Monday, May 9, 2011

Twelve Terrifying Tales for 2011 / Shana Hammaker

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Thriller/Horror

Approximate word count: In the 7-10,000 word range for each book.

Availability Kindle: Charlie    North of Forks    Border Crossing  
                              Nook: NO     Paper: NO
Click on a title above to go to appropriate page in Amazon or B&N store


Shana Hammaker grew up in sunny California, but dreamed of escaping to cooler climes. She considered Bangor, Maine, possibly because her favorite author, Stephen King, lives nearby, but instead, ended up in Tennessee where it is warmer and more humid.

Hammaker is publishing a thriller short each month in 2011. One of these will star the reader who submits the most creative murder method to her. (For details on how to enter, visit her Amazon author central page.)


Each installment in this series stands alone with the only common thread being that each is a thriller. This review covers the first three installments.

In Charlie, a psychological thriller, Alex Huchinson has bought her first house with the dream of settling there with her fiancé. Then corpses start spontaneously appearing. What is Alex going to do?

If you’ve read the Twilight books, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that North of Forks is a paranormal thriller or that glittery vampires make an appearance. Sara Cullen (no relation to any character from any other book) is a human living in a small Washington town that is – you guessed it – North of Forks. They have big problems with vampires. No surprise there, but the zombie problem is an unexpected side effect.

The author describes the last story, Border Crossing, as a revenge thriller. The star of this story (at least in his own mind) is Michael Connally. Everyone finds Michael charming, with a smile that never fails to get him what he wants. What he wants are souvenirs … very strange souvenirs.


Each of these is novelette length. All three are short enough to read in one sitting, yet long enough for a plot twist or two, with more time for character development than a short story would allow. Each is very different from the other. North of Forks has a little humor (at least I was amused by what I took as poking fun at the Twilight series) while the other two are full of tension from cover to cover. All have scary sections, yet for very different reasons. One of them you know whodunit from the first lines, while another you have no idea until the final pages. What all have in common is taut plotting, unique characters, and stories that kept me guessing — everything you’d want in a thriller.

Publishing in bits and bytes instead of paper allows for a flexibility and creativity of packaging that was almost impossible in the past. Stephen King originally released The Green Mile as a serial; I wonder if Hammaker’s literary idol provided the inspiration for this concept. Although the stories do stand alone, I can’t help thinking that if you like one (or three), you’ll be eagerly awaiting the next. I know I am.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four stars

1 comment:

Libby said...

Sounds pretty cool.