Shadow of the Hidden

A Novel of Adventure Horror

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Pub Date Mar 19 2024 | Archive Date Apr 27 2024

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Description

It’s Seb’s last day working in Turkey, but his friend Oz has been cursed. Superstition turns to terror as the effects of the ancient malediction spill over and the lives of Oz and his family hang in the balance. Can Seb find the answers to remove the hex before it’s too late?
 
From Kev Harrison, author of The Balance and Below, journey with Seb, Oz and Deniz across ancient North African cities as they seek to banish the Shadow of the Hidden.

It’s Seb’s last day working in Turkey, but his friend Oz has been cursed. Superstition turns to terror as the effects of the ancient malediction spill over and the lives of Oz and his family hang in...


Advance Praise

Shadow of the Hidden takes the reader on a whirlwind and heartrending adventure through Turkey and North Africa, embracing culture, cuisine and curses along the way. A trip of a read! I loved it!”
—Catherine McCarthy, author of Mosaic and A Moonlit Path of Madness
 
“Kev Harrison is the master of folklore. Shadow of the Hidden takes us on a global thrill ride, weaving in memorable characters and parts of the world horror tends to ignore. I adored it.”
—Dan Howarth Author of Territory
 
“In Shadow of the Hidden, Harrison constructs a maze of grimy streets, dusty crypts writhing with ancient horrors, and thronging crowds full of leering menace. This one will stay with you.”
—Zachary Ashford, author of Polephymus and The Morass
 
“Fascinating, richly textured and genuinely unsettling, Shadow of the Hidden is a horrifying delight from start to finish—and a refreshing change from the usual horror themes and setting. Highly, highly recommended”
—T.C. Parker, author of Salt Blood, Hummingbird and To Coventry
 
“Fast-paced, riveting, and rich with culture, Shadow of the Hidden does not pull punches but certainly pulls heartstrings. Harrison weaves together an unsettling yet wondrous story about adventure, friendship, and the ultimate sacrifice backdropped by the beautiful Middle East.”
—Mona Kabbani, author of The Bell Chime, Vanilla, and For You

Shadow of the Hidden takes the reader on a whirlwind and heartrending adventure through Turkey and North Africa, embracing culture, cuisine and curses along the way. A trip of a read! I loved it!”
...


Available Editions

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ISBN 9781957537931
PRICE $5.99 (USD)
PAGES 194

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Average rating from 15 members


Featured Reviews

I love this cover it definitely drew me in just from the cover!

This was an awesome read! It had all the bells and whistles... it was fast paced, which is always a good thing, it had the twists and turn and took you on a ride you won't forget! The one thing that i can say is it will pull on your heartstrings when you read it. It will pull you into the adventure, the perils of friendship and the sacrifice with the background of the Middle East.

Hope to read more from this author and definitely will recommend! Great Read

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Kev Harrison's 'The Shadow of the Hidden' is to be highly recommended for its original setting, its well-drawn and appealing characters, and its choice of lore; the tale takes place in Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt, the characters range from sympathetic Turks and mysterious Sunni Muslim Imams to British interpreters, and the villain of the piece is a horrific, sinister, evil Djinn. This all makes the book unique and destined to have a lingering impact. If Tim Powers wrote horror, this would be what he'd come up with: a heroic trio hunted by a Djinn, victim of an ancient pre-Islam curse, yet each character approaching their problems rationally, with prudence and thought. There's romance, there's magic, there's nuance, and there are also a couple of gruesome scenes that remind one this isn't fantasy - it's horror, steeped in Islamic culture! And by all accounts, there's a sequel in the works. If you haven't read Harrison before, this is the perfect introduction to this amazing author!

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Shadow of the Hidden was so well written! I felt well travelled after finishing this - the places, the culture, and cuisine play such a big part in this story - it was like I was transported to each location!

This was a fast read, I finished in almost one sitting, but that may be because the story has everything I love - adventure, curses, magic, sacrifice, friendship!

Overall a great experience, and definitely an author I would keep an eye out for.

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Fast paced adventure with a supernatural twist.

The story follows Seb and his Turkish friend, Oz. Who are on a mission to end a Djinn’s curse.

You can tell the amount of research that went into the myth, folklore and history of the countries featured.

This is the first book I’ve read by Kev Harrison, but it certainly won’t be the last.

Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for providing the digital arc of this book.

