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Welcome to Anoka, Minnesota, a small city just outside of the Twin Cities dubbed “The Halloween Capital of the World” since 1937. 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 Welcome to Anoka, Minnesota, a small city just outside of the Twin Cities dubbed “The Halloween Capital of the World” since 1937. 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 & Arapaho author Shane Hawk explores themes of family, grief, loneliness, and identity through the lens of indigenous life.


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Welcome to Anoka, Minnesota, a small city just outside of the Twin Cities dubbed “The Halloween Capital of the World” since 1937. 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 Welcome to Anoka, Minnesota, a small city just outside of the Twin Cities dubbed “The Halloween Capital of the World” since 1937. 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 & Arapaho author Shane Hawk explores themes of family, grief, loneliness, and identity through the lens of indigenous life.

30 review for Anoka

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    4.0 Stars This was a fantastic collection of own voices indigenous horror stories written by an Native American author. These stories offered insight into the experience of being an indigenous person in the United States while exploring major themes of identity and family.  Yet, I want to clear that this collection was definitely a horror collection. These stories were consistently dark with some gruesome and terrifying imagery included throughout the collection. Horror fans will not be disappoint 4.0 Stars This was a fantastic collection of own voices indigenous horror stories written by an Native American author. These stories offered insight into the experience of being an indigenous person in the United States while exploring major themes of identity and family.  Yet, I want to clear that this collection was definitely a horror collection. These stories were consistently dark with some gruesome and terrifying imagery included throughout the collection. Horror fans will not be disappointed.  As I say with every collection I read, I enjoyed some of the stories more than others. Here are my thoughts on my favourites: Soilborne - This story was quite ambiguous with an ending I ended up rereading several times. I ended up really loved this one after reading the author's notes at the end and understanding the full idea behind this one. Imitate - This was my favourite of the stories. I loved reading from the father's perspective, which felt incredibly honest and relatable as a fellow parent. There were some fantastic scenes involving the son which I thought were wonderfully unsettling.  Transfigured - Set on Halloween, this was a wonderful queer take on werewolf & wendigo mythology that discussed traditional hunting practices. It was a fresh take on the classic monster story  I really appreciated the inclusion of the author's notes at the end which provided the inspiration behind each of the stories. Knowing the background made me appreciate each story even more. (I wish all authors were required to provide these!) I had the opportunity to review the audiobook version which was a very enjoyable experience. Short stories don't always lend themselves well to the audio format, but these ones were easy to follow. Overall, I thought the narrator gave a strong performance. His inflection fit the tone of most of the stories quite well. If possible, I do also recommend checking out the ebook edition in order to see the illustrations included in the collection.  I would absolutely recommend this collection to any horror readers looking for a diverse set of stories. Shane Hawks is definitely an author to watch. I would recommend his work to anyone who is a fan of Stephen Graham Jones' work.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Roxie |The Book Slayer| Voorhees

    Six tales by indigenous author, Shane Hawk, takes us to Anoka, a small midwest city known as The Halloween Capital of the World. I personally love the idea of several stories all happening in one location so this was a plus. Shane also brings forward some painful issues in the indigenous community specifically alcoholism and domestic violence. I found his approach to the topics respectful while also making his stance on the issues obvious.  At the end of the collection is a list of story notes. I Six tales by indigenous author, Shane Hawk, takes us to Anoka, a small midwest city known as The Halloween Capital of the World. I personally love the idea of several stories all happening in one location so this was a plus. Shane also brings forward some painful issues in the indigenous community specifically alcoholism and domestic violence. I found his approach to the topics respectful while also making his stance on the issues obvious.  At the end of the collection is a list of story notes. I love when writers include these! These gave an interesting perspective into the stories.  Soilborne This story is a frightful way to address infant loss.  Wounded This story turned me into an emotional mess (Thanks Shane) and by addressing the painful topic of missing and murdered indigenous females this was one of my favorites of the collections. Orange Grief horror to punch you straight in the feels. Imitate Imi-TATE. This stroy includes another creepy kid and I am here for it. We get a boy clone under the bed that says the monster is the boy on the bed. WHATTT??? My favorite story of the collection. Dead America This story really fucked with me.  Seriously, spiders laying eggs in your mouth 😩 Transfigured One of the best werewolves stories I have read in a long time! I also adore the queer rep here with our nonbinary wolf.  I cried, was disgusted, and creeped out with this collection. In addition, the writing was well done! I felt for characters and feel more aware of indigenous issues. For these reasons, Anoka gets 5 stars!  I look forward to reading more from Shane Hawk.  Thank you to Shane Hawk for gifting me a copy of Anoka in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Fowlow

