By A. M. Shine
This forest isn’t charted on any map. Every car breaks down at its treeline. Mina’s is no different. Left stranded, she is forced into the dark woodland only to find a woman shouting, urging Mina to run to a concrete bunker. As the door slams behind her, the building is besieged by screams.
Mina finds herself in a room with a wall of glass, and an electric light that activates at nightfall, when the Watchers come above ground. These creatures emerge to observe their captive humans and terrible things happen to anyone who doesn’t reach the bunker in time.
Afraid and trapped among strangers, Mina is desperate for answers. Who are the Watchers and why are these creatures keeping them imprisoned, keen to watch their every move?
Shine’s debut novel, The Watchers throws a disparate group of unfortunates together in a mysterious woodland prison where they are watched at night by the mysterious, and clearly very dangerous, creatures that live in the tunnels beneath them. Hiding away during the day, the creatures leave the group in peace to complete their daily chores, collecting water and scavenging for food to keep themselves alive long enough to live in fear the next night.
Mina is the latest addition to the group and joins Danny, Ciara and Madeline after her car breaks down on a journey to deliver a parrot. She arrives just as the group is losing hope for Ciara’s husband John to return from an attempted escape. Once trapped in the woodland, it appears to stretch far away on every side, making escape before night fall semingly impossible.
As Mina settles in to her new life, imprisoned in the middle of the cursed woods, she slowly gets to know her companions, growing to care for the innocent and troubled Danny and Ciara while growing wary of the mysterious Madeline who has been stuck in the cabin for longer than anyone else.
A chance discovery may lead to an opportunity for escape, but can everyone be trusted and will everyone make it?
Well, obviously I am not going to tell you, but I would recommend reading this tense and fast-paced horror from A. M. Shine. Shine doesn’t waste any time getting to the nitty gritty of trapping his protagonist in the middle of a woodland and throwing her into a nightmare of terror and hopelessness. While it felt that Mina accepted her fate a little too quickly (I am not sure she even asks about the chances of escape) she never loses her spirit and acts as a suitable foil to Madeline’s hardened leader and friend to the innocent Danny and Ciara.
Shine paces the story prefectly, revealing just enough throughout the book to keep you hooked and keep you fascinated to learn just what it is that is out there in the woodland, so fascinated by their human zoo.
The Watchers is a great novel and I was quickly sucked into the story and invested in Mina’s plight. I will definitely be added The Creeper, out now in hardback and early next year in paperback, onto my TBR pile!
A. M. Shine is an author of Literary Horror from the west of Ireland. It was there that at a young age he discovered a passion for classic horror stories, and where he received his Masters in history, before ultimately sharpening his quill to pursue a life devoted to all things literary and macabre. His writing is inspired by the trinity of horror, history, and superstition, and he has tormented, toyed with, and tortured more characters than he will ever confess to.
Owing to a fascination with the works of Edgar Allan Poe and his ilk, A. M. Shine’s earlier writings were Gothic in their style and imagination. When his focus turned to novels he refined his craft as an author of Irish horror – stories influenced by his country’s culture, landscape, and language, but which draw their dark atmosphere and eloquence from the Gothic canon of his past.