The Dover Demon by Hunter Shea
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thirty years ago, four teenagers saw a creature the newspapers named The Dover Demon. Now, people are seeing the creature again and the four people's lives are going to converge. Will any of them survive?
I think Hunter Shea and I would have a lot to talk about. There was a five year period where I was into UFOs and an even longer time when I was fascinated by cryptids. How could I not give this a shot?
The Dover Demon uses the Dover Demon sighting in 1977 as a jumping on point and runs with it. The four people who saw the creature are leading very different lives when their shared past surfaces again. Kelly is an alcoholic. Sam runs a comic book shop and has a son, Nicky. Tank and Stephanie are happily married. When Nicky and his friends go looking for the Dover Demon after reading a blog post, the apple cart gets upset in dramatic fashion.
I love what Hunter Shea has done with the Dover Demon here, tying it with lots of staples of UFO lore and linking lots of different aspects of UFO mythology. Not only that, this is one balls-squeezing read. I wolfed it down in one long sitting, occasionally making noises of surprise and/or disgust.
Shea's writing reminds me of Richard Matheson's, not overly flowery but really punchy and evocative. There's some Kingliness in it as well, although it's from the early days of Stephen King. Some of his descriptions were nauseating and the mind-bending effects of the Dover Demon(s) was pretty disorienting. Also, he has a gift for suspense. I never once felt like the characters were working with a safety net. Unless they make safety nets out of razor wire these days...
Either Hunter Shea is one of my new favorite horror writers or he had me abducted and brainwashed by aliens. Either way, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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