Review of Beneath the Sand by Jake Shuford


I started a mainstream book by my hero, Dean Koontz, about two weeks ago but have been so snowed under with work that there’s been no time for reading—and long may it continue. I haven’t left mainstream behind, but the following two reviews are both from pre-published Indie’s written by my lovely clients.

Beneath the Sand is Jake’s second book, he’s put a lot of work into making the writing tight.  There are so many books out there that go to publication with 100001 errors. These indie authors give those of us that do take our writing seriously a lousy name. Every writer works hard on their book, but why put out something less than the best it can be? Jake has put in the graft, and the book is fantastic.

It is 2020, the year of the great pandemic. Our hero, Hugh, a  bio-chemist, takes his family and flees to the safety of their summer house in South Carolina. It is home to stunning descriptive passages of the area steeped in beauty, heat, humidity and alligators. Hugh thinks his family is safe until Thomas leaves the house in the middle of the night. They wake to find him gone and, despite some strange lights and noises, the name McCann is pushed to the forefront of the reader’s mind. They are about to call the police when Thomas walks in. He’s withdrawn, refuses to speak, and then—the odd behaviour cranks up. This is a horror story, and the family face unimaginable evil.

The book is in two parts with a fifteen-year gap. Jack, the grown-up son, has never got over the loss of his brother. He has followed his father into the sciences. And this is where the impact of how brilliant this book is, hits you. Jack attends a lecture, and the reader is educated. We learn that what we thought was the impossible writings of a gruesome mind—is actually true. What happened to Thomas is happening in real life. Okay, so far, it’s only hit the insect, arachnid and small vertebrate species, but it’s evolving. We are up to reptiles and rodents. How long before it is onto elephants—and us? It’s a terrifying concept that ties up sci-fi, horror and reality.

And then there’s Dr Shobb, a lovely, hapless small-town doctor who gets a hard time from Hugh. If ever my life is on the line, I want overweight, sweaty, funny Dr Shobb in my corner.

The writing is tight, stark, brutal and gorgeously descriptive of nature and its beauty. I loved this book.