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Forest of Shadows

(Jessica Backman's Death in the Afterlife #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  177 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The dead still hate!

 John Backman specializes in inexplicable phenomena. The weirder the better. So when he gets a letter from a terrified man describing an old log home with odd whisperings, shadows that come alive, and rooms that disappear, he can’t resist the call. But the violence only escalates as soon as John arrives in the remote Alaskan village of Shida. Something
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Samhain Publishing (first published October 4th 2011)
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  177 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-books, 2017
Five years after his wife dies unexpectedly, John Backman takes his daughter, sister-in-law, and her son to Alaska to investigate a haunting. But the worst enemy of all may be the xenophobia of the townsfolk of Shida. No, I lied. It's the dark forces that threaten to consume whomever lives in the house...

In Forest of Shadows, Hunter Shea takes an unconventional, unsuspecting family to Alaska and exposes them to some staples of horror fiction, namely ghosts and a haunted house.

I've said before th
FOREST OF SHADOWS, by Hunter Shea, is an intensely gripping, paranormal tale with unrelenting suspense and characters that you'll immediately get attached to. After a horrible tragedy leaves John Backman raising his infant daughter--with the help of his sister-in-law, Eve--he becomes obsessed with all things supernatural, and in proving the existence of the spirit after death. To this end, he becomes a paranormal investigator, ruling out natural causes and constantly searching for proof that the ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FOREST OF SHADOWS, by Hunter Shea, is an intensely gripping, paranormal tale with unrelenting suspense and characters that you'll immediately get attached to. After a horrible tragedy leaves John Backman raising his infant daughter--with the help of his sister-in-law, Eve--he becomes obsessed with all things supernatural, and in proving the existence of the spirit after death. To this end, he becomes a paranormal investigator, ruling out natural causes and constantly searching for proof that the ...more
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
This is the first book in the Jessica Backman series and it's about John Backman, Jessica's father, who is a paranormal enthusiast and ghost hunter. Jessica is a just a little girl when they move to the remote Alaskan village of Shida for the summer so her father can investigate a haunting. John gets in over his head and his final attempt to document the haunting goes seriously wrong when he riles the shadows a little too far.

The author did a great job of portraying the creepy town of Shida and
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
John Backman's hobby is being a paranormal investigator. He even has his own website called One day he receives a letter from Judas Graves from the small town of Shida, Alaska. Judas tell John about this haunted log cabin in his hometown. With the sudden death of John's wife, he decides to pack up and go check this haunted cabin out. He brings along his daughter Jessica, his sister in law Eve and her son Liam. John and his family go to Shida and rent the home were all the haunting ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
My first experience with this author and it was a good one. This was his first novel I believe and he delivers plenty of scares. It’s a solid ghost story with some spooky scenes that will stick with me for a while. (Don’t think I’ll be heading out into the woods in my back yard at night going forward.)

It’s an easy quick read and if I have any complaint it’s with the dialogue. Some of it feels awfully forced and unnatural at times making the characters seem pretty one dimensional and forgettable
Rich D.
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am a huge fan of Hunter Shea's work and it always amazes me how he is able to tackle a variety of horror topics in an interesting, creative way. Shea has covered monster tales, hauntings and everything in between and all of his works have become favorites of mine. So when I was offered a chance to join the blog tour for his latest novel, Island of the Forbidden, I jumped at the chance. The novel is the third book in a series following the journey of paranormal investigator Jessica Backman and ...more
David Bernstein
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Hunter Shea's Forest of Shadows. The writing is top-notch. The prologue sets the tone for this creepy experience. The main character is a paranormal investigator who has an open mind for all things "strange" including extra-terrestrial life, although there are no aliens in this tale. This is an atmospheric, mood-setting piece, filled with sadness, mystery, scares, detail and good old fashion fun. From reading the book, you can tell Mr. Shea is either a paranormal buff or did a l ...more
M.A Grace
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
A book that keeps me giddy and on my toes from the start to the end has me sold. Hunter does this. After reading what the book was about and looking at the cover the book was practically calling me to read it. So I obeyed. I was caught up in the web of characters pretty quickly and found myself peeking into what I thought their fates would hold and to have something change causing my theory to leave and be replaced over again. As his stew of clues, people, personalities, and bump in the night no ...more
Auden Johnson
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
This book was so good. I was surprised and happy at how in to it I was. Haunted house stories are my favorite but they can be difficult to pull off. The author spiced the story with some drama and lot of mystery. It was well balanced. The characters were engaging. Some slightly annoying but those weren't supposed to be likable. The pace was really good, no dull moments. I was racing to the end with excitement and dread. Most horror stories are a bit predictable- you know who's going to live or d ...more
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Hunter Shea's Forest of Shadows is a genuinely creepy ghost story, perfectly paced, and populated with a great cast of characters. Scary, heartfelt, and very memorable. I loved it!
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and will be reading more from this author. That is the highest praise I can offer.
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hunter Shea writes horror novels with very endearing and fleshed-out characters. I'm loving it.
Erin Al-Mehairi
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Now until March 15, 2013 check out the news and giveaways at my blog link from Hunter Shea:


Do shadows lurk around the corner of your home? Press against your window, claw at your door? Does evil claim your territory for their own devices? No, well….you’re not having any fun then. I suggest you get your fix like I did by reading Forest of Shadows by Hunter Shea.

Until you pick up your own copy, or possibly win the giveaway mentioned below, maybe thi
Dec 28, 2014 added it
Forest of Shadows is a book that just gets creepier as you go one. For a horror/ ghostly story, there is a lot happening in the book to get to its crescendo. Hunter Shea writes his prose with lots of detail. His background with the paranormal, shows thru here.
He write in great detail about his main characters, giving them life, as he gets you to feel real emotions for them as if they were alive.

Some might think that there is a little bit too much detail in the story before anything of any cons
Aniko Carmean
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
"If a place [is] truly haunted, it [is] haunted during the light of day as well as the night."

Ever since the sudden death of his wife, John has suffered debilitating anxiety. He lives a reclusive life, connected to the world through his daughter and his close friend, Eve. John's other connection is not so much to the world as it is, but to the supernatural. A financial windfall gave him the ability to turn his hobby of paranormal research into a full time pursuit, including running a website. T
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is my first read for this writer and I loved it. Do you like ghosts? Then this is the book for you.

When John Backman loses his wife, he is left alone with his daughter Jessica. John's sister-in-law, Eve who is now divorced from his brother, helps John take care of Jessica. Oh, did I tell you that John won 25 million from the lottery? But three years later and he is still living in the same house and with the loss of his wife, really doesn't feel that he exists. John has always been interest
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
After his wife's sudden death, John Backman indulged into his hobby of paranormal. The irony of his wife's death was on the day she died, they won the lotto.

John suffered insomnia after his wife died of a heart attack while she was sleeping. He became afraid of dying in his sleep that way but he knew that he has no cause to be afraid. He came across a case of a haunting in Shida, Alaska.

During his investigation, John, his daughter Jessica, his sister-in-law Eve and her son Liam discovered that
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love me a spine-tingling ghost story, and this one started out with a bang. Hunter Shea is a master at characterization and making you care about his characters, whose personalities are so distinct and so realistic, I felt like I'd known them my whole life. When paranormal investigator John and his family go to a reportedly haunted house in Alaska, I was genuinely worried for all of them.

The spook factor is high in this book, but not as high as in Sinister Entity, which is actually book two. S
Cate Gardner
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Forest of Shadows is a claustrophobic tale of a haunted house and the haunted inhabitants of a remote Alaskan town. When John Backman (a bereaved paranormal investigator) and his family move into a supposedly haunted house they find that the threats to their safety are not just from the supernatural but also from the townsfolk. Strangers aren't welcome in Shida; it is a town with secrets that refuse to stay buried.