    Review to come...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    There's something exciting about bearing witness to an artist early in their career, and that excitement simply permeates the six stories in Shane Hawk's debut collection. These tales are visceral and raw. Unafraid to take risks. What I admire most about Shane's stories are their ability to turn on a dime from deep character introspection to demented terror Even in my short time as a horror fan, I've encountered few authors so willing to step into the strange directions that litter these pages. " There's something exciting about bearing witness to an artist early in their career, and that excitement simply permeates the six stories in Shane Hawk's debut collection. These tales are visceral and raw. Unafraid to take risks. What I admire most about Shane's stories are their ability to turn on a dime from deep character introspection to demented terror Even in my short time as a horror fan, I've encountered few authors so willing to step into the strange directions that litter these pages. "Transfigured" was the highlight of the longer stories, though I have to admit a preference for the shorter, tighter tales: "Soilborne" and "Orange." Hell, "Orange" was so wtf-good that the moment I finished, I went back to its opening lines and reread the whole thing. I fully plan to keep watching whatever Shane produces next. Like a Hawk.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christopher O'Halloran

    Shane Hawk knocks it out of the park with this one. Each short features complex characters and stories that unfold in ways that force your attention and beg you to reread. His experience with the Native-American identity is enlightening and compels me to learn more about these cultures that are too often erased or pushed aside. The prose is artful and intelligent, making the horror that much striking by contrast. I can't wait to see what Shane does with a novel! Shane Hawk knocks it out of the park with this one. Each short features complex characters and stories that unfold in ways that force your attention and beg you to reread. His experience with the Native-American identity is enlightening and compels me to learn more about these cultures that are too often erased or pushed aside. The prose is artful and intelligent, making the horror that much striking by contrast. I can't wait to see what Shane does with a novel!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Richelle SheReadsHorror

    Anoka is a collection of stories rooted from one common place, a place considered the Halloween capital of the world. Anoka is located in Minnesota. A town with a hotspot for weird phenomena. Stories with a folklore essence by an indigenous tongue. I really enjoyed the author's voice throughout these stories but I had 2 that were especially my favorite and I have those starred. I also really wish more authors would include their story notes and music they use to write with because I really love Anoka is a collection of stories rooted from one common place, a place considered the Halloween capital of the world. Anoka is located in Minnesota. A town with a hotspot for weird phenomena. Stories with a folklore essence by an indigenous tongue. I really enjoyed the author's voice throughout these stories but I had 2 that were especially my favorite and I have those starred. I also really wish more authors would include their story notes and music they use to write with because I really love that! The forward of how the author studied and searched within himself to make this collection of stories is beautifully written. My heart was filled with how much these stories may rip me apart. Then I read SOILBORNE, I don’t think I was fully prepared for what this collection of stories had to offer. The first story shocked me. It’s short and sharp with its folk and witchy lore. I can’t give away the details because it would definitely ruin it for those who would want to read this. WOUNDED - Philp spirals down a dark path of drugs and alcohol and thoughts of suicide after he is guilt ridden from the death of this sister. One day visiting his grandparent’s shed, he finds a weird Spanish written leather bound book. This one is coursing with dark alluring mystery with a side of regret and pain. This could seriously be made into a whole novel. ORANGE - This felt like the REAL thoughts going through a person's head after a loss of a loved one. It is beautifully written but that last line made me laugh a little. IMITATE - There’s a monster under the child’s bed that is now taken to a whole new level of creepy. The ending really crushed me on this one. ⭐️ DEAD AMERICA - Oh My God! This is one of my biggest fears ever! I loved the meaning behind the story but I wanted to throw my kindle across the room. Instead I kept reading with my eyes wanting to pop out of my head. ⭐️ TRANSFIGURED - A Halloween costume party is always fun especially when you can come as you are. Loved the twist at the end but I would definitely want it more fleshed out. Give me more! Lol Overall I’d give this collection 4 ⭐️ s. I can’t wait to read what this author comes out with next! He has a beautiful story telling voice. ***Adding that the author gifted me the audiobook but I read this on my kindle. The narrator seemed to be monotone to me with a slight echo. I couldn’t stop focusing on the echo so I had to switch over and read it from my kindle. This doesn’t seem to be a problem with most people so I’d still check it out if you’re interested in the audiobook.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Read the paperback. Incredible horror collection from new author Shane Hawk. Each story in this collection is incredibly strong, haunting, and just straight up creepy. `Imitate` and `Dead America` were personal favorites, but the entire collection was simply amazing. Highly recommend to all the horror fans out there! Read the paperback. Incredible horror collection from new author Shane Hawk. Each story in this collection is incredibly strong, haunting, and just straight up creepy. `Imitate` and `Dead America` were personal favorites, but the entire collection was simply amazing. Highly recommend to all the horror fans out there!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Thea Maeve Fenning

