By Hunter Shea
If you’re looking for a slasher novel that hooks you into it’s world, with over-the-top kill scenes, yet manages to go a bit deeper in the psychological realm, then this is the novel for you. This was my first experience with Hunter Shea. Since it came out one year ago, I have heard nothing but glowing reviews. Any time someone says “you need to read this slasher,” my ears perk up. That is my favorite subgenre. This book has two parts: the first being the aftermath of Ashley King, the only survivor of the Resort Massacre, dealing with PTSD from that night five years later. Why is five years so significant? Because it’s the time when the Hayden–a once-thriving resort for its ritzy clientele, and a go-to venue for comedians to perform–now an abandoned hollow shell of its former self, is finally scheduled to be torn down.
Like Alice from Friday the 13th Part 1 and 2, or Nancy Thompson from A Nightmare on Elm Street 1 and 3, as well as, and most especially this last example does this the best, Laurie Strode from the original and remake of Halloween, Ashley is plagued with psychological damage from the killer that stalked her and her friends. Slash demonstrates perfectly how demented our society is where there is quite literally a fanbase for not only horrible people that murdered others in cold blood, in the most brutal ways possible I might add, but there is also a fanbase for the Final Girl. Sure, it’s real fun to root for the Final Girl and watch her try to escape and fight back in a film or book, but there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed when that Final Girl is a real flesh-and-blood human. How obsessed people are with that Final Girl and the killer hit me hard, and for that, I found myself torn when certain characters face their doom.
The second part of the novel, is about Ashley’s boyfriend, Todd, visiting the Hayden on the last night before it’s torn down. He explores the hotel with his friends, only to be stalked by The Wraith—the killer that murdered Ashley’s friends. What Todd and his friends discover will change their lives forever and the way they look at reality itself.
I couldn’t have had a more immersive experience, and with this being the first book I read during October, It set the mood perfectly for Spooky Month.
Review by Patrick R. McDonough