Written by: Tim Meyer
I’ve been a fan of Hunter Shea for quite some time now. Not just as a horror writer, but as a podcast host, movie/television/book critic, blogger, and human being. Hunter is a fantastic guy, a real down to earth dude who’s extremely approachable and the kind of person you’d want to sit down and have a beer with while discussing old-school horror classics, books, and writing. So, of course when given the opportunity to read and review his forthcoming novella, The Waiting, I jumped all over it.
The Waiting is one of Hunter’s best, most personal works to date. It centers around Brian Pagano and his wife, Cassandra, who has an emergency medical procedure done on the day of their wedding. The operation, though successful, leaves her in a coma, and the doctors—although extremely optimistic—inform Brian that it may be a while before she pulls out of it. If she pulls out at all.
Brian decides that the hospital isn’t the best place for Cassandra to embark on her journey to recovery and takes her back to their new home. Brian watches over his new bride every day and night, attending to her every need while machines keep her alive. With the help of nurses and his mother-in-law, Brian tries to resume somewhat of a normal life. The man needs to work after all; those pesky medical bills aren’t going to pay themselves. So Brian carries on with his life, wishing Cassandra would snap out of it so things could go back to the way they were—perfect.
That’s when the kid shows up. The apparition of a little boy begins appearing next to Cassandra’s bed. Watching over her. Like a guardian angel. Watching. Waiting. Whispering in the hallways in the early morning hours. After a while, Brian learns that the kid might not be the little angel he first appeared to be. The little boy has a secret. A very bad secret. And it might just threaten his wife’s future.
I won’t go into detail about how the plot unfolds—you’ll have to read this one for yourself. Just know that it unfolds well, and Hunter Shea does a great job at building the tension slowly, giving the reader an ending they won’t soon forget. It has all the makings for a classic ghost story. And if you enjoy being spooked by ghastly little children with sinister intentions, this novella is definitely for you.
Like I said a few times before—Hunter’s writing is crisp and to the point. There aren’t any extra, unnecessary words. Hunter’s style implants moving images in your brain that captures your mind, making his words nearly impossible to put down. His tightly-knit paragraphs move seamlessly to the next, never skipping a single beat. I, for one, appreciate his direct writing approach. Another thing I love about Hunter’s ability is how well he writes action sequences. I can’t exactly pinpoint what makes it stand out from other works, but he keeps the pages turning and that’s all that matters.
This novella has relatable characters, an engaging plot, and a creepy little boy I hope stays inside Hunter’s novella and the hell away from my house. Go read it!