    When you think this collection can't get any better, you read the next story and it gets even better. When you think this collection can't get any better, you read the next story and it gets even better.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Julian Novaro

    It's hard to review Anoka without thinking of Stephen Graham Jones (The Only Good Indians particularly comes to mind). This anthology brings Indian* horror in the same caring way. A look at tradition, a shout-out to the issues that plague life in the reservation, and horrors both real and imaginary cover the pages of Shane Hawk's short stories. The stories in Anoka are full of surprises, and they all benefit from a reread (Which you will be happy to do once you get to the Story Notes at the end) It's hard to review Anoka without thinking of Stephen Graham Jones (The Only Good Indians particularly comes to mind). This anthology brings Indian* horror in the same caring way. A look at tradition, a shout-out to the issues that plague life in the reservation, and horrors both real and imaginary cover the pages of Shane Hawk's short stories. The stories in Anoka are full of surprises, and they all benefit from a reread (Which you will be happy to do once you get to the Story Notes at the end). I don't usually go back to read a story immediately after I'm finished with it, but in this case an exception seemed in order, and I'm glad I did. Any book you are willing to read twice immediately doubles it's value! I can't suggest this book enough, it's a 4 star book the first time you read it and a 5 star book the second time. And I'm sure I'll take the time for a third read-through once the stories are not so fresh on my mind, because the book is short enough and good enough to make it worth it!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Markthulhu

    Each story in this creepy collection has its own style, mood and pace, and yet all come from the singular, strong voice of new writer Shane Hawk. It’s hard to pick a favourite from this collection but I’m going to pick ‘Imitate’, my new favourite doppelgänger story. Keep an eye on Shane Hawk. I for one look forward to reading more from this talented writer.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    What a fantastic collection of short fiction! These stories were disturbing in the best possible way. Every single one had me so intrigued and horrified, "flipping" the pages of my e-reader so freaking fast. If I had to pick favorites, it'd be Imitate and Dead America. Oh boy were those two just the pinnacle of creepy! What a fantastic collection of short fiction! These stories were disturbing in the best possible way. Every single one had me so intrigued and horrified, "flipping" the pages of my e-reader so freaking fast. If I had to pick favorites, it'd be Imitate and Dead America. Oh boy were those two just the pinnacle of creepy!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Curtis

    This kicked ass!! Glad I waited for the audiobook because the narrator knocked it out of the park. "Orange" is one of those stories that will stick with you long after you finish reading it, leaves the kind of impact that reminds me of classics such as Carmen Maria Machado's "The Husband Stitch". If there's any complaint, it's that I finished too fast and now want more. This kicked ass!! Glad I waited for the audiobook because the narrator knocked it out of the park. "Orange" is one of those stories that will stick with you long after you finish reading it, leaves the kind of impact that reminds me of classics such as Carmen Maria Machado's "The Husband Stitch". If there's any complaint, it's that I finished too fast and now want more.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Philippa Evans

