If you are a fan of short horror collections, then look no further. Anoka by Shane Hawk is one of the better collections that I have read in quite a while. Mixing modern day horror with Indigenous lore makes these tales uniquely satisfying for those looking for something new in horror.
Excerpt: “Welcome to Anoka, Minnesota, a small city just outside of the twin cities dubbed “The Halloween Capital of the World” since 1973. Here before you lie several tales involving bone collectors, pagan witches, werewolves, skeletal bison, and cloned children. It is up to you to decipher between fact and fiction as the author has woven historical facts into his narratives. With his debut horror collection, Cheyenne and Arapaho author, Shane Hawk, explores themes of family, grief, loneliness, and edentity through the lens of indigenous life.”
My three favorite stories in this collection would be, “wounded,” “Imitate,” and “Dead America.” These stories are thickly woven into the indigenous culture, inviting the reader into a new world and perspective from which to recieve supernatural twists.
“Wounded,” while well written and traumatic in nature, revolves around a book (no wonder why I love this tale.) But this is no ordinary spell book or grimoire; this book has a malevolent spirit of its own. Once he decides what’s real and what isn’t, the protagonist Phillip is forced to do battle with a book from hell.
“Imitate” was just creepy. Like, haunted kids kind of creepy. What begins as a normal routine in which the father reads a bed time story to his son turns into a trip down the rabbit hole. The story ends leaving me with an eerie feeling of fantasy mixed with a bit of horror.
“Dead America” is about a native writer that is thought to have sold out his people due to writing or stealing their stories. After the death of his grandfather, he succumbs to a recurring nightmare in which a spider comes to him and lays hundreds of eggs in his belly. The story culminates with his grandfather visitng him to tell him to stop ‘spinning his web of lies.”
“Anoka” is a great read and short collection that can be finisehd in a couple of days (I’m a slow reader.) I highly recommend it to any lover of the supernatural, indigenous fiction lovers, or those looking for something fresh.
Willy Martinez is a creative writer, Integrated Marketing Specialist, and Boxing coach. Since being honorably discharged from the Marines in 2004, he has pursued his passion for telling stories, whether they be through film, graphic design, and writing for digital art.
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