The blog takeover continues!
Today, Janine Pipe and I are discussing Swamp Monster Massacre by Hunter Shea.
Iseult: Hi, I’m a horror writer and book blogger and I am so excited to be buddy reading my first Hunter Shea book with the awesome author and reviewer, Janine Pipe!
Janine: Hey! I’m a horror writer, editor, reviewer and booktuber. I love buddy reads and especially when they feature one of my most favourite authors and even more so when it is my buddies’ first experience to his craziness.
Iseult: Haha! Thanks for introducing Hunter Shea to me, Janine.
I love how he brought so many aspects of Bigfoot lore into the book. I felt that the creatures were believable animals, as well as that Shea had done his homework. What did you think of his version of the Big Guy?
Janine: If there is one creature Hunter knows well, it’s the sasquatch. I had no doubt that his version would be believable, scary and freaking awesome. Hunter’s characters are always three dimensional and you care about them – whether you like them or not. I did like these guys and will never visit the Everglades …
Iseult: Good idea, you don’t want to fall foul of any Sasquatch that live there.
Janine: Hunter always does his homework but Bigfoot is something he is practically an expert on anyway. I recommend people read another of Hunter’s Severed Press releases, Bigfoot in the Bronx after this. Also bonkers and brilliant.
Iseult: Hey, I’ve got that in my TBR pile! Looking forward to reading it. The cover looks great.
Janine: Do YOU believe in cryptids? Did SMM feed into your theories in any way?
Iseult: I’m crazy about cryptids! I’m most interested in them as a yet undiscovered animals, but I can understand why so many have paranormal lore associated with them too. When you don’t know what something is, it’s easy to get freaked out and attribute unnatural properties to it.
Hunter’s creatures in SMM really fit into the undiscovered animal category for me. I liked how he crafted a believable type of ape with a social structure and intelligence. It made sense.
I don’t know if Bigfoot is out there, but I don’t think cryptic sightings should be discounted. There is still so much wild space, even in the US. The giant squid was sighted for centuries before it was accepted as a real animal in the beginning of the twenty first century. The Coelacanth was thought extinct until it was sighted in a fish market in the twentieth century and footage of the living animals in their natural habitat is extraordinary.
Rooster Murphy (got to love his second name!) is a great character, and I think Shea handled the anti-hero as a protagonist very well. Did you want him to survive the book, or were you hoping that Bigfoot would get him?
Janine: Whilst he was an ass-hat, I was rooting for him. I often end up liking the characters we are not supposed to bond with, the whole bad guy vibe is often appealing in fiction at least. One of the things I like most about Hunter’s writing is the character development and dialogue. Oftentimes they are just shooting the shit and the banter is so realistic. You can easily relate to these people.
Did SMM make you want to read more from Hunter and do you already have the next read in mind?
Iseult: Yes, his characters and dialogue are excellent. I’ve already read Loch Ness Revenge and Just Add Water, and I have Ghost Mine and Bigfoot in the Bronx waiting for me.
I love how human his characters are. I had issues with some of the things the characters did in SMM and LNR, but I understood their motivations and saw them as real people. That’s great writing.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but there is a scene at the end of SMM that involved sexual violence. It was the one sour note for me in an otherwise excellent book. Without giving anything away, what are your thoughts on this scene?
Janine: Sexual violence in context when it adds a shocking element to the story doesn’t bother me, but then I am a big fan of splatterpunk and extreme horror where gratuitous sexual content is the norm. The scene you are referring too was gross for sure, but it enhanced the narrative, showing the reader what these animals were capable of.
What were your thoughts on the ending with (out spoilers), as it is slightly open to interpretation …
Iseult: I got a bit of The Thing vibe from the ending. It’s a great ending, but still has lots of possibilities for what could happen next. I love endings like that. We have finished the story, but the story isn’t over. The character’s lives continue.
Speaking of the characters, Rooster is one tough cookie, and I feel sorry for anything or anyone that goes against him.
Thank you so much, Janine, for buddy reading Swamp Monster Massacre with me. I really enjoyed chatting to you about it.
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