    This was recommended to me, and I picked it up soon after finishing Stephen Graham Jones' "The Only Good Indians". I definitely didn't regret doing so. The stories read quickly, and are suffused with the warmth of family and cultural connections (which can make their horrifying conclusions all the more poignant). I loved the references to folklore and the etymologies of names and words. I thought that each story was stronger than the next; all in all, I would heartily recommend this debut book o This was recommended to me, and I picked it up soon after finishing Stephen Graham Jones' "The Only Good Indians". I definitely didn't regret doing so. The stories read quickly, and are suffused with the warmth of family and cultural connections (which can make their horrifying conclusions all the more poignant). I loved the references to folklore and the etymologies of names and words. I thought that each story was stronger than the next; all in all, I would heartily recommend this debut book of stories! Favourite stories: Orange and Imitate

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    A great collection of horror shorts. My favorite was Imitate.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laura Christine

    Knowing Shane from HOWLS, and knowing what a clever, witty, thoughtful person he is I was concerned I’d be biased and promised myself I’d give an honest rating and write an honest review. And honest this is - I LOVED THIS COLLECTION. I just straight up LOVED IT. Good reads is limiting and if it was possible I think I’d give it 4.5 stars - but only because it was so short, and I wanted to read more. I devoured this collection in one afternoon (taking short breaks between each story to fully let t Knowing Shane from HOWLS, and knowing what a clever, witty, thoughtful person he is I was concerned I’d be biased and promised myself I’d give an honest rating and write an honest review. And honest this is - I LOVED THIS COLLECTION. I just straight up LOVED IT. Good reads is limiting and if it was possible I think I’d give it 4.5 stars - but only because it was so short, and I wanted to read more. I devoured this collection in one afternoon (taking short breaks between each story to fully let them sink in), which for me is a big deal as I have a shocking attention span. Spooky, unnerving, unexpected, heartfelt, and harrowing. An entertaining, informative, and impressive read. I feel like I learnt more about Native American culture in this book - than I ever learnt in school (or elsewhere). Please purchase yourself a copy of Anoka and make time to read it, it’s fantastic.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nina S.

    Shane Hawk’s debut collection was a great read. The strongest stories are the two flash pieces, “Soilborne” and “Orange.” Both of these really pack a punch. A lot of flash fiction is vignettes or mood pieces—and there’s nothing wrong with that—but “Orange” in particular tells a complete and compelling story despite the short length. All the stories in Anoka deal, in some way or other, with the experience of living as an Indigenous person in America. The past few years have seen a surge in Native Shane Hawk’s debut collection was a great read. The strongest stories are the two flash pieces, “Soilborne” and “Orange.” Both of these really pack a punch. A lot of flash fiction is vignettes or mood pieces—and there’s nothing wrong with that—but “Orange” in particular tells a complete and compelling story despite the short length. All the stories in Anoka deal, in some way or other, with the experience of living as an Indigenous person in America. The past few years have seen a surge in Native American authors (Stephen Graham Jones, Rebecca Roanhorse, Darcie Little Badger, etc.) using speculative fiction as a vehicle to comment on Indigenous history and culture. Hawk’s work is a worthy addition to this trend. One of the biggest strengths of Anoka is its visceral imagery. Hawk does a great job of making the reader feel as if they’re seeing (or hearing, or smelling, or feeling) things along with the characters. Of course, a lot of these images are horrific, meant to make the reader’s skin crawl or make them glance over their shoulder. The last story in the collection, “Dead America,” has some especially strong imagery in this vein. But Hawk is equally good at setting the scene to show us the characters’ surroundings before everything goes to hell in a handbasket, or during moments of normalcy between eerie occurrences. That sets up a powerful contrast when the terrifying elements do show up. Overall, this is a strong start to Hawk’s career, and I look forward to reading more from him.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    An exciting new voice Shane Hawk is an exciting new voice in horror fiction. With this debut collection, he has already begun carving out his niche in the genre. Hawk effectively presents the uncanny and the supernatural as symbolic manifestations of the real-life struggles of the modern American Indian. This collection boasts fresh story ideas and interesting characters, not to mention the prose which is oftentimes as humorous as it is unsettling. I suggest grabbing this collection solely for th An exciting new voice Shane Hawk is an exciting new voice in horror fiction. With this debut collection, he has already begun carving out his niche in the genre. Hawk effectively presents the uncanny and the supernatural as symbolic manifestations of the real-life struggles of the modern American Indian. This collection boasts fresh story ideas and interesting characters, not to mention the prose which is oftentimes as humorous as it is unsettling. I suggest grabbing this collection solely for the pleasure of reading “Orange,” which I would count among my favorite short stories published this year.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Marsella