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*Huge thank you to Kev Harrison, Brigids Gate Press and Netgalley for this digital ARC!*

Between his novellas, ‘The Balance,’ ‘Warding,’ ‘Below’ and ‘Curfew,’ Kev Harrison has demonstrated time and time again that he has a firm pulse on how to craft creepy, unnerving and anxiety-inducing fiction. In each one of those releases – along with numerous other short stories and longer pieces – Kev has infused his fiction with a deft European-influence. I don’t know if that’s the correct phrase I want to use here, but Kev isn’t from America, nor do we get the bread and butter/standard American-ized fiction feel when you read any of his stories. There’s a dampness in each paragraph. A darkness that seems to sit just below the surface, such that each time you turn the page you expect to be cursed or have a cobble stone thrown at you.

So, it was, with that in mind that I dove into his novel, ‘Shadow of the Hidden.’ A story that promised to be filled with blackness impenetrable.

What I liked: The story follows Seb, who, on his last day of work in Turkey, watches as a strange woman proceeds to yell at his friend Oz. We quickly learn that the woman has cursed Oz and his family and while Oz is frightened to his core, Seb shrugs it off, not believing in such ridiculousness.

Upon returning home in London, Oz calls and Seb learns that maybe there is more to this so-called ‘curse.’ Livestock killed. Strange happenings. And as being a loyal friend, he agrees to help Oz fine a way to lift this curse.

From here we fall into a Dan Brown-esque chase (in a good way!) where clues are scattered and Seb, Oz and soon a Professor all seek them out and try to find a way to stop the curse and save Oz and his family.

Seb is a great main character and it was frankly refreshing to see him get the short end of the stick a few times for being a white male, where in some of the locations events take place, he’s looked upon with disgust and suspicion. The locations themselves play a prominent role and I would’ve loved to have seen an index in the back sharing where each place did take place so I could go Google Maps them and feel even more sad under my nails and sun on my face.

The story is told in a rapid pace, and reminded me in a few places of Andrew Pyper’s ‘The Demonologist’ and if you know me at all, you’ll know I say that with the highest of praise.

The ending is swift and startling but absolutely leaves the door open for me, which even Kev alludes to in his notes at the back.

What I didn’t like: Keeping this spoiler free – not enough moments with actual protagonist. Its mentioned over and over, but very rarely do we actually see and interact with it and the moments that we do, are far too brief.

As well, a character meets their ending and in theory that should’ve just ended everything there, but Seb continues on and I was actually confused as to why he did, as theoretically the threat should’ve ended there.

Why you should buy this: This was essentially a Indiana Jones and the Cursed Friend. We get some really engaging, fast-paced moments and characters you want to root for and cheer for. I had a blast with this one from start to finish and it really shows Kev’s level of detail that no matter where this story went, I was firmly involved and actively engaged.

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In SHADOW OF THE HIDDEN you are dealing with horror closing in on you from two fronts, a human side and a supernatural side. I am going to be vague and try to give away as little as possible while still conveying my feelings.
What I found particularly frightening was the reactions of others upon hearing of the possible curse. For the most part our characters were ignorant of the severity of the alleged curse. When seeking information and questioning those with knowledge, the unease was palpable and no one wanted to be involved and shut down any talk of it swiftly. These hasty reactions really let us know of the trouble our protagonists were in and added a new level of tension.
I truly enjoyed learning of the culture and the languages. I wish I had a map to follow along on the journey through North Africa and the Middle East.
I loved the feeling of being there. The culture, the people, the food, and the grit was beyond my expectations for a setting and Kev brought it right into my home. Seriously, I’ve got a lot of sweeping to do before my wife gets home😁
The people were one of my favorite things about this book. The lengths people go to in order to help others was astounding and I am hoping very real. Friendships and lifelong bonds were formed both between characters and with myself. I look forward to seeing these people again.

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Shadow of the Hidden is my first Kev Harrison novel (well novella) but it will not be my last. The first thing I adored was the curse and supernatural being (trying to avoid spoilers) that Harrison used for this story. Not only is it tied to the location of the novella but it was nice to see these beings used in such a stellar way. With what little knowledge I have of them they were a perfect fit for a horror story and I am susrprised they aren’t used more but best of all Harrison is respectful to their origins but I digress.

For me the main thing I loved about this novella is the friendship of Seb, our protagonist, and Oz the poor unfortunate soul who has been cursed along with his family. Harrison brings these characters, all of them really, to life so they almost jump of the page and you can’t help but be invested. I particularly liked how people reacted when Oz revealed his curse, this for me really raised the tension and stakes as we realise just how dangerous this curse is and the creature following Oz is as well.

