“Shelter for the Damned is suburban coming-of-age horror with shades of Stephen King, Lovecraft, and the movie Brainscan.”
“One thing the book understands very well are how the most innocuous childhood memories can twist into a terrifying shape. Adults have forgotten – or are too consumed by their adult lives to think about – these horrors, except maybe, very, very, late at night. Thorn’s work invokes both childhood fears and those late-night moments when existential dread sinks its teeth into you as an adult and suddenly, you remember how helpless you still are.”
Obsession is a primary driving force in Shelter for the Damned, as the novel’s protagonist, Mark, becomes intensely fixated on a shack he discovers in a suburban field. As the Shack begins revealing its weird sentience, Mark’s interest grows. His relationship to the Shack eventually becomes horrifically parasitic, evoking the nature of debilitating addiction.
While writing Shelter for the Damned, I was conscious of several other books focused on obsession and dependency. I was especially interested in novels that used first-person or quasi-omniscient style to depict their protagonists’ experiences. I have provided snapshots for some of the most overt influences on Shelter for the Damned below…
“Mike Thorn’s debut novel, Shelter For the Damned was just released from JournalStone on February 26, 2021. It recently received a 4-star review from IndieMuse. He is also the author of Darkest Hours, a short story collection.
We cornered Mike in the days leading up to his first novel release to learn a little more about him and his latest book.”
“Shelter for the Damned is twisted AF and not for the faint of heart.”
“I often write about characters who are afraid of their environments and themselves, and who want to disappear. This set of interests flies in the face of many contemporary narrative trends, which align with the mandates of social media; namely, the desire to be seen.”
At first it seems like the perfect place to quietly enjoy a secluded smoke, but three teens soon discover that their supposed safe haven is actually something downright sinister in Shelter for the Damned, the debut novel from Mike Thorn (author of the short story collection Darkest Hours). With Shelter for the Damned out now from Journalstone, we caught up with Thorn in our latest Q&A feature to discuss the journey of writing his new book, the influences that inspired him along the way, and his upcoming releases that readers can look forward to from Journalstone.
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