Shortlisted in the Australian Shadows Awards for “Best Horror Novel of 2016”.
A suspenseful horror story set in outback Australia…
Dr Erin Harris may be a scientist, but she has an unscientific obsession: to find a living Varanus priscus. Cryptozoologists call it the Devil Dragon. This giant Australian reptile went extinct some 12,000 years ago but like Bigfoot or Nessie, there are occasional sightings. Spurred by a credible witness, Erin cobbles together an expedition party consisting of herself, her witness, and his deer-hunting neighbours. They travel into the unexplored heart of a national park. Erin, believing the Devil Dragon to be a larger version of the Komodo, is confident she can outwit a specimen. However, the monster that lumbers out of the bush is a savage and unpredictable predator the size of a campervan. Erin must transform herself from genteel university lecturer to die-hard survivalist.
Published by Severed Press, November 2016. Severed Press titles are a regular feature in the top 100 Horror and Sci-Fi bestseller lists, and the company was voted ‘This Is Horror’ Publisher of The Year 2014. Check out Severed Press here.
The Australian Shadows are the annual literary awards presented by the Australian Horror Writers Association. In March 2017, Devil Dragon was shortlisted for Best Novel of 2016.
WHERE TO BUY
Audiobook – Amazon
EXAMPLES OF READER REVIEWS
Anne Mccluskey – 5/5 stars:– I loved reading “Devil Dragon”. It is an exciting, fast paced book featuring a truly terrifying monster. Deborah’s characters are very human & believable. A strange thing happened while I was reading “Devil Dragon”-I found I disliked the main character Dr. Erin Harris. But that only increased my enjoyment while I read the book. I think she is an anti-heroine. I almost rejoiced in her trials.
“Devil Dragon” is beautifully written. It is a genuine pleasure to read such a free-flowing narrative.
The storyline develops in a roller coaster of events, each one accumulating until the appearance of the monster & then things just get worse!.
The creature is superbly described, with wonderful & realistic word pictures that are actually believable. While reading the description of the monster I was able to imagine that the horrific animal was real. Then the action becomes non-stop. Thrilling chapters follow with things happening so rapidly it made me eager to see what was next. It is completely engrossing.
The ending of the book is so unexpected. I did not see it coming. What a very fitting finale for Erin.
After reading this book, I am so glad I have found Deborah Sheldon’s work. I have bought more of her books & I have made it my goal to read all of her writings.
T.L. Boeing – 5/5 stars:– I loved it. I couldn’t put this book down & resented any interruptions. It was very well written & so exciting & intense. Towards the end I found myself grinding my teeth & wanted to scream out “Run!!!” Be prepared to be thrilled.
Suzanne Larue – 5/5 stars:– What a RIDE! Thank you for this one. Finally an original idea with both great character building and a realistic storyline. Very nice to see in a cryptid type book these days. A must have for your consideration if you enjoy cryptid monster mayhem especially with guns and sharp teeth.
S. David Long – 5/5 stars:– A devil of a book. Great read. Had trouble putting it down. Loved the plot and the characters. Well worth the read.
Shelley – 5/5 stars:– A must to read. This was a really good book. I read it in 3 days hated to put it down. If you love horror books based on possible creature this is the one.
J. Lyle – 5/5 stars:– Great monster novel. Really great novel. I read lots of “monster” books and this was one of the better ones. As good as Meg but in a different way.
Amazon Customer – 5/5 stars: – Stupendous! This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, a stupendous read. Set aside however many hours it will take to read because you are absolutely not going to be able to put this book down. Every twist and turn leaves you wanting more!
Sharon – 5/5 stars:- Page turner. Wow what a scary adventure. A city girl used to university living explores the outback of Australia. She is looking for the devil dragon. This book has some salty language and graphic details of gore. It is not for the squeamish reader. Lots of hunting violence. Also a lot of technical jargon. Looking forward to the next adventure.
Robyn – 5/5 stars:- I really enjoy reading books by this author. The writing is spare and direct. Devil Dragon is an exciting story with well-constructed characters who develop both personally and in relation to each other as the tale progresses. There is some gritty edge-of-your-seat action and the protagonist brings the chain of events to a forceful and compelling conclusion. If you like a book that won’t let you put it down, then get your teeth into Devil Dragon!
Amazon Customer – 5/5 stars:– A gripping thriller. I really liked how this story played out from the beginning to the end. The suspense of tracking an unknown species to the final confrontation was absorbing. At first Erin appeared self centered until it hit her what her obsession was doing to the group who went out to find her lizard. I especially liked the ending even though it seemed to end too abruptly. All I will say is I think she got exactly what she deserved. The author did a great job in fleshing out the details of the surroundings and description of the reptile to the point I could see it in my mind exactly what was going on and who the characters were. A really well written and intense story.
Allen James – 5/5 stars:- Normally I’m a slow reader but I couldn’t put this book down. It was very well written, good character development, lots of gore when it counted, pacing was perfect building up to a great ending. I liked the amount of technical jargon from the main character. I thought it was just enough to explain to the layman what a scientist would be thinking. The story made sense from the start. I would highly recommend this book to anybody who likes a believable action story.