    Review to come...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Xavier

    It’s been great to watch in real time from the HOWL discord as Shane released this book and people start to read it. It’s clear that people are enjoying the work he did here, and after reading the collection for myself I can wholeheartedly agree. Many of the scenes absolutely sucked me in, especially when Shane lets the gruesome imagery run wild. But it’s never all about the shock factor, and one picks up on the very human struggles that are weaved into the stories. I’ll also say that Shane has It’s been great to watch in real time from the HOWL discord as Shane released this book and people start to read it. It’s clear that people are enjoying the work he did here, and after reading the collection for myself I can wholeheartedly agree. Many of the scenes absolutely sucked me in, especially when Shane lets the gruesome imagery run wild. But it’s never all about the shock factor, and one picks up on the very human struggles that are weaved into the stories. I’ll also say that Shane has a real knack for twisted endings. I love the author’s notes section at the end of the book that delves a little more into each story, encouraging a reread to pick out all the little details and hints. Great job with this collection, Shane. I can’t wait to see where you go next.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex Wolfgang

    An extremely impressive debut collection from a talented up-and-coming writer. Shane's stories straddle the line between insightful looks into the native experience and universal fears that affect as all, all the while delivering genuine frights that are as grounded in emotion as they are weird as hell. My favorite of the lot was "Imitate," a clever and disorienting look at feeling powerless and confused by parenthood, even when you have the best intentions. I'm a sucker for hallucinatory, psyche An extremely impressive debut collection from a talented up-and-coming writer. Shane's stories straddle the line between insightful looks into the native experience and universal fears that affect as all, all the while delivering genuine frights that are as grounded in emotion as they are weird as hell. My favorite of the lot was "Imitate," a clever and disorienting look at feeling powerless and confused by parenthood, even when you have the best intentions. I'm a sucker for hallucinatory, psychedelic horror, and this one genuinely scared the hell out of me. I look forward to seeing more from Shane Hawk in the coming years.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shalini

    Oh my holy God!! What a creepy read. A book of short stories of 84 pages, but each raised my hackles. I was sure reading it around the bewitched hour didn't really help me maintain my calm. The book had many stories, very true to the author's indegenous roots. But these were pure horror. Some shocked me, some startled me with the last line. And others downright scared me. Then there was one which brought out my secret horror - monster under the bed. The story IMITATE caused goosebumps to appear, Oh my holy God!! What a creepy read. A book of short stories of 84 pages, but each raised my hackles. I was sure reading it around the bewitched hour didn't really help me maintain my calm. The book had many stories, very true to the author's indegenous roots. But these were pure horror. Some shocked me, some startled me with the last line. And others downright scared me. Then there was one which brought out my secret horror - monster under the bed. The story IMITATE caused goosebumps to appear, and the ending line, even though I expected it, still managed to cause my soul to shiver. I loved how the author added a personal note at the end which gave me a window into how his brain worked and where he got the inspiration for his stories. My niggles too popped up, I longed for more horror to be seeped into his words. The story had a shocking value, but the eerie atmosphere was missing. But being short stories, it might have been difficult to create such a dark ambiance. Overall, it was a fun read, creepy and shocking.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    Absolutely loved it. A fantastic collection of short horror stories. I kept it on my bedside table and read it at night before bed - 10/10 recommend. The book starts off strong with Soilborne and stays solid from there. My favorite stories were Soilborne, Orange, and Imitate.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dhara (dha.raiter)

    This was a unique experience. I enjoyed all the stories. The imagery in some of them was downright chilling. Very Stephen King. I liked how the author reflected light on some of Indigenous history through character backstory and narration.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Fletcher

