About 10% into The Jersey Devil I realized I am not the target market for this novel. I’m a huge horror fan, obviously, but I struggled with this one for, perhaps, a variety of reasons.
First off, I’ve never heard of the Jersey Devil before, and there’s a need to cast your realm of disbelief aside as almost every character — from minor to major — believes this thing is real and not a hoax. I almost felt as if you needed to know the history or story behind this legend in order to appreciate what Shea was doing, which left me wanting.
Secondly, the parts that I did enjoy — more of the HUMAN or psychological aspects, including a great scene where the Willet clan is captured by a group of people who want to “appease the gods,” so to speak — were far too short and sparsely considered in a book that focuses more on introducing extraneous characters in order to give the monster an ample body count of blood and gore.
For a Creature Feature, this was Aliens 3 not Alien, where more carnage and deaths and ratcheting up the action are the focus over a slower build of character development and suspense. It all comes down to personal preference, but I found myself yawning through scene after scene of newly introduced characters who are there only to serve as the next victims (allowing for the main characters to continue living and yet still have the gory details we all crave from a book like this).
Besides some silly inconsistencies with the creature’s ability to silently grab someone versus the noise it makes flapping around, this will definitely appeal to the market who anxiously awaits whatever B-horror film may be around the corner. Plenty of gore and guts to go around.
Thanks to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, through which I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.