Paradise, Maine – Jackson R. Thomas
Reviewed by Steve Stred
I was first introduced to the twisted world of Jackson R. Thomas last year, with his stellar release The Beast of Brenton Woods. I love werewolf tales and that story lived up to my lofty expectations.
Now Thomas has returned with Paradise, Maine – but don’t let the title or the cover fool you, this is splatter-riffic.
The plot is straight-forward and pulled from my dream horror VHS tapes that I used to rent. A small, quaint town on the coast hides a secret. The Watcher. A figure shrouded in mystery who lives in the hills above them. The townspeople do their part to keep quiet and not interfere. In order to keep The Watcher satiated a mysterious corporation working with the local Sheriff randomly select people to come as sacrifice. They win an all-expenses paid trip to the scenic Paradise, Maine, unaware of their fate.
From here out Thomas takes us on a sprint through the small town, the cabin that the winner’s get to stay in and the hills above. The foot is fully pressed on the gas pedal as things continue to take terrible turn after terrible turn. I love bleak, dark horror and this is done majestically while infused with some obscene gore, done in the best way possible. Even though I knew no good was to come, I still rooted for the folks trying to survive The Watcher.
I had one small gripe with the story overall – some of the characters names. With this being a pre-release ARC and not knowing Jackson personally, it might be that some of the characters were named after friends or family members, but as is, I found some of them to be annoying and I’m usually fine with that. Oh well, that’s on me!
I enjoyed the characters throughout, and several of them had really enjoyable resolves to live, which sometimes can be lacking in a tale like this. I’m not a fan of characters that survive but don’t appear to try hard enough to survive, if that makes sense. Doesn’t happen here!
So if you’re looking for a fun, fast, slaughter house of a story – look no further. Jackson R. Thomas brings the goods and packs them into bite size zip-lock freezer bags making sure to keep the horror fresh on every page! A must read for fans of ‘Brenton’ but also a must read for fans of books and movies that keep the death counts high!
Alien Agenda Publishing continues to release top notch horror for fans and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next!
Star Rating (out of 5): 5*
(Side note – the version I received was a poorly edited pre-release version. I was assured by another reviewer that they received an updated ARC and the spots were fixed. I declined a new version by AAP and didn’t attribute any of the mistakes towards affecting my review! Thanks to Net Galley, Jackson R. Thomas and Glenn with Aliena Agena Publishing for the pre-release ARC!)
They needed a place to get away from it all… they’ll never be coming back.
When Darren and Vanis set out to free themselves from life’s anxieties and rekindle their relationship, a trip to the beautiful Maine coast sounds perfect.
The breathtaking views and gorgeous cabin seem like another world. One to get lost in and from which they never want to return. But something has an eye on them.
For Zebulun Ayers, a trip to connect with nature is far more than he ever saw on Man vs. Wild or any other reality TV show. This is the real wild life.
Paradise, Maine is home to a monster rarely seen and one never mentioned, even among locals. The Watcher is waiting.
Steve Stred is an up-an-coming Dark Horror author. Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick.
Steve also has a number of works on the go and enjoys all this horror, occult, supernatural and paranormal.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog Oj.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official Website here
The Girl Who Hid In The Trees
Something lurks just beyond.
Centuries ago a heinous act created a ripple that still haunts the residents to this very day.
Now the kids who reside near McConnell’s Forest live forever in fear.
Jason lost his brother when he was young. He left with his friends to ‘debunk’ the urban legend and never came back.
Now Jason and his group of friends are fed up and want to discover what is happening, what is the real cause of the terror holding their small town hostage.
But something is waiting for them. She may look sweet and innocent, but the friends are about to find out that pure evil can exist in the smallest of packages.
She’s out there. And while you may not know her name or what she looks like, the local kids will tell you if you ask, that you should fear for your life from the girl who hid in the trees.
From the dark mind of Steve Stred, the author of Wagon Buddy, YURI and Invisible comes this fast-paced, seat of your pants coming-of-age tale. A quick, violent, bleak read, The Girl Who Hid In The Trees will make you think twice about those sounds you hear far off in the woods.