    ANOKA by Shane Hawk. NOT just because I am married to the author and I happened to edit parts of this collection, but... This collection is so so good!! Starts off so strong and ends with a huge bang. The author (hehe it’s his first book; they grow up so fast) takes jaded topics like doppelgängers, werewolves, and ghosts to new levels. No spoilers I promise, but this book is really rad and a perfect Halloween read! Not for readers with sensitive tummies though! That is all I will say! Well and... P ANOKA by Shane Hawk. NOT just because I am married to the author and I happened to edit parts of this collection, but... This collection is so so good!! Starts off so strong and ends with a huge bang. The author (hehe it’s his first book; they grow up so fast) takes jaded topics like doppelgängers, werewolves, and ghosts to new levels. No spoilers I promise, but this book is really rad and a perfect Halloween read! Not for readers with sensitive tummies though! That is all I will say! Well and... Please pick up this book and support self-published authors trying to get their work out there! 🐺

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received an e-copy of Anoka: A Collection Of Indigenous Horror, authored by Shane Hawk, from Booksprout in return of my honest review, which follows below. I thank both for this opportunity. I rated this collection 4 stars. You can feel the warmth of the author from his introduction and author’s note, writing brings joy to him, gives him an outlet to share important issues with the reader while also giving homage to his influences of the genre. We recognize those names, we love them too; Shane H I received an e-copy of Anoka: A Collection Of Indigenous Horror, authored by Shane Hawk, from Booksprout in return of my honest review, which follows below. I thank both for this opportunity. I rated this collection 4 stars. You can feel the warmth of the author from his introduction and author’s note, writing brings joy to him, gives him an outlet to share important issues with the reader while also giving homage to his influences of the genre. We recognize those names, we love them too; Shane Hawk is one of us, and I am excited to see how his writing voice grows and adds to the horror community. Below are the stories included in this collection with my spoiler free (I think!) thoughts. SOILBORNE- Our first dip into Anoka’s strange waters gives strong imagery, and the want for more; more of the following collection yes, but also of this short tale. WOUNDED- This one will be heavier fare, touching on many real world problems for indigenous peoples. Philip deserves a break, but I don’t think he will get one. ORANGE- This is my favorite of the collection, though the hardest to read. I’d like to schedule my emotional breakdown now please. IMITATE So this one wasn’t really east to read, heart wise, either. Sorry about that, but there’s also creepiness in several parts, if that helps? No...maybe.. DEAD AMERICA- I found the imagery beautiful, but also hard to follow in some places. Pretty sure that’s down to reader error, I need to read up on the legend the author mentioned basing this on in the story note, I admittedly had no previous knowledge. TRANSFIGURED- I love reading author’s new spins on horror classics: zombies, vampires, and as here, werewolves. They can shape and use the sub-genre to make unique environments for their dark tales. I wanted to have more of this story as well. I was left with two questions: I am curious if there are direct connections to other stories from little details I noticed (unless I imagined them), will there be more Anoka stories that will expand on some of the elements introduced?

  26. 4 out of 5

    T.F. Gibson

    Anoka contains four short stories and two flash fiction pieces loosely centered around the real-world city of Anoka Minnesota, the self-proclaimed “Halloween Capital of the World.” Like the author, I have family connections to Minnesota. My maternal grandparents lived in the Twin Cities and I spent my summers in the wilds of northern Minnesota, so I connected to the setting of Anoka right away. I appreciated the insight into the author’s thought process in choosing Anoka, as well as his thoughts Anoka contains four short stories and two flash fiction pieces loosely centered around the real-world city of Anoka Minnesota, the self-proclaimed “Halloween Capital of the World.” Like the author, I have family connections to Minnesota. My maternal grandparents lived in the Twin Cities and I spent my summers in the wilds of northern Minnesota, so I connected to the setting of Anoka right away. I appreciated the insight into the author’s thought process in choosing Anoka, as well as his thoughts on writing indigenous horror. Review: This is my first experience with indigenous horror. The narration by Kyle Bullock is fantastic and the production values are top-notch. The stories of Anoka share similar themes: loss, addiction, alienation, and the particular pain only those close to us can cause. “Imitate” and “Transfigured” were my personal favorites of the collection. "Imitate" has everything I love; a slow-building tension, weird intrusions into everyday life, a troubled protagonist trying to grapple with dark forces they can barely comprehend. The emotional core of Imitate was powerful and it lingered in my mind for the rest of the day after reading it. I appreciated the plot seed and structure of "Transfigured". The author manages to give the audience something many of us want (a good werewolf story) with a new and interesting slant. Like Imitate, this piece showcases Hawk’s ability to slowly ramp up the dark oddities, tensions, and violence until it explodes on the page. You will love this collection if you love indigenous horror, horror with well-grounded characters, and horror that hits you like an emotional gut punch.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Justin Hall

