Fiction - Horror
242 Pages
Reviewed on 02/02/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Scott A. Johnson is the author of 17 books, all in the horror/dark fantasy genres. He teaches at Seton Hill University's MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program, as well as Emerson College's MFA and Writing and Publishing Popular Fiction program. He currently lives somewhere near Austin, Texas, with his wife, four cats, and two dogs.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Ungeheuer is a work of fiction in the horror and suspense subgenres. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience and was penned by Scott A. Johnson. The book follows recent widower Richard Sundstrum and his son when a camping trip intended to be a chance to take a break and reconnect turns into a fight for their very lives. The pair are hunted by an ancient and terrible evil that has been released by a group of careless cavers. Stalked through the forests of Texas by creatures with an insatiable hunger for flesh and blood, Richard must lead the local rangers in trying to stop the monsters before more lives are lost.

The secret ingredient to this high-tension story of survival in the face of evil is its excellent pacing, with the constantly evolving situation that refuses to let the heroes rest and recover too long between escalations. This turns the narrative into a pressure cooker in which the characters are trapped, causing them to reveal their true selves. Scott A. Johnson uses this pressure to drive characters and readers alike into the deadly mystery at the heart of the monster attacks. The puzzle seems insoluble at first but as Richard and his allies use increasingly dangerous tactics to obtain information, the promise of an eventual solution emerges. Ungeheuer is a hair-raising horror tale that never lets the reader forget the danger that the characters are exposed to, with a roller coaster of a narrative that keeps finding new ways of plunging into deeper levels of horror and mystery.

Essien Asian

Richard knows he is not completely over losing his wife but life must continue hence the elaborate camping trip he has set up for himself and Ethan his son to bond over. The wildlife park at Roy Creek is the perfect location for their getaway with its natural appeal to hikers and visitors alike. On the other side of the park, a group of spelunkers is exploring their latest discovery among the caves and old mines the area is famous for. None of them is aware of the warning etched into the walls of the rock formation. Deep below the surface, sealed in by the caves, something evil and ancient waits, biding its time till it can escape and sate its bloodlust once darkness falls in Scott A. Johnson's Ungeheuer.

The suspense is heavy in Scott A. Johnson's horror novel. His storyline starts innocently but as the story progresses you feel the insidious aura of impending doom gradually envelop you ever so stealthily. The way he describes the town of Dripping Springs and its inhabitants is outdone only by his unique ability at translating the vivid imagery that his monsters elicit in my mind onto paper. Horror stories are supposed to be frightening but this is different. He crafts his story well, balancing dark humor with the kind of subtle mystery that carries the story swiftly to its big reveal. All of this is encapsulated in an atmosphere of perpetual fright that will make your skin crawl. I expected big things from Ungeheuer and it not only met my expectations but surpassed them spectacularly.

Lex Allen

An unreported and heretofore unexplored cave in the Central Texas hill country sets the stage for a horrific ordeal when a party of young spelunkers inadvertently let loose a hoard of monstrous creatures that attack the unwitting populace of nearby Dripping Springs. Baffled by the enormity and animalistic brutality of the attack, authorities seek the help of Ranger Richard Sundstrum. What he discovers, and how he copes with the recent death of his wife while solving the mystery hinges on the translation of a phrase carved into the wall of the cave: “Bedrohung das Ungeheuer.” A blood-thirsty, mysterious creature never before seen or heard of is on the loose and there’s only a handful of people, led by a broken man, to stop the bloodbath.

The fast-paced story of Ungeheuer and the fact that it is set in the Hill Country and small towns of Texas where I was born and raised resulted in a rare “one-sitting” reading pleasure. Scott A. Johnson is a prolific horror writer, and how he has escaped my attention (with 16 titles in print) to date is a puzzle. Johnson’s writing style is impressive and based on action rather than over-explanatory and detailed, boring, unnecessary descriptive paragraphs. His characters are true to life, introduced in a realistic sequence of events, and span the idiosyncrasies of everyday people. Verisimilitude, a sense of reality, is a critical aspect that I look for in every book I read. Johnson has this fiction writing detail in spades! Horror fans of the likes of Richard Laymon and others who define physical horror will love Scott A. Johnson.

Kim Anisi

Ungeheuer by Scott A. Johnson starts with a group of excited spelunkers discovering something that should have best been left alone. Richard and his young son Ethan end up stumbling into the aftermath of what had been found. It should have been a relaxing camping trip to strengthen the bond between father and son. Instead, it turns into a nightmare for Richard and a small village close to a river with a cave that has become accessible because of a drought. At night real monsters come out - and they know no mercy. Richard and an unlikely pair of associates are all that stand between these monsters and the loss of more innocent lives.

When it comes to horror books, I try to keep my expectations low as some can be most disappointing. Ungeheuer by Scott A. Johnson came as a pleasant surprise. It’s not just another horror novel with a promising plot idea. In this instance, the concept is well executed, with a small cast of characters, an interesting and mysterious enemy, plus a setting that is just perfect for creating suspense. I genuinely enjoyed the novel from beginning to end. This says a lot because horror novels tend to have stupid endings. This one has a questionable ending as well, but in an interesting way that leaves an opening for a sequel as there are unanswered questions.

Keith Mbuya

If only Park Ranger Richard Sundstrum had the slightest idea of what awaited him at Dripping Springs, he would never have taken his son there to camp. He had been grieving over his deceased wife and thought that a camping trip would help. On their first morning at the park, they are treated to a terrifying sight of a mutilated body and a spring turned completely red with blood. It turns out a bloody massacre had occurred at the nearby Grist Mill Steakhouse the night before and had left a death toll of more than eighty people. Joining the already busy team of rangers and detectives investigating the incident, Richard discovers strange creatures lurking in the darkest of places of the Grist Mill and which were responsible for the massacre. Were the people of Dripping Springs ready for what was coming their way? On the other hand, a small group of campers near Dripping Springs finds the words “Bedrohung das Ungeheuer” etched on the walls of a cave, and abandoned camping and swimming gear. What is the meaning of the words and what will happen to the group? Get yourself Scott A. Johnson’s Ungeheuer to discover more.

Scott A. Johnson’s Ungeheuer is just what you should be looking for if you love horror novels laced with a touch of mystery, adventure, and spicy romance. Johnson hatches an intriguing plot. He effortlessly switches between the scenes of his diverse cast, giving the storyline a beautiful flow. The underlying macabre tone had me on edge, dreading every moment. The vivid depictions of the events had me roaming the creepy and scary walls of the caves in Dripping Springs. I could almost taste the fear of the protagonists in the face of the “monsters”. The cast was well crafted, with their emotions and characteristics boldly portrayed. I was infuriated when Christina crept in on Richard while he was risking his life at the Grist Mill by taking a look at the malicious and menacing perpetrators. I enjoyed Blake’s easygoing and carefree attitude. It doubled as humor considering the danger that he was so oblivious to. This is a nerve-chilling and heart-pounding read and I relished it.