The other thing about Harrison is their clear respect for the cultures and countries they feature from the Middle East to North Africa we have clear and true depictions of the land, the people and the cultures as well as superstitions. These places and people are brought to life, just as the characters are, with writing that is perfectly suited to the genre and suits the novel. The writing also creates the perfect pace for this novel which honestly is rather fast past.

No spoilers as always but that ending was brilliant! If you are looking for a shorter horror story with well researched and put together plot this one is for you. You are transported into a race against time, well race against curse, and at the core it is a story of friendship too which is always a bonus. Another hit from Brigid’s Gate Press.

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Attempts to break an ancient curse sends three friends on a dangerous quest through Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt

I first came across Kev Harrison back in 2020 with his excellent Slavic Baba Yaga inspired supernatural folktale The Balance, which later featured in my Horror DNA Top Ten Novellas of 2020 roundup. In 2021, Below travelled to an abandoned Californian goldmine where bad things were waiting for an unlucky group of documentary filmmakers. Kev followed this in 2022 with a thoughtful collection of short stories, Paths Best Left Untrodden, which slipstreamed from genre to genre and is well worth further investigation. He also features in an extensive range of anthologies, with work being released by an impressive range of top indie horror publishers, including Demain who were responsible for both Curfew and Cinders Of A Blind Man Who Could See in their Short Sharp Shocks! series.
Kev’s latest, Shadow of the Hidden, is initially set in Turkey, before later jumping in true Indiana Jones (the story does have loose connections to archaeology) style to Tunisia and Egypt. I’ve noticed that very little of his fiction is set in the UK and as an ex-pat who currently lives in Portugal, it is clear he enjoys exploring the folklore and cultures of other countries and this shines through in Shadow of the Hidden. I enjoyed the time I spent with these very likable characters immensely, and along the way became aware of how frequently they sampled the various local delicacies (the food was beautifully described), drinking coffee or beer, all of which added a personal touch to the story.

The narrative style is simple, but strikingly effective. It’s Seb’s last day working in Turkey before heading back to the UK, but his café owner friend Oz is cursed by an old woman because he refuses to give her free ice cream. We quickly realise that this particular curse is incredibly dark and ancient, to the extent that the words have not ever been transcribed and even discussing it is a big no-no. Shadow of the Hidden is about the quest to firstly understand the curse, figure out who the old woman is, and the attempts to break it. The woman is a vessel for an evil and ancient Djinn, which takes great pleasure in torturing humans (or maybe just really loves ice cream).

I got the impression the author put a fair bit of research into his exploration of Turkish culture, mannerisms, folklore and also the other countries the characters visited. Perhaps because Kev Harrison teaches English abroad, the story did not glance over the language difficulties they faced, or the fact that some places they stopped off at would be significantly more dangerous for a white British traveller than those with darker skin. Even the simple, but very real, menace of pickpockets was a lurking and very real threat and plays a part in the story. Along the way they do get into some scuffles, but it was nicely handled, very believable, and there was no attempt to turn Seb into an action hero, who on a couple of occasions found himself out of his depth, edgy and terrified.

The story moves along at a decent lick and I felt sorry for poor Seb as his credit card bill must have been massive, hopping from place to place, aiding his friend and in search of his next meal. At a certain point a ticking clock element is added as the ripple of the curse spreads to Oz’s family and sexy female folklore academic Deniz adds spice, a dash of romance, and good humour to the search. Even if the entity lurked slightly too far in the background for much of the journey Oz and Seb find themselves on, the story manages to retain its tension throughout and in the end Kev Harrison puts his characters through the wringer and does not pull any punches.

I enjoyed the fact that even though Seb was well-travelled he was unmistakably British, and initially did not believe the entity was real, but was willing to go along with it for the sake of his friend. However, the shift in his mindset was a key part of the story as he learns about the shadowy aspects of this ancient curse which is so old it even predates Islam. The eye for detail was also first rate, at various points the story notes the differences between the countries before and after the Arab Spring uprisings and this extra layer gives the narrative an extra whiff of authenticity

In the end the demon lurking in Shadow of the Hidden makes a full-blooded appearance after several foreshadowing tasters in a wild big finish set piece which teases a sequel. This smart short novel is a highly engaging tale of friendship, sacrifice, demons, strong coffee and exotic food. And if there is a sequel I will be returning for seconds and dessert.