    As someone who spent a majority of his teenage years living in Anoka, graduating from Anoka High School and still living within Anoka county, I had to give this book a shot. I heard about it while reading Stephen Graham Jones’ The Only Good Indians, which introduced me to the realm of indigenous horror. The perspective and gaze Shane Hawk weaves his stories with really gives you the point of view of the modern Native American, as heartbreaking and tragic as it may seem. The horror and dread with As someone who spent a majority of his teenage years living in Anoka, graduating from Anoka High School and still living within Anoka county, I had to give this book a shot. I heard about it while reading Stephen Graham Jones’ The Only Good Indians, which introduced me to the realm of indigenous horror. The perspective and gaze Shane Hawk weaves his stories with really gives you the point of view of the modern Native American, as heartbreaking and tragic as it may seem. The horror and dread within the short tales are frightening and otherworldly. Even though it seems the author has never visited Anoka, he did an amazing job of setting the scene of some of their landmarks (ie. Red River, Cutter Street and Forest Hill Cemetery/Ward Park). Those details made for a more immersive and truly haunting experience. I also really appreciated the story notes at the back that gave each tale some extra light shed on it. And the printing and cover art was gorgeous! Highly recommend!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    I have never read a book like this before and I enjoyed it. The author brings a new and intriguing perspective to the pages. He takes us to Anoka, Halloween capital of the US and his stories resound with the predicament of our Native Americans. The book starts off with Soilborne, I would call it Flash Fiction, and it’s imagery was very disturbing for me. To do that in the short length of the story is amazing. Orange was another story that I read rather quickly, got to the last sentence, a little I have never read a book like this before and I enjoyed it. The author brings a new and intriguing perspective to the pages. He takes us to Anoka, Halloween capital of the US and his stories resound with the predicament of our Native Americans. The book starts off with Soilborne, I would call it Flash Fiction, and it’s imagery was very disturbing for me. To do that in the short length of the story is amazing. Orange was another story that I read rather quickly, got to the last sentence, a little light bulb went off over my head and had to return to the beginning to reread it! All the stories are what I call thinkers, you start reading for entertainment but then they bring about a change in the way you perceive them. It’s an ability this author has and he brings it to these stories! I look forward to reading more from him in the future!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Krista Culbertson

    This was a great little collection of short stories - one I was so glad to find recommended on a random Twitter thread! Each story here felt distinct, with varying themes of grief, identity, addiction and family. “Orange” is quite clearly a stand-out, and will probably be most people’s favourite. But I’m absolutely obsessed with the final story of the collection, “Transfiguration”, a unique and twisted take on the werewolf legend. I loved the blend of horror comedy with themes of gender identity This was a great little collection of short stories - one I was so glad to find recommended on a random Twitter thread! Each story here felt distinct, with varying themes of grief, identity, addiction and family. “Orange” is quite clearly a stand-out, and will probably be most people’s favourite. But I’m absolutely obsessed with the final story of the collection, “Transfiguration”, a unique and twisted take on the werewolf legend. I loved the blend of horror comedy with themes of gender identity. I actually find myself wondering how soon is too soon for a reread. As a side note, I greatly appreciated the author’s story notes at the end. They’re worth reading after each story, offering both insight to the author’s thought process and giving brief backgrounds on legends referenced.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tosh P

    Short stories have always been my favorite form of horror. “Imitate” was probably my favorite and as far as flash fiction goes, “Soilborne” was absolutely flawless. This was a perfect example of a short story collection done right. I also really appreciated Hawk’s notes at the end that provided some insight on what inspired each story. Loved it.

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