"'Cause agony brings no reward For one more hit and one last score Don't be a casualty, cut the cord"
CUT THE CORD – Shinedown
The quote I started with—ossum song—is about addiction. My feeling about this story touches on the battle of addiction, even though it is done subtly. When I think back, the first real scary story I can remember about the subject was Christine by Stephen King. In that story, the geeky kid sees this car and it talks to him, subconsciously, and it becomes the most important—maybe the ONLY—thing in his life. The transformation in that story also had supernatural element, but at the core of that tale lies a battle with addiction, of being unable to help yourself even though it changes you for the worse.
In this story we are looking at a shack. Teenager Mark and his two friends discover it in the middle of a field, abandoned and a good place to smoke some cigarettes. But Mark is drawn to it in a way the other two can’t understand. Nobody really knows him and nobody really understands him, neither adults nor other teenagers. He has a reputation as a troublemaker and a weird person, which alienates him even more from everybody else in his life. But he feels safe and welcome in the shack.
When you get down to it, feeling misunderstood and strange in your own skin is a very common occurrence for teenagers the world over. When the opportunity to be accepted presents itself, most will jump at the chance, consequences be damned. That is the most dangerous time in a person’s life—for they can only hope that fate will get them to the other side—sane and in one piece: Pretty much like going to a Miley Cyrus concert.
This story might be somewhat of a slow burn and there is a subtlety to the progression which makes this one of the least goriest horrors I have read in a long time. You will ask yourself, at some stage, if this kid is schizophrenic. Is everything only taking place in his head? Is he, perhaps, a born psychopath or is he turning into one?
And I’m not going to ruin it for the readers. This story is solid, yet not as scary as perhaps esoteric in the final battle with the thing/himself. There may be elements to it which will be hard to digest for someone who is only looking for light reading. Tthis story does not fall into that category.
The only real criticism I have about this book is feeling a little unsure about the way Mark is—why, exactly, did he turn out so strange? I would have liked a little more info on his past, since the answer is not revealed at the end.
Recommended to horror fans not looking for cheap, easy thrills.
SHELTER FOR THE DAMNED by Mike Thorn
Shelter for the Damned by Mike Thorn is not only a scary, fast-paced horror novel, but also an unflinching study of suburban violence, masculine conditioning, and adolescent rage.
DescriptionWhile 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.