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This is the very definition of an adventure thriller story. I could not turn the pages fast enough.

There are layers here about the meaning of friendship and family and how those overlap. The author does an excellent job of showing the lengths one will go to for those they love.

I also enjoyed the glimpses of different cultures and beliefs in this story. I'm fascinated by places I've never been, and Harrison immerses you into those worlds with vivid detail.

We're left with the hope of more to come, and I look forward to seeing where the story will go next.

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In my teens and twenties, I loved to travel. Exploring another country’s culture was an amazing experience, and it remains a fascinating subject for me even though I can’t travel as much. So, it was a delight to pick up Kev Harrison’s Shadow of the Hidden. Harrison has written other works of horror and he has a firm voice in the horror community. Luckily for me, I met him at this year’s UK Ghost Story Festival and we attended some workshops together. He is a genuinely kind person, and I’m sure he’ll forgive me (I hope) for admitting that this is the first time I’ve read any of his work. As it is my first ‘Harrison Horror’, I had high expectations for Shadow of the Hidden. His story was a spine-chilling adventure that delivered every expectation and more.

Shadow of the Hidden is told from the perspective of Seb, who witnesses his friend Oz being cursed. Like many people, Seb responds with an initial shock, but then dismisses it, while Oz trembles. Seb returns home to the UK, but when Oz snaps and sends disturbing pictures of livestock killings, things escalate and Seb realises the curse is alive, summoning a dark entity to terrorise Oz and his family. It is a race against time across Turkey, Egypt and other countries as Seb, Oz, and Professor Deniz must vanquish this supernatural being, the Djinn, and break the curse.

The friendship between Seb and Oz was beautiful. Seb went above and beyond, using his contacts to chase down leads and risking his life to protect his friend. His loyalty and devotion was commendable, and as part of the thrill of the adventure genre, Seb was knowledgeable. However, rather than being portrayed as the Indiana Jones who has all the answers, it was nice to connect with him as he made mistakes and admitted when he didn’t know what to do next.

Oz was a loveable character who I bonded with over our fondness for food. He reminded me of Pippin from Lord of the Rings, a sweet man asking not just for his second breakfast, but for his third and fourth. It is easy to forget that his horrible attitude towards a widow is the reason he and his family become cursed. Harrison never explored whether Oz deserved to be cursed, and I liked that.

As for the character Professor Deniz, who was called upon as the first expert who could help them identify the roots of the curse, she was a strong independent woman, sassy and reliable who seemed to have all the answers. Like a Dan Brown novel, Seb and Professor Deniz form a connection, and when Oz strikes out on his own, unwilling to put his friends at further risk, the pair join forces and bond more.

The characters were strong and realistic, but it was the settings that made a lasting impression. Each location dove into culture with its languages, food, religions, superstitions, daily routines, climates, and dangers. It was like a sensory swarm while being informative. The adventure felt authentic, while maintaining the djinn’s threat that builds steadily in the background.

The djinn is a monster visited in the horror genre, though scarcely. I’d like to see more about these supernatural wicked immortals. They need to be reclaimed from wishing lamps and three-wish fantasy tropes. They are an ancient threat that Harrison explored from a historical and archaeological viewpoint. It’s only at the end of Shadow of the Hidden when the djinn fully appears, which gave the ending a heart-pounding climax.

Shadow of the Hidden is like dark magic—it’s bewitching, gripping, and enthralling. Readers need to be aware that once you begin reading, you won’t stop. Harrison conveys a complicated exploration of culture effortlessly. It was easy to detect his passion for travel which then fuelled my frenzy to continue on this wild, dangerous, and tense path. Shadow of the Hidden concluded on a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’ll be waiting, Harrison.

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The subject matter of this story was sometimes at such odds with the incredible lovely prose. Here, you have a tale of djinn, curses, misery, connected by friendship, love and hope.

Harrison’s writing was also beautifully poetic, extremely detailed, and puts you viscerally in the story. I could feel the warm air on my skin, taste the baklava, hear the din of the busy streets.

I really liked the whole package of this book, and I feel that settings in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, etc are under utilized by horror authors. A shame as they have so many cultures, rich histories, varied folklore and more that would enrich any tale. It was such a treat to get to visit Tunis, Turkey, and Egypt with the characters in this story.

Thank you to the author, NetGalley, and Brigids Gate Press for a copy.

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