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Just Add Water

(Mail Order Massacres #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  149 ratings  ·  65 reviews

It’s fun! It’s easy! They only cost a measly dollar. Just clip out the ad in your comic book. Then ask Mom to mail it in. A few weeks later, receive a packet of instant Sea Serpent dust. Then:

Just add water . . . and watch them grow!


Just ask David and Patrick. Their “instant pets” are instant duds. They don’t hatch,/>WHAT/>Just
Kindle Edition, 91 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Lyrical Underground
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  149 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-books, 2017
When David and Patrick order Amazing Sea Serpents from the ad in the back of a Wonder Woman comic, they wait 6-8 weeks to receive an envelope of disappointment in the mail. However, when they dump the Amazing Sea Serpents down the sewer, they get more than their money's worth.

I'd pre-ordered this, fueled by nostalgic memories of Sea Monkey ads in the backs of comics back in the day and my fandom of Hunter Shea. Imagine my delight when it popped up on Netgalley AND I got approved for
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Shelby *trains flying monkeys* by: Dan Schwent
I loved the crap out of this and I'm gonna ramble. (Like normal)

First of all this is not Wonder Woman's fault! Wonder Woman is freaking the most awesomeness of all the awesome of the world. I'll tell me friend Erica on you if you don't agree..and you can see here what happens when you mess with Wonder Woman.

Second of all, my stingy parents would never let me order these:

How could you not let your comic book loving kid have a set of these? I just knew I was missing out on the greatest t
Amazing sea monkeys!! Remember those ads in the back of comic books? Didn't you always want them? I know I did. But my mean smart parents never let me order them because they were a "waste of money." That's what David and Patrick's parents told them too, but they ordered them anyway. Just Add Water is the story of what happened next.

This novella read so fast and was so much fun that I almost read it all in one sitting. It's exactly what a creature feature fan wants in a story. Lots of actio
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-shelf, horror
OMG this was some hellishly wicked fun horror, like straight out of 1980's B-Movies with kids as protagonists and creepy crawlies ALL OVER SUBURBIA eating EVERYONE.

I mean, seriously, back in the day, I'd have gone NUTS over this if I'd watched this movie. So much blood and guts and sly humor and light commentary, this is pretty much a CLASSIC that brings me back to the goriest of all the cheese of my youth.

Classic, I say. :)

It's short and sweet and I'd go tota
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tuckerville Road was as quiet as a cemetary at night, and filled with just as many bodies.

Lessons from this book: it's all Wonder Woman's fault and 80s kids rock (I already knew that because I am an 80s kid but now we have proof) since they aren't such dependent whiny asses like the kids nowadays - 80s kids get shit done! WASABI!!!

Seriously, anyone who ever enjoyed any monster movie will love this nov
Edward Lorn
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
As per usual, I'm going to be upfront and brutally honest with you. This book doesn't deserve half the credit I'm going to give it in this review. The writing's clunky, the action is repetitive (everybody has their face bitten off, so much so that I was expecting some explanation as to why everyone suffered that specific injury, like, maybe the sea serpents didn't like the way people looked at them or something, anything, but nope, nada), and the entire book is idiotic in the best possible way. For insta ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
At first was I surprised how short this story is. I had expected a book and got a novella. And, that's perfectly alright because the story is fast, furious and brutal. If you have a problem with pets and kids getting brutally attacked and eaten is this not a book for you. But, if you are a horror fan with a penchant for gruesome deaths, then you're in for a treat.

One thing I thought of while reading this book was when the "sea serpents" had grown and started to hunt people did David
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hunter Shea's latest novella is an 80's creature-feature that put me in mind of the great "B" horror movies--action packed, with page after page of nonstop gore. In short, just the type of book to pick up when you want to escape reality for a while and just "enjoy" the ride.

Young comic book enthusiasts, David and Patrick, go into a store intending to purchase some new editions to add to their already considerable comic collections. Disappointed to find that the only one out that they
Montzalee Wittmann
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Just Add Water (Mail Order Massacres) by Hunter Shea is a fun retro horror short story. At first I thought this would be a horror book for middle grade kids until I got further into it and I hit a couple of paragraphs that certainly would not be suited for kids. Then came some graphic gore, then I realized it was not a mistake, it was an adult horror and I was the one mistaken. Imagine that? I think without the couple of paragraphs and tone down the gore, it would be a great middle grade kids bo ...more
Michael Hicks
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, netgalley
When I'm in the mood for some fun, creature-feature horror, Hunter Shea has become my automatic go-to.

