I don’t know Harry Shannon well, but we have a lot of good mutual friends and have had stories in some of the same anthologies. I also hadn’t read much of his work until now, but I just finished the massive collection, A HOST OF SHADOWS, which has been nominated for a Stoker Award by the Horror Writers of America.
Despite that nomination, there are quite a few stories in A HOST OF SHADOWS that aren’t what you’d think of as traditional horror. You got your Westerns, your war stories, your crime and suspense stories to go along with plenty of stories that definitely are horror yarns. What they all have in common, though, is that they’re very dark and very well-written. Shannon’s clearly a master of the terse and hardboiled.
Another thing I like about this collection is that a number of the stories take place in the West and Southwest, and Shannon does an excellent job of portraying the bleak high desert country that manages to be both starkly beautiful and depressingly ugly at the same time. He's written a number of mystery novels with the same setting, and I plan to read those as soon as I get a chance.
So I think the Stoker nomination for this collection is well-deserved, and if you haven’t read Harry Shannon’s work yet, A HOST OF SHADOWS would be an excellent place to start. Highly recommended.
(Harry Shannon is a member of the Top Suspense Group.)
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