Title: Island of the Forbidden
Author: Hunter Shea
Format: eBook/Paperback, 288 pages
Published: January 6th 2015 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Item number: ISBN139781619227699
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Source: Hook of a Book Media
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Sometimes, the dead are best left in peace.
Jessica Backman has been called to help a strange family living on a haunted island in Charleston Harbor. Ormsby Island was the site of a brutal massacre two decades ago, and now the mysterious Harper family needs someone to exorcise the ghosts that still call it home. The phantoms of over one hundred children cannot rest.
But something far more insidious is living on the island. When the living and the dead guard their true intentions, how can Jessica discover just what sort of evil lurks on Ormsby Island? And why is Jessica the only one who can plumb its dark depths?
"It's this place. Whatever darkness came to the island, it's here to stay. Stick around long enough and it gets inside your skin, into your cells, like an infection..."
ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN by Hunter Shea is a fantastic read. It's a creepy thriller replete with a macabre setting, ghoulish hauntings and spine-chilling con games. Since I finished it, I have discovered that it's actually the third book in a set of books by the author and released by Samhain Publishing featuring the same family of characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN as a standalone so I can attest that it works very well all by itself. However, if you decide to read the books in order, here's the recommended reading order with their primary characters:
FOREST OF SHADOWS featuring John Backman,Jessica Backman's father
SINISTER ENTITY featuring Jessica Backman and Eddie, the psychic
ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN featuring Jessica Backman and Eddie, the psychic
You absolutely shouldn't worry if you decide to jump right into one of any of these books. The author has stated that he wanted each book to work by itself and he purposefully provides the information needed from the prior books without overwhelming the reader with the entire back story.
Hunter treats the reader to some awesome character development herein. Jessica and Eddie have a history -both together and apart- that fascinated me. That's one of the reasons I'm determined to go back and read the preceding books. They worked together on a case detailed in SINISTER ENTITY that nearly did them in. Jessica has been on the run from Eddie and her friends ever since. Eddie's powers were dramatically usurped by that same case and there's much he can no longer do. So they each enter this new assignment damaged and not operating on the same wave length.
Most of the story takes place on haunted Ormsby Island, located off the coast of South Carolina. Ormsby Island is a mythical private island formerly owned by Maxwell Ormsby. Maxwell Ormsby loved to entertain. In the 1800s, he would throw lavish shindigs on his island hosting noted authors, artists and moneymakers. He also used to open the island to the public once a year; it was the social event of the year in those parts. Those times are long gone.
Now the island is known for its grisly history of bizarre deaths. No local resident in their right mind would choose to set foot on the island, let alone live there. Enter Jessica and Eddie, who have been hired to rid the island of its ghosts and sinister entities to make a safe place for the young couple and their two young children who are the new residents; But the island and its fleshly and intangible inhabitants have other ideas...
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from this sinister read:
"There's so many kids," he said low enough so only Jessica could hear. "We're going to walk right into them in two more steps."
If it gave Jessica pause, he didn't sense it. Instead she seemed to pull him faster.
A frigid hand closed around his heart, freezing the ebb and flow of his blood.
Eddie gasped, overcome with the chill of a thousand deep, dark graves.
"Which grave are we in?" she said.
"The oldest." She felt Eddie's puzzlement.
"That can't be possible. He looks like he was just buried."
"There must be something at work in the chemistry of the island that's preserving his body. It's like the incorruptibles, bodies that weren't preserved in any special way that don't decay. Catholic saints like Bernadette and Padre Pio are said not to have decomposed even though they died a long, long time ago. Environmental factors can cause a kind of mummification."
Jessica said, or thought, "This is bizarre. I'm getting a lesson on mummification while in the coffin of a dead man."
Jessica's hand flew to her mouth. If she had any doubt, the next entry settled it.
She read on, cool beads of sweat trickling down the back of her neck, hardly daring to breathe as the black heart of Ormsby Island came closer and closer into focus.
This tale would never be classified as a romance nor a comedy, but there was an infinitesimal touch of both romance and humor that were consummate offsets to the gruesomeness of the story.
It's funny, I never used to read horror, but after listening to the audible of Hunter's SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE last year - AND thoroughly enjoying it - I am finding his books nightmarishly addictive. I liked ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN so much that I have picked up the preceding two books and will be reading and reviewing them soon.
I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning finishing this tale as every time I tried to sleep, the story riveted my thoughts. This is a book you'll want to have the lights on while reading. In the dark, reading with my paperwhite, I could feel the hairs on my arms standing on end. I am happy to report that the ending totally ROCKS!
I highly recommend ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN to anyone who enjoys creepy thrillers!