02 November 2019

{Review} Slash by Hunter Shea

Kindle Edition288 pages
Published October 24th 2019 by Flame Tree Press



Five years after Ashley King survived the infamous Resort Massacre, she’s found hanging in her basement by her fiancĂ©, Todd Matthews. She left behind clues as to what really happened that night, clues that may reveal the identity of the killer the press has called The Wraith. 



With the help of his friends, Todd goes back to the crumbling Hayden Resort, a death-tinged ruin in the Catskills Mountains. What they find is a haunted history that’s been lying in wait for a fresh set of victims. The Wraith is back, and he’s nothing what they expected.






Goodreads/Amazon


Last year, I had the privilege to review a book by Hunter Shea called Creature. It broke my heart and put Shea on my favorites list.  To this day that story has stayed with me. When I saw Slash, of course, I jumped at the chance to feel those feelings again! 

One thing that Shea does well is to make you care about his characters. We get to know who they are, where they've come from...what makes them tick. Establishing this framework takes time, I get that! In Creature, I loved this introduction to the characters. It connected me to them and made me see them as so much more than names on a page. I loved the build-up as much as I loved the horror later. In Slash, however, this just made me extremely impatient. At 288 pages, it really should be a swift read, but I had difficulty sticking with it in the beginning, choosing instead to bounce to other books and back again. 

I feel like the only character I really connected with was Ashley, our Final Girl. I had that same feeling of falling into the book. She was someone I had to know, maybe even already knew!  Of course, you already know that didn't turn out well. The switch of narrative from Ashley to Todd is where my attention was lost. It's not that Todd is an unreliable narrator, although given his grief over Ashley's death that wouldn't be such a stretch. Though it might be because of his grief, that I found him to be a bit flat. I didn't not like Todd, but I didn't find that same connection.

Once Todd and friends make the trek back into Hayden resort, to that horrid place where Ashley survived, Slash definitely picked up speed again. (Although, I do have to wonder a bit about the hidden messages and puzzles that Ashley left. How oddly convenient.) 

Slash, true to its name, doesn't spare the gore. While there were only a few parts where the tension felt palpable, the vast majority of the horror came from the carnage and it was a bloody good time!  There's a twist to our killer and not one that's really foreshadowed in any way. He's certainly not one I'd like to meet in any dark alley, but it seemed like something was left out. I needed a bit more to make that stretch.

I was disappointed by the ending. Not the conclusion of Todd's story. No, that, while not necessarily fair, was satisfying but then came the epilogue. Gah. It was a totally made-for-tv credit roll groan.

There's absolutely no denying that Shea can write brutal death scenes. In this, it felt like a slasher film. There are so many things that lend itself to the slasher feel: the abandoned location, the sometimes cheesy dialogue, jokes that overstayed their welcome, and last but not least the supernatural killer.  If you are expecting 80's B-movie horror, you aren't going to get it. It's a more subjective slasher than that. I assume that Shea was going more towards the "horror with heart" that I loved with Creature but for me, that ceased to exist with our Final Girl. Still, fans of Jason Voorhees and his ilk will be pleased with Shea's latest offering.