A chilling tale with an endearing, eclectic and disturbing cast of characters. Nic
Frazer Lee
Jan 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hunter Shea's debut lures you into its mystery via a well drawn and sympathetic protaganist - paranormal investigator/debunker John Backman. After a frenetic, haunted-house-gone-bonkers introduction, the quieter dramatic trade-off between Backman's personal tragedy and sudden good fortune hooks you into the deeper story. Shea's eclectic supporting cast of characters is fun, and each has his/her dark secret to reveal as the tale progresses to a pacy climax. Hunter Shea is the kind of storyteller ...more
Laurel Heidtman
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, paranormal
I think horror stories are difficult to do well, but Hunter Shea has managed to do it with Forest of Shadows. I was torn between not wanting to put it down and wanting to make it last as long as possible. The characters were realistic and I really cared about what was going to happen to them. The ending was so sweet I got tears in my eyes, which is really an odd thing to happen after reading a book that's truly scary. I think Forest of Shadows would make a great movie, but I know it's a great re ...more
Sep 18, 2013 rated it liked it
The Forest of Shadows by Hunter Shea is a horror novel put out by Samhain. I believe it is Hunter's first novel and certainly a fine debut publication on his part. The book has a strong build up and a good deal of suspense. Even though the book focuses on the main character, John, Hunter uses several other points of view to try to flesh out the story and give it a well-rounded feel.

Read the rest of the Forest of Shadows review at SFReader
Dan Barbier
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Hunter Shea's Forest of Shadows starts with a bang, then goes slower, telling the story of John Backman's wife' death, his anxiety attacks, his love for his daughter, his friendship to his wife's sister and his passion for the paranormal. The setting, a beautiful expensive house in Alaska is spooky enough and the story becomes creepier and creepier as we go deeper in the small town's history. A fine debut and a great set of characters fill this novel to a satisfying finish.
Mick Ridgewell
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
John Backman isn't disappointed when he accepts an invitation to investigate a haunted cabin outside of Shida, Alaska. What he finds isn't just a haunted cabin, he moves into the epicenter of a haunted community.
If you need a balls to the wall sprint, from cover to cover, then Forest of Shadows may not be your cup of tea. This story is like an old kettle. A slow boil that finishes with a scream.
Hunter Shea delivers a finish that is worth the wait.
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Since I read the 'sequel', I already mostly knew what would happen in this book. Which means the suspense of not knowing was gone. And with that gone, most of the enjoyment of reading a book is gone, too. However, it was anything but dull. Maybe I can read more of this author in the future. I need some good horror novels and these do pretty well.
This was a solid, but somewhat predictable debut from Shea. The cast of characters seems somewhat rote, but Shea pulls off his story with great gusto. A fun read. It definitely builds momentum, and by the end I found myself deeply invested in the character's fates. I would give this 3.5 stars if goodreads would allow it. I want to see more from Shea, and more from Samhain's new line.
John Heldon
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Goose bumps: Here's how to get them. Take Hunter Shea's "Forest of Shadows. Turn off all lights and noises in the house well after dark. Find a chair in a corner, and turn on one reading light. Start to read, and those bumps will be along in no time.
I'm a new fan of the horror genre, and Hunter hooked me on this one. A well written great read.

John Heldon, author of "Ark".
Randy Evans
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hunter Shea's "Forest of Shadows" is a ghost story. I'm not a big fan of ghost stories but I am a fan of horror and of Hunter Shea. The story is a good one and is well written so if you like this type of horror you should like this book.
Kevin Lucia
Jun 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Very average. Exposition a little slow and ponderous, and - something I see a lot lately - poor pacing. An action prologue, followed by an unexpected - but unexplained - death, and the pace slows down.
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Apocalypse Whenever: Interview with Hunter Shea 1 8 Oct 27, 2011 08:14AM  

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Hunter Shea is the author of over 25 books, with a specialization in cryptozoological horror that includes The Jersey Devil, The Dover Demon, Loch Ness Revenge and many others. As part of the new horror line at Flame Tree Press, his novel Creature has gained critical acclaim. His novel, The Montauk Monster, was named one of the best reads of the summer by Publishers Weekly. A trip to the Internati ...more