spent a lot of time in the water, sometimes facing danger, often exaggerating it to anyone who would listen at whatever bar he’d find himself in at the end of the day. He had a way of making his passion sound a hell of a lot cooler. It used to irritate her to no end.”
What a pleasant way to kick off the new reading year than with a gnarly, chumtastic, spines-n-vinegar, sea creature feature. “They Rise” is an all around good time, harkening back to the Fright Night Theatre romps (my local weekly horror spotlight) on TV I enjoyed as a youth. It’s gross, chaotic, and for someone already unnerved by open bodies of water (lakes, rivers, any deep waters really) a case of the shivers.
I have always been a little unsettled while swimming in murky, opaque water. It’s just the horror fan in me, I guess. I would always imagine dark shadows flowing past, or lord forbid under, me. Letting that tiniest bit of improbable fear sink in, that a creature was about emerge, made hanging at the lake an adventure and a lesson in personal bravery. I’m not strictly talking youthful years, teen and adult years as well. Being an adult now just gives me the power (the curse?) to imagine something nastier and more unfriendly.
Reading “They Rise” brought back some of these memories, some of that discomfort of my youth that may or may not hit in everyone. It hit in me, not so much in fear but in an observant awe as these beasties attack relentlessly.
I dug the main character Brad Whitley, Ichthyologist, well enough. He’s a gruff kind of charming in his brashness. And the interplay between Brad and the very likable Nestor Garza was enjoyable as Nestor ends up sort-of a chauffeur/ personal assistant/ friend to Brad. While all of the cast here is fun, the star of the show is, without a doubt the hundreds of massive prehistoric chimaera. And as the book powers along the chimaera get larger sending the material into B-movie action adventure territory. Imagine Invasion U.S.A crossed with Piraña. Don’t get me wrong, that is not an insult. It’s pure reading pleasure.
The attack scenes are frantic and messy and plentiful. Every one of them a blast, bigger and nastier than the scene previous. Culminating in an outrageous, balls to the wall conclusion that made me yearn for 3D glasses and a tub of popcorn, extra butter. While I would have loved to have a character to latch on to and be concerned for, I’m just as fine rooting for the creatures.
It’s been just over a year since I’ve made my acquaintance with the work or Hunter Shea, reading Island of the Forbidden for my first ever blog review, he has since secured his position as a go-to, must-read author. And I have barely scratched the surface of his catalogue. Not counting the other two releases he has lined up this year (Jersey Devil is going to be sick!) I own five other Hunter Shea titles that I plan on getting to this year. It has not just a pleasure but a desire to have him on my review schedule. “They Rise” may not blow you out of the water, but rest assured it will give you a thrill.
Here’s to a great year or reading, cheers. Grab your life jacket.
“This is not a B-movie, Suzanne. Should we look for a couple of tiny Japanese women to call on a giant butterfly to help us out?”
Overall score: 4/ 5
Put “They Rise” on a playlist with Piraña… and Invasion U.S.A. 🙂
Zakk is a big, dumb animal!
“You are a big, dumb animal.”
**Note: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher on the promise of an honest review. These are my unbiased feelings.
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 http://www.huntershea.com, sign-up for his newsletter, or follow in 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
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