The monsters live inside of Kate Woodson. Chronic pain and a host of autoimmune diseases have robbed her of a normal, happy life. Her husband Andrew’s surprise of their dream Maine lake cottage for the summer is the gift of a lifetime. It’s beautiful, remote, idyllic, a place to heal.
But they are not alone. Something is in the woods, screeching in the darkness, banging on the house, leaving animals for dead.
Just like her body, Kate’s cottage becomes her prison. She and Andrew must fight to survive the creature that lurks in the dead of night.
Creature by Hunter Shea may begin slowly, but it quickly coalesces into a heartrending, terrifying bid for survival against a monster far deadlier than those I’ve read in other books. Shea weaves a masterful tale that is nothing short of stark reality: and for that, I am grateful in the saddest of ways. For some readers, Creature will hit close to home, and for others it will be an eye-opening experience.
Kate Woodson suffers from several auto-immune diseases that leave her crippled and unable to take care of herself. Fortunately, she has a supportive and loving husband, Andrew, that takes care of her, and a loving pup named Buttons. In a desperate attempt to make her feel better, Andrew takes her on a trip to a secluded cottage in Maine, but that is where things quickly turn horrifying for something lurks in the shadows.
Creature is not action-packed. At least, not early on. The first chunk of the novel focuses on Kate and Andrew’s relationship, and while that might sound dull and boring, in this instance it’s anything but that. In fact, I found it heartwarming and entirely necessary. It allows readers to truly get a grasp on the disastrous effects of auto-immune diseases–not only on the afflicted, but on their loved ones as well. The time Shea spends on these two also allows for an astronomical amount of character development: I became attached to Kate and Andrew, to their love for one another, to their hardships.
I also found myself relating to Kate more than I expected, which is where Shea really hooked me in as a reader–those that have followed The Ghastly Grimoire for any amount of time know that I suffer from two auto-immune diseases myself. This is actually the first book where I read the afterword, and there I learned that his accurate portrayal has a source: his wife.
When the book does pick up, it’s fast-paced and edge-of your seat action. As in, I read the final 110 pages in one sitting because I couldn’t put the book down. I’d love to go into detail about the symbolism threaded throughout the latter half of the book, but that, unfortunately, would also be a major spoiler. I can say this, however: Shea managed to make me gag in revulsion and cry.
That said, Creature is a wonderful, enlightening read. It’s rare that a book draws deep emotions from me, and even more so that a horror book truly gets under my skin. Shea did both of these things, and I definitely look forward to reading more of his work.
This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.