Just Add Water is the first in a series of novellas by Shea from Kensington Publishing revolving around the concept of those items for sale at the back of comic books from back in the day. Stuff like automatic muscles, space rockets, and X-Ray eyes. In the first of these Mail Order Massacres, Patrick and David, flush with pocket money, decide to ignore their parent's warnings of ordering rip-off jun
Adrian Dooley
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Short and sweet and fantastic fun. Gruesome and funny in equal amounts.

David and Patrick are teenage friends and big comic collectors. When searching for their latest purchase in a store, the only comic that they don't have is a Wonder Woman one so they buy it.
At the back in the ads section there's an ad for "Amazing Sea Serpents". Only $5, you get a tank and everything.

So the guys order it for the laugh and a few weeks later the parcel turns up. They follow the instructions, fill the tank wi
Barb (Boxermommyreads)
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Hunter Shea is quickly becoming one of my "must read everything he writes" authors which is saying a lot because he is sharing space with some of my favorites such as Stephen King, Joe Hill and Stuart West. I feel "Just Add Water" is best compared to a B-movie horror-fest and I mean that in the best way possible. It's the kind of book you should grab up when you want to escape reality for a while and enjoy some blood, gore and a tad bit of humor all at the same time.

David and Patrick
Autumn Is Azathoth
by Hunter Shea

I never miss a title by Hunter Shea. No matter what his chosen topic, I'm going to experience a new and different twist on it. I classify JUST ADD WATER—in his MAILORDER MASSACRES Series—in the category of Morality Tale, subcategory “Be Careful What You Wish For.” Another subcategory for it is “Coming of Age: The Hard Way.” Mr. Shea (another author who does this well is Richard Chizmar) eloquently remembers and elucidates the lives and thin
Andi Rawson
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't like to say that he's my favorite 'mindless read' because it sounds borderline offensive, but Hunter Shea has quickly become my go-to for when I want a well-done monster flick in the form of a book. He pulls of a fast-paced, creature feature in a way that not only makes it seem damn near plausible but that you morbidly almost want to happen.

As someone who liked to repeat the same mistake with AMAZING LIVE SEA-MONKEYS! Or in my case, amazingly dead brine shrimp... Just Add Water was righ
Shane Keene
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is, like most Hunter Shea books, a blast cover to cover. If you're looking for serious fun and a super fast read, this is the ticket.

Review coming to soon.
Laura Thomas
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
I’m sure many of you bought them. Those sea monkeys advertised in comic books. I did. And so did a couple of boys.They clip out the order form, fill it out, insert their dollar bill and send it off. When the order arrives and their freeze dried pets don’t hatch and start to stink, they dump them in the sewer.

Yep, you guessed it. Time passes. The creatures hatch. They grow. They crawl out of the sewers. Horrific in ways unimaginable. And then they feed. There goes the neighborhood. ...more
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
3 and 1/2 Stars

Like many of you, I came across author Hunter Shea while surfing the many titles on Amazon. I had just gotten myself...
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Somebody get me some salt. A lot of salt. Wait...those aren't slugs. Shit. Get me the salt anyway.

Patrick and David are best buddies. Loves them some comic books. They order some Amazing Sea Serpents! from the ad in the back of a Wonder Woman comic because honestly, who doesn’t want to order Amazing Sea Serpents! from the back of a comic book? Turns out it was a bad idea. Really bad.

A super-fast and bloody monster romp. Maybe too fast. While good and enjoyable, I wanted a little more dep
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 stars

The year is 1980 and best friends David and Patrick are looking forward to summer vacation. They are thirteen-year olds who love movies, super hero comics, baseball and swimming. They see an ad in one of their comic books for “Amazing Sea Serpents.” It’s only $4.95, so they send for them. After watching them for a week or so during which they do very little and smell an awful lot, they give up and put them down the storm sewer.

Then they basically forget about them
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary
The only other book I’ve read by Hunter Shea was The Montauk Monster. I enjoyed it, and when I saw his name popping up again and again, I knew I’d get around to reading another work by him. That finally happened in Just Add Water, which had a ridiculous synopsis with an equally ridiculous cover.