Amazon Customer – 4/5 stars:– Great read I enjoyed it. Reminded me of Leviathan a a a a a a a a a a a
Mildred Fontanez – 4/5 stars:– Good story. Good tempo. I always like it when I learn something new. The Devil Dragon is a species of prehistoric reptile that I was not familiar with. I liked how the author then comparisons it with the Komodo dragon and then added new characteristics that gave the story new depth and made for new surprises. I also liked how she developed her characters. The ending was unexpected yet expected. All in all, and entertaining read.
Robert Nash – 4/5 stars: – Another interesting story that comes from the vaunted Severed Press publications, and another new author for me to check out. If anyone follows my reviews, they’ll know that I love a good monster story. This one, while not my normal cup of tea, was an interesting jaunt through the wilds, chasing after a giant and terrifying lizard. Our heroine has to overcome some insane stuff just to try to survive, while simultaneously carrying on her research. If you want a good, quick, and enjoyable read, give this one a look.
Adrian Shotbolt – 4/5 stars:– This one is a bit of a departure for Deborah Sheldon and it largely works well. There is something about giant lizards that gets the blood pumping and Devil Dragon is a heap of fun. The pacing was a little up and down, but largely this one was a good read. There are some good characters in this one too, giving it surprising depth. The action scenes work really well and the ending is most satisfying. Good stuff.
S. Nowick – 4/5 stars:– Pretty good cryptozoological monster story! Good pacing. Plausible creature. Human characters were a bit two-dimensional (tending towards stereotypes), but didn’t get in the way of the story. Story seemed exactly the right length, and avoided dragging in any spots. Heroine was a bit “Perils of Pauline”-ish, but still likable. I would gladly read more by this author.
Kipper Snack – 4/5 stars:– A fast paced rollicking ride. This book is your typical cryptid storyline (a long thought extinct but recently uncovered prehistory lizard) which is a reason I decided to read it. It’s very well executed and although written in the Queen’s English, it’s mostly easy to overcome the differences and colloquialisms. The cast of characters is small but all are well developed. However, I found the main character and heroine childish and naïve with a terribly annoying defeatist attitude throughout the story vacillating between taking charge and curling into a ball. Perhaps this is one aspect that makes this seem realistic. There’s plenty of action, pulse pounding suspense and horrific scenes. However, the ending left me with my mouth hanging open. Perhaps a sequel is planned (I hope so to round out the story telling). If one is forthcoming, I’d certainly read it.
MACARTHUR HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY: REVIEW
From the very first line of this thriller you are introduced to the title character, a frightening real creature of immense proportions that simply should not exist!
Reading on, we meet a collection of likeable and believable folk including one of the major characters, Dr. Erin Harris – a sophisticated, well-educated, adventurous scientist with a passion for herpetology. She has, after all, had hands-on experience with venomous snakes and crocodiles! Her plan is to verify the sighting of this ‘devil dragon’, make a name for herself in the scientific community and, in the process, erase a lifetime of self-doubt.
The journey begins and we, the reader, get a very clear insight into the party of four. All their skills, knowledge, strengths and weaknesses become evident along with their thoughts as they are determined to lure and kill the animal the farmer has seen. It isn’t long before they realise not only is it a huge beast, but a monumentally dangerous task they have undertaken. Will their wits and weapons be enough?
Anyone who has studied monitors, for even a short time, knows just how intelligent these creatures can be, how stealthily and unpredictably fast they can move and this particular animal is no exception. The only thing that defies belief is that this is fiction! A hard book to put down. Well researched, well written, well done Deb Sheldon – looking forward to your next offering, thanks. [Rhonda Glover, President, Macarthur Herpetological Society]
KAYLA GASKELL – FANTASY BOOK REVIEWS
Noel Baines has no idea what he is getting himself into when he reports his sighting of a monster on the edge of his property. He becomes a laughing stock, the town joke—that is until Erin Harris, an evolutionary biologist, comes to town for an interview. After seeing the evidence (dead heifer) and getting her samples tested by the all-too-willing Russ Walker-Smith, Erin becomes convinced that the monster is the Devil Dragon (Varanus Priscus) which went extinct 12,000 years before. In her excitement, Erin ignore Russ’ cautions to wait, to return to the university and apply for a grant, and rushes into a deal with Noel to catch the predator. Noel enlists the help of his neighbours, the Robinsons, who know the area and are skilled hunters. They head off together with notions of killing the monster and gaining fame and fortune from its discovery—a discovery Erin intends to claim for herself.
Despite her lack of hands on experience Erin believes that her wealth of theoretical knowledge will be valuable in the hours to come—hours in which she will become the only scientist alive having had the change to look at the Varanus Priscus up close. But will she stay that way for long? The Varanus Priscus quickly disproves many of Erin’s theories (theories based on her knowledge of the Komodo dragon) and shows it’s much more dangerous than Erin could have possibly guessed.
Erin is going into the biggest expedition of her life completely unprepared and without the safety net of even a phone signal to call for help. She, Noel, and the Robinsons will be completely cut off. Can a city-girl handle the pressure of a hunt? Can she hold her beers and her face in face of the dangers to come?
The thrill of new knowledge paired with the almost completely alien world of evolutionary biology made this an engrossing read. While slow in places, it maintained its entertainment and pulled off something very difficult—an Australian outback horror that felt authentic.