Location. Location. Location. Real estate’s three most important considerations also apply to fiction. Horror writers need the right location for a creepy story. Well, forget the abandoned house, the derelict cruise ship, clown college (shiver!) As Hunter Shea’s SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE and my new novel BLACK MAGIC demonstrate, head for the Everglades.
Everglades National Park takes up the southern tip of Florida. It’s a swampy savannah that stretches out flat as far as the eye can see. It’s sometimes flooded, sometimes not, and dotted with islands of trees. There are good reasons (other than Skunk Apes) to put the Everglades high on the horror locale list:
1. Isolation. Though it’s just miles from Miami, cross the park border and there’s nothing and no one out there. No cell service, no roads and once you trek a few miles in, no landmarks worth mentioning. Expect to get lost moments after starting your hike. Especially in the dark.
2. Scary creatures. I have an evil sorcerer in BLACK MAGIC to up the scare factor, but the Everglades has its own menagerie from Hell. Alligators, crocodiles, vultures, deadly cottonmouth snakes, literally tons of mosquitoes, plus stingrays, sharks and jellyfish where the ‘Glades meet Biscayne Bay. The last time I visited, I counted sixteen alligators and crocodiles sunning themselves at just one observation point. Who’d ever want to meander through that?
Recently anacondas have taken up residence, after being released by moronic owners when they grew to adult size at over fifteen feet and 220 pounds. These constrictors eat anything and everything and have no natural predators. In my novel I describe one eating a deer. I did not make that up. There’s a picture on the NPS website if you don’t believe me.
In BLACK MAGIC, sorcerer Lyle Miller summons all of these creatures (and razor-toothed killer rabbits) to defend him as he tricks unwitting boys to help conjure a hurricane over south Florida. Read this non-tourist friendly Florida tale and you may cross the Everglades off your bucket list, if SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE didn’t already do that for you. — Russell James
Hunter here. I highly suggest you grab a copy of Black Magic. Perfect summer reading! You can pick up a copy by clicking any of the links below:
You can also tag along with Russell as he journeys into the dark and strange at his website.