“Thorn has a cutthroat ability to reel you in, a writing style so sharp and penetrating that it threatens to tear you open, layer by layer … Shelter for the Damned felt like the lovechild of Barker and King.”
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“Throughout the course of the episode, we talked about Shelter for the Damned, his influences, coming of age narratives, toxic masculinity, suburban horror, Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher, possession films and so much more. We had a lot of fun recording this episode and hanging out with Mike. We hope you guys enjoy the conversation as much as we did!”
“Thorn’s debut novel is an insight into male violence, the sloppily-hidden depths of suburbia, and the isolation of abuse. It’s not typically what you would find in the pages of a horror novel about teenage boys and a deadly, abandoned shack, but it’s the subtleties of Thorn’s narrative that keep the story moving along so quickly.”
“Shelter for the Damned is suburban coming-of-age horror with shades of Stephen King, Lovecraft, and the movie Brainscan.”
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…
- What authors influenced you growing up? Who are you reading now?
As a young kid, I was really excited by J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and R. L. Stine. Discovering Stephen King as a preteen was a big deal, and the same goes for encountering Hubert Selby Jr. in my teens.
These days, I try to read as widely as possible. I’m currently making my way through Drawn Up from Deep Places, by Gemma Files, which is terrific. I was recently floored by two Henry James novels—The Portrait of a Lady and The Bostonians.