Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi/horror eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
the jersey devil (Hunter Shea)
Title: the jersey devil
Author: Hunter Shea
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: August 30, 2016 (paperback and e-book)
You see, the first mate has a Piney Pa in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, and through him, I had heard of the Jersey Devil. It’s just that the idea that the Pine Barrens, of all places, has its own monster was just ridiculous and silly to me. Kinda like the Chesapeake Bay monster Chessie. Seriously, who thinks of this? But it is a THING. Many Southern New Jersey folk I’ve met on excursions seem to talk about the Jersey Devil with a mixture of fondness and fun. Most of them include “Yes, I have seen it.” Cracks me up. Plus I wanted to switch to some sci-fi after reading so many fantasies. I miss the genre. So, mutant monsters that live in that bizarre corner of the world known as the Pine Barrens.
And the first half was great. The death and mayhem in the Pine Barrens cracked me up. The Pineys were portrayed as loner gun-toting inbreed crazy psycho families. Gun-toting loners, yes. I have met a few. The rest was just silly and made me laugh out loud. I liked reading about places and then looking them up to see if they are real. Cranston. Check. Apple Pie Hill. Check. I love stuff like that.
The book also has a family destined to fight the Jersey Devil – the Willets. The family is marked with hoof prints that stem from the family matriarch’s encounter with Devil 60 years prior. She moved to New York with her husband, Sam, after the encounter. No one knows why her children have inherited the mark. But they will have their revenge. This involves a tricked out van, lots of ammo, and a bad-ass attitude. I enjoyed this family immensely. Old Sam was just awesomely fun. There is also a cryptozoologist friend who is silly too.
However the second half of the book failed. There is going to be a mild spoiler so read on at yer own peril. Once the Willets have their first real encounter with the Jersey Devil, the plot kinda falls apart. The prepared Willets family just never seems prepared enough. There are kidnappings and side stories that just muddied the waters. Also some exposition in the middle set-up where the final showdown was going to take place. And how they bring down the Devil was good but predictable.
Also the reason for the mark turns out to deal with bestiality which just grossed me out. The descriptions surrounding the Jersey Devil and rape were just a little too unnecessary for me. Plus the “reality” behind the myth was a let down. But it was so close to the end of the book that I chose to finish.
I wouldn’t choose to read this book again, and I wish somehow it could have ended with one major fight rather then a longer drawn out mess. Overall a disappointment. But I did enjoy the author’s style of writing and other Goodreads fans seem to rather love it. Maybe it’s just me.
So lastly . . .
Thank you Kensington Books!
The author’s website has this to say about the novel:
THE LEGEND LIVES
Everyone knows the legend of the Jersey Devil. Some believe it is an abomination of nature, a hybrid winged beast from hell that stalks the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey searching for prey. Others believe it is a hoax, a campfire story designed to scare children. But one man knows the truth . . .
THE DEVIL AWAKES
Sixty years ago, Boompa Willet came face to face with the Devil—and lived to tell the tale. Now, the creature’s stomping grounds are alive once again with strange sightings, disappearances, and worse. After all these years, Boompa must return to the Barrens, not to prove the legend is real but to wipe it off the face of the earth . . .
THE BEAST MUST DIE
It’ll take more than just courage to defeat the Devil. It will take four generations of the Willet clan, a lifetime of survivalist training, and all the firepower they can carry. But timing is critical. A summer music festival has attracted crowds of teenagers. The woods are filled with tender young prey. But this time, the Devil is not alone. The evil has grown into an unholy horde of mutant monstrosities. And hell has come home to New Jersey . . .
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