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Side by Side Book Reviews: ANOKA by Shane Hawk

ANOKA by Shane Hawk


The horror community has rallied around this debut collection from Shane Hawk. It released in October of 2020 and has been picking up steam month by month. I noticed it had 55 reviews on Goodreads! Nice number for an indie fiction debut. Night Worms has steadily received review submissions in order to be included in this Side by Side Book Review ever since we tweeted about reading it. We're excited to have some new voices joining us here!


Roxie's Review:
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. 

This story is a frightful way to address infant loss.

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.

Grief horror to punch you straight in the feels.

Imi-TATE. This story 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

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.
Roxie Voorhees is a reader, writer, artist, and moderately funny. She survives on a healthy diet of speculative fiction and sarcasm. She is 1/3 of the Queens of Horror Book Club with her book besties Richelle and Melissa.

You can find her:
Twitter: @rvthebookslayer


Anoka Review by Miranda AKA The Weevil Dead

Hello Night Worms Readers! My name is Miranda, and I write for, a horror review website under the pen name; The Weevil Dead. I am so excited to have this chance to blog on Night Worms, the holy grail of horror lit! Here I will add my thoughts on Anoka, a collection of Native American themed short horror stories written by Shane Hawk.

I want to begin by saying that I feel it is important to read literature about people and places you don’t know enough about. This is how we as people grow and learn. Native American horror lit falls into that category for me. I haven’t read much of it, and it’s a faut I’m working to change. I have read a lot of work from Sherman Alexie, a Native American author who holds a special place in my heart. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a coming of age tale that the 8th graders I teach have always loved and connected to. Through this book I first learned of a lot of the personal hardships that people who live on a “rez” or reservation endure; alcoholism, mental health struggles, grief, poverty, and of course, identity. The questions of “Who am I?”, “Where do I belong?”, reign through the entirety of the novel.

When I read what Anoka was about; “family, grief, loneliness, and identity through the lens of indigenious life”, I knew this was going to be a book I had to read. Also it takes place in Anoka, Minnesota, which is a real place and the “Halloween Capital of The World”. Salem better move over because Anoka has some hauntings of its own. And they aren’t always just other worldly. Also I looked Anoka up in Google Earth and went through A LOT of places and drained my phone battery doing so. I always do this when I read a book in an unfamiliar place, which is almost every time. I want to put myself there in the story. Try this strategy sometime!

Shane Hawk is part Cheyenne and Arapaho, and his writing uses traditions and experience from his own life, and you can tell, because each story is written with heart and the knowledge of someone who lives their life carrying their ancestry with them, no matter what they do or where they go. I don’t think it’s very often that you come across an author who writes fiction with such a personal, cultural touch, that makes you question if what you are reading is actually fiction (aside from the werewolves, witches, and possible changelings). Each story is very unique, and I’m sure that even though they are nightmare inducing, and written to scare, they are written to inspire thought and question. Shane also writes a good twist in all of his stories. Anoka almost feels like The Twilight Zone of Minnesota! The collection is 78 pages, but it took me almost a week to read, as every story needed it’s own night to process and register in my brain. I also very much enjoyed that Shane takes time at the end of this collection to write about his meaning and connection to each story. I won’t review each story because I think it would be impossible for me to write about each without giving away too much of the plot. However, I will say that my favorites were Wounded and Imitate. Both were very much upsetting and gut wrenching to me. Yes they were scary but they were also filled with pain and delusion, and backstory that I could not easily shake. Also every story is excellently written, and in a voice that is unique to each story’s main character. 

This was an overall fantastic collection, and the reason I mentioned Sherman Alexie in the beginning, is that Shane Hawk is a name to stand among his. Where Sherman Alexie uses humor to inspire what life is really like on a rez, and jokes to deal with the struggles of an alcoholic father; Shane Hawk uses horror to frighten the reader about the concept of identity, and the terror of grief and loneliness. I can’t wait to read more from Shane, as I’m sure that no matter what he writes, it will move the reader into the horrors of this American history, and thoughts of where to go from there. 

Four Stars!

Find me here:




I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Hawk, I just wanted to take an opportunity to let you know that I really enjoyed your collection, Anoka. To be honest, I was sold the moment I laid eyes upon it. I was sold by the rad cover art. The black and white image is striking, I mean, it screams “read me now!” And it was exactly what I needed at the end of a rough day, a quick burst of darkness. It was cathartic.
What struck me first was your dialogue. It feels real, grounded, and that’s something that’s integral to my enjoyment of a book. Solid dialog. And when it’s followed by solid storytelling, that’s a nice moment. Know that I was entertained throughout the six stories forming your collection. The darkness contained within swirling around my brain pan. More specifically, Wounded, Imitate, and Transfigured. These are the three that resonated the most, the are the three I’ll return to. 
Thank you, Shane, for telling me tales.
4/ 5 stars.
Zakk Madness

Zakk Madness is a 40 something horror nerd and yo-yo enthusiast. Not a critic, but a fan of horror fiction. Former reviewer for The Mouths of Madness Poscastshow, he currently reviews as The Eyes of Madness. When this chaotic life is keeping him from reading he is spending what free time he has with his wife and their three sons. 




Being British, I am not as well versed with Native American history as my US counterparts. I do however find the legends and lore (things like the wendigo) utterly fascinating. So when I discovered a collection of short stories written by an indigenous person, I was very excited to read about this topic from an own voice creator.

In Anoka, we are treated to Shane’s inaugural narrative. I am not one for judging self-published authors on the quality of the grammar or editing, but this was superbly put together. I look for relatable and interesting characters I can invest in. Settings so well described that I can easily close my eyes and be there. And of course, an interesting and evocative plot. All of this was delivered.

