Cinema of Shadows by Michael West


Welcome to the Woodfield Movie Palace. The night the Titanic sank, it opened for business... and its builder died in his chair. In the 1950s, there was a fire; a balcony full of people burned to death. And years later, when it became the scene of one of Harmony, Indiana's most notorious murders, it closed for good. Abandoned, sealed, locked up tight... until now.

Tonight, Professor Geoffrey Burke and his Parapsychology students have come to the Woodfield in search of evidence, hoping to find irrefutable proof of a haunting. Instead, they will discover that, in this theatre, the terrors are not confined to the screen.

Author Michael West has managed to produce something that is chilling, suspenseful, haunting and horrific. It also manages touches of much needed levity, not bad for one book!

Kim Saunders is a troubled young woman and together with her student friends from Stanley University (the plucky and feisty) Tashima, Kevin and Joss join Professor Burke in an investigation of the Woodfield before it is demolished. They are at pains to point out to anyone who asks that they are not on a ‘ghost hunt’.

These are all believable characters who all suffer with their own fears and neuroses making the tension and suspense all the more palpable.

The Woodfield is a place with almost a century of tragedies, accidents, fires, murders and suicides... the perfect place for a haunting. West is a skilled story-teller expertly holding your attention and building the intrigue and mystery before dishing out the frights! He has managed here to turn the familiar, a cinema, into a truly terrifying place where malevolent spirits and demons lurk in the shadows.

What I particularly enjoyed was the schlocky ‘B-movie’ feel to the proceedings. Along with all the shocks and jolts there are plenty of pop-culture references and it is clear that even if his protagonists are not having a great time West certainly is. Fans of novelist Stephen King and filmmaker John Carpenter will enjoy this.

Interestingly both Kim and Professor Burke are facing up to the demons of their own pasts as well as the ones waiting for them at the Woodfield. In fact, the cinema is probably the novel’s biggest personality of all.

West also manages to write female characters well, here they not the usual clichés you find in horror films, i.e. helpless screaming victims or monosyllabic vixens but rather sophisticated, intelligent, strong and defiant heroines so kudos for that as well.

‘Cinema of Shadows’ is an excellently crafted and constructed tale where something monstrous and unworldly exists in quiet rural Indiana. West has proved he is an extremely accomplished horror author and I very much look forward to his next project.

Published 2011 by Seventh Star Press
ISBN: 9780983740216

Review by

Our interview with Michael West

Michael West is a member of the Horror Writers Association and serves as President of its local chapter, Indiana Horror Writers. His first novel, The Wide Game,  was published in 2003, and since that time, he has written [...]

Read interview


More Michael West reviews

Poseidon's Children

by Michael West

After the ruins of a vast, ancient civilization are discovered on the ocean floor, Coast Guard officers find a series of derelict ships drifting in the current-high-priced [...]

Published: 2012

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews


Cinema of Shadows reader reviews

9.2/10 from 1 reviews

Write a reader review

There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?

Your rating out of 10

Books you may also enjoy


by Joe Hill

Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the [...]

Published: 2013

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews



by MR Carey

Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be [...]

Published: 2016

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews


Apartment 16

by Adam Nevill

Some doors are better left closed... In Barrington House, an upmarket block in London, there is an empty apartment. No one goes in, no one comes out. And it’s been th [...]

Published: 2010

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.2 | 1 positive reader reviews


The Pilo Family Circus

by Will Elliott

You have two days to pass your audition. You better pass it, feller. You’re joining the circus. Ain’t that the best news you ever got? Delivered by a trio of ps [...]

Published: 2006

Score: 92

Our rating: 9.2 | 0 positive reader reviews