Just Add Water sounds like a cheesy, Tales from The Crypt type tale, and that’s exactly what it is. The basic plot is boys dump what they think is a failed experiment down the sewer, and it co
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Just Add Water is the kind of pulp, trashy, exploitative horror that only Hunter Shea can deliver. It shouldn't be so much fun to witness so much carnage, to watch as so many people meet a bloody, grisly end, but it is. It really, truly, is.

It all starts on a warm summer afternoon in 1980 when a couple of boys order a pack of Amazing Sea Serpents from the back of a Wonder Woman comic. They arrive, they hatch, they swim, they stink, and they get dumped in a sewer when they prove to be
Stormi (BMReviewsohmy)
I have read only one other book by Hunter Shea and that was The Jersey Devil which Barb and I buddy read so it just seemed right to buddy read this one. I didn't realize it was a novella till I started reading and finished in the same day which doesn't happen with me often, Nonetheless, it was a fun cheesy horror book and I will be checking out the next in this Mail Order Massacre series.

David and Patrick are huge comic book collectors and they use all their money they scrap to
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hunter Shea delivers the goods in this fond look back at the B-monster tales from our past, while also paying homage to the way life used to be by making the threat the result of a comic book mail-order scam.

Just Add Water is pretty simple stuff as two friends inadvertently create a horde of monsters which descend on their local town, tearing most of the population apart, before extremely conveniently working out a way to fight back against said monsters.

It's fun, fast-paced, quite/>Just
Kirsten #EndGunViolence
What fun! A word of caution: it's a good thing I never ordered anything from the back of the comic books. I was never interested in the sea serpents, but the ant farms always looked like such fun.

These poor boys have the misfortune of not just getting the sea serpents but then throwing them in the sewer. They have the good luck of having an expert in town that knows something about how to get rid of them.

This short tale (90 pages) was great fun with monster carnage and hero kids. Lo
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
What a fun read! Hunter Shea and his creativity has no limits. Another really cool monster has just been created in Just Add Water. Full review coming soon.
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, e-books
OMG!! I can't believe someone hasn't taken this idea and made a movie! It would be such a classic. Most of us grew up with the ads in practically everything showing how much fun sea monkeys were. I even had some! Such a disappointment, but thankfully they didn't turn out like these!!!

I was given an eARC by the publisher through NetGalley.
Catherine Cavendish
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Patrick and David are two boys with a shared passion for comic books. Between them they have amassed an impressive collection. It’s not just the stories that have them hooked. There are those incredible advertisements – and they find one in particular irresistible even though they’ve been warned that they’ll be wasting their precious pocket money. I mean, grow your own sea serpents. Really? Yes, really. They order. The package arrives. A small, innocuous plastic water tank and some powder. Waste ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enthusiastic friends Patrick and David decide to grow their very own Sea Serpents and order a kit from an advert in a comic book. When nothing much happens except a noxious smell, they dump the entire lot into a drain and forget about them. However, the Sea Serpents thrive in the sewer and emerge as fully grown monsters who wreak devastation on the local population.

Just Add Water is a great little novella which reminded me of those fantastic creature-feature horror stories I read as a tee
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Find all of my reviews at:

In 1980 all David and Patrick can think of is how cool it’s going to be spending the summer watching the Amazing Sea Serpents they just ordered out of the back of a Wonder Woman comic. Unfortunately things don’t end up being quite as impressive as they hoped . . . .

When the tank starts to reek, the boys know they have to say buh bye to their new pets pronto . . . .

“So long, Amazing Sea Serpents. It was smelly and nasty while it lasted.”

Lucky for us, their loss is our gain
Dez Nemec
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, arc
This book was awesome! Someone else likened it to one of those B-movie creature-features, and I think that was right on target. The premise is totally relatable - two kids order Amazing Sea Serpents from the ads in the back of a Wonder Woman comic. After the serpents fail to grow (but excel at stinking up the basement), we follow their growth through the sewer and subsequent emersion. What follows is a fast-paced gore fest. Apparently the boys were not sent sea serpents, but rather something mor ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Mail Order Massacres (3 books)
  • Optical Delusion (Mail Order Massacres #2)
  • Money Back Guarantee (Mail Order Massacres #3)