My favourites were Imitate and Transfigured. The first took on the trope of the changeling and the second, the werewolf, but added Shane’s own mark on the lore. Sometimes I get a little possessive when lycans are portrayed in any way other than traditional, but I enjoyed this take on the creature and its human.

My least favourite was Dead America, not because I didn’t enjoy it or because it was badly written. It was because I am utterly terrified of spiders and this had a couple of horrendous scenes that I had to skip over. Yes the Big Bad Splatterpunk writer over here wusses out over arachnids. I know, I know. Still, if the aim of this collection was to scare me then congrats, Shane. You nailed it.

Considering this was a debut, I was impressed by how well put together each story was. The overarching theme being the town of Anoka was excellent too and this very well could be Shane’s Castle Rock.

He certainly doesn’t shy away from gore or violence (wooh hooh), the deep-seated historical atrocities or the current social status of Native people. It was certainly eye-opening although I hope to god that spider thing was completely fabricated. *shudders*.

Thank you, Shane for sending me a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I very much enjoyed this and look forward to more from you in the future. 


Janine Pipe is a Horror lover and writer who was first introduced to the genre as a child reading ‘Salem’s Lot – and she hasn’t looked back since. She is currently writing a splatterpunk novella about a teenage vampire hunter and has a horror podcast with fellow Brit and indie author, Lou Yardley called Cryptids, Crypts and Coffee.

Anoka is a small town in Minnesota also known as "the Halloween capital of the world." Werewolves, sinister children and pagan witches are just a few of the strange and abhorrent entities that prey on the town's most vulnerable residents. This debut novella includes six short stories and notes by Indigenous author, Shane Hawk.
Anoka is a collection of shocking and disturbing short stories by an emerging author. Shane Hawk crafted the perfect blend of Indigenous folklore and supernatural horror for this delightfully terrifying collection. I'm going to be keeping an eye on Hawk as he delivers more, fresh literary frights to unsuspecting reader's. His style is subtle and gripping with a pace that steeps suspense like that of a seasoned horror veteran.
Anoka by Shane Hawk


My name is Andrew 'The Book Dad' and I am a reviewer of horror fiction. It is my intent to support those in the #HorrorCommunity any way I can while on my literary journey to reading all things terrifying and suspenseful!





3.5 stars!
A debut collection of indigenous, own voices, horror stories with strong, relatable themes of identity and familial relationships. There is an in-depth introduction explaining the origin story behind the title and some insight on the author's intentions behind this particular collection of tales.
Anoka, Minnesota is apparently known as the birthplace of Halloween and as soon as more details were disclosed, it all started sounding very familiar--as in an episode of Drunk History! Sure enough, after a quick Google search, they are one and the same.
The stories are loosely connected by way of location-"Halloween Town"-in a very Stephen King, Castle Rock, or Eerie Indiana sort of way.
This is a one-sitting read. In fact, I would recommend that these 6 short stories must be enjoyed back to back in order to have a fuller experience. As singular reads, they could feel a little thin but together-they lean into each other in a satisfying way.
I was able to read this book on Orcas Island, WA in a lonely cabin overlooking the Puget Sound. The perfect setting.
My favorite stories were: IMITATE (an unsettling, supernatural father/son tale), TRANSFIGURED (a unique creature-feature), and DEAD AMERICA (a man is plagued with reoccurring dreams. Not cool for arachnophobic folks-squirm!).

I am a huge fan of story notes. In the case of ANOKA, they were extremely helpful to me in times where a story felt a little unfinished or confusing--SOILBORNE, the first story, gets a big assist with the accompanying story notes. It's my recommendation readers take advantage of those after finishing each piece.
I'm looking forward to watching Shane Hawk perfect his craft and establish his name in the horror industry. I know he has some exciting projects on the horizon and I'll be standing in line for anything he puts his name to--a rising voice, no doubt about it.

Sadie Hartmann aka Mother Horror reviews horror for Cemetery Dance and
SCREAM Magazine. She is the co-owner of the horror fiction subscription
company, Night Worms. She lives in Tacoma, WA with her husband of 20+ years
where they enjoy perfect weather, street tacos and hanging out with their 3
kids. They have a Frenchie named Owen.



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 hospital of 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 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. 

I am a huge horror advocate who loves to walk the line of fear by chasing ghosts and touching spiders. I  am also chasing the dream of being a full-time horror reviewer. 
Book Review⁣⁣
𝘈𝘯𝘰𝘬𝘢 by Shane Hawk (@shane.hawk)⁣⁣
𝘈𝘯𝘰𝘬𝘢 is a collection of indigenous horror by debut author Shane Hawk. The six stories take place in the town of Anoka, Minnesota which is known as "The Halloween Capital of the World". Themes found in this book are grief, family, identity, and loneliness all viewed through the lens of indigenous life.⁣⁣
While the entire collection was enjoyable, there were two standout stories for me in this collection. They are Imitate and Transfigured. Imitate is a monster under the bed story while Transfigured is about a werewolf. I love the themes explored in these stories and I thought that Hawk showed a deft touch with both. ⁣⁣
As with all collections and anthologies, I enjoyed some stories more than others. Overall I found a lot to like in this collection and look forward to following the career of this promising debut author. ⭐⭐⭐
Matt is a middle school math teacher. He's originally from Kentucky but currently lives in Arkansas with his beautiful wife and 2-year-old son. In addition to reading dark fiction, he also enjoys board games and Disney World.

Matt @teamredmon uses this email:

Check out his blog:

Twitter: @teamredmonreads

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