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Anoka Shane Hawk Main

"Anoka" Book Review

Written by Andrew Fowlow

Independently Published

anoka shane hawk poster large

Written by Shane Hawk
2022, 138 pages, Fiction
Released on October 26th, 2020

Review:

Anoka is a small town in Minnesota also known as "the Halloween capital of the world." Werewolves, sinister children and pagan witches are just a few of the strange and abhorrent entities that prey on the town's most vulnerable residents. There is a powerful evil at work within the borders of this town that plagues the very ground it sits on like that of a tainted burial ground that should never have been disturbed. This debut collection includes six horrifying short stories and notes by Indigenous author, Shane Hawk.

Right off the bat, Shane Hawk grabbed ahold of me with his short and shocking tale, "Soilborne". It is the perfect start to the collection because it gives readers a clear indication of what to expect: dread-inducing terror. My favorite story in the book is called "Imitate". It is a little lengthier than the other tales in the collection and by far the scariest. Here, Hawk penned a story where a father encounters a sinister creature that takes the form of his son and begins to haunt his everyday life until madness ensues. This one devastated me, not just as a father but as a horror fan. Another part of the book I enjoyed is the story notes by the author. This is where Hawk talks about the town of Anoka, his heritage, and other facts pertinent to the creation of each story. It is so interesting to read about a writer's inspiration and the inner workings of their mind as they craft such grimdark tales of horror.

Indigenous horror is one of my favorite subgenres because the authors that craft these tales are always proud and knowledgeable of their heritage, which is evident in their writing. Stephen Graham Jones and Owl Goingback are perfect examples of authors whose culture bleeds through the pages of their stories. They bring to life extraordinarily nightmarish tales not for the faint at heart. Anoka is no exception. The author amplifies the ancestry of his people through his stories. Hawk crafted the perfect blend of Indigenous folklore and supernatural horror for this delightfully frightening collection.

Shane Hawk is a new author but in no way does he write like one. His style is subtle and gripping with a pace that steeps suspense like that of a seasoned horror veteran. A lot of the content in these stories deals with themes of grief and self-identity, which gives depth to each character in these tales. It's not an easy feat to make an emotional connection with your audience in a short story, but Hawk does this with ease by creating a relatable cast of characters that are deeply flawed. You can't help but feel the ever-tightening grip of mania as a father prepares to destroy what may be a monster or possibly his son. I am thoroughly impressed to say the least.

Anoka is a collection of shocking and disturbing short stories by an emerging Indigenous author in the horror community. I'm going to be keeping an eye on Shane Hawk as he delivers more, fresh literary frights to unsuspecting readers. Anyone seeking a deeply suspenseful read with a chilling tone that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck, look no further. Come and visit a community that is haunted by an ancient and grimdark terror. Perpetual fear awaits you amongst these pages and it will enthrall you until the end.

Grades:

Overall: 4 Star Rating Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK.

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