Review: The Jersey Devil – Hunter Shea

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As sightings of the Jersey Devil skyrockets, Sam Willet prepares to confront the demon for what it did to his late wife Lauren. Little did he know that the Devil has a few new tricks up it’s sleeves.


Why this book?: Being from Jersey myself, and loving the cryptid legends, I was excited when my eyes landed on this book. I didn’t even know that it was such a thing to write books for cryptids.

I would like to thank the people at Pinnacle Publishing for allowing me to have an ARC of this book via NetGalley.

The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea was not what I was expecting. I was hoping for the classic Jersey Devil legend, with a little spin, mainly because I’m from Jersey myself. While I did get the little spin on the legend I was hoping for, the rest of the book was surprisingly…lacking.

Confusing characters that don’t match up with their description

The main characters in this book are mainly from the Willet family, some upstate New York farmers that apparently have some type of grudge on the Devil. Having there be three generations (yes, only three despite the four that the summary promises) made things confusing, especially because Shea introduces them one at a time, usually not mentioning how they’re related or who their parents are. Not only that, but each one has a ‘secret’ little problem they are all ‘secretly’ dealing with. However, those secrets somehow never become more important despite constantly returning to them time and time again.

And then there was the cryptozoologist with anxiety problems but is apparently has a really good aim with a rifle despite not having shot it in years. This character was just hypocritical at all times. First he was a cryptozoologist, but he discounted even the most obvious sightings down to bear attacks. Second, he was only there to discover the ‘new species’, but then the next thing I knew, he was shooting the Devils left and right without a care. He was also an unnecessary addition to the already confusing clan of Willets.

Reading like a SyFy movie is not good

You know those SyFy movies, right? Octoshark vs Pteracuda? Sharknado? This book reads like that.

The characters use an unholy amount of firepower, cussing to the sky, and to each other and to the Devils like there’s no tomorrow. For them, I guess, there might not be a tomorrow, but it was still uncomfortable reading the f-bomb every other page despite using it often myself.

The writing and characters were cheap, melodramatic, and unrealistic. The only reason why I kept reading this book was because it was so hilariously bad that I was laughing when things went south.

However, when things started to go south, the gore skyrocketed. Throughout the book, there are things like people getting their heads cut off, getting devoured, and the like, but at the end of the book it gets out of hand. I, one who can normally read gore without being fazed, had to look away and pause my reading quite a few times to make sure I didn’t puke. There was a literal bloodbath, and no one was safe. The only mercy the author put on you was that as someone was torn to pieces by the Devils he was protected a kid he didn’t know underneath him.

Final Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall?

This book was cheap, gory, and, honestly, hilarious. After a while, you get the hang of the Willet clan, and figure out who’s who. The ending was cut off, there was no resolution or anything, but a short, cute scene that didn’t really leave me satisfied. I was thinking of giving it two stars, but I enjoyed it too much to do so, but that was mainly because I found the book hilarious when it was supposed to be horrifying.

Would I Recommend?

If you can handle a lot of gore, and are looking for an amusing read instead of a actually horrifying book, try this one. If you can’t handle gore, or are looking for something to keep you up at night…continue your search. Just as I am.


The Jersey Devil

Additional Information:

Published: August 30th, 2016

Publisher: Pinnacle Publishing

Page Count: 352

Genre: Horror

Synopsis: via Goodreads

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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