We Are Always Watching by Hunter Shea
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When the Ridley family falls on hard times, they're forced to move in with Abraham Ridley, Matt's father. Grandpa Ridley is a real son of a bitch but he's nothing in comparison to the Guardians, persons unknown who have been harassing the Ridleys and the other folk of Buttermilk Creek for generations...
Hunter Shea is the man and I was planning on reading this anyway when I won a copy on Horror After Dark. Thanks!
This isn't your usual Hunter Shea book. I'm a tremendous fan of his creature features starring cryptids and the mayhem they incite but this one was different, a slow-burner with more of a psychological bend.
Since time out of mind, the people of Buttermilk Creek have been harassed by the Guardians, people or creatures that leave threatening notes and that are constantly watching their targets. When West's father, Matt, suffers a brain injury leading to chronic vertigo, their lives fall apart and they leave NYC behind to live with his grandfather. Abraham is an asshole of the highest caliber and blames the family for the Guardians springing into action once again after years of silence.
The book feels like a coming of age tale at first. West is a likeable kid, a fan of horror movies and books. He's enamored with the only pretty girl in town that he's met and wonders about the truth of the Guardians and his own family's troubled past. When shit goes down, he acts in a very believable way and is in no way a Gary Stu.
Hell, the whole Ridely clan is subtly nuanced. Debi resents her husband's condition and keeps on trucking. Matt feels inadequate and pissed off because of his vertigo but can't help but lash out at his family. And Abraham has more than his share of skeletons in his closet.
The book is a slow burner but reaches a fever pitch around the 75% mark, when it goes from coming of age psychological horror to a fucking blood bath. I was felt like a mile of bad road after finishing it.
As always, Hunter Shea continues to impress